So you’ve made the noble decision to join a career which will help to influence the young minds of today that will grow up into the future citizens of tomorrow (no pressure there then).
A career in childcare can be extremely rewarding; however, like any job, it comes with challenges and difficult situations, and if you’re not equipped to deal with them, you won’t last very long.
The following are some things to consider before taking any steps towards teaching in a school environment or looking after children in a nursery.
1. The Right Personality
You will need to have patience; if you have a short temper and fly off the handle easily, then childcare is not the right career for you. You need to be able to keep a calm demeanor in stressful and tense situations; there will always be times where students act out or engage in conflict with fellow pupils, so to diffuse the situation, you can’t get riled up by things.
You’ll also need to have the patience to keep repeating what you’ve already said a dozen times. Children often learn through repetition, and it can take a while for things to sink in, so you shouldn’t be easily irritated by regularly reminding them of what you’ve already explained (because you’ll be explaining it again and again).
You’ll also need a strong sense of self-confidence for kids to take note of your presence and listen to what you’re telling them. Being able to successfully get across what you want to teach or tell children and teenagers requires a firm public-speaking voice and a powerful personality; this is the only way kids will respect you and adhere to your rules.
Even if you find addressing large groups of people intimidating; you need to develop the skills that will hide your worry, and be able to project your voice across a room.
Being kind and approachable may seem to contrast with being sturdy and strong, but that’s simply not the case (think of Superman). You need to gain respect through strength, however, when a child is in difficulty, you need to have expressed how accessible you are and that you’re also there to look after and help them in times of need.
2. The Correct Qualifications
If you’re considering becoming a nanny, you don’t need any specific diplomas or degrees; however, experience is looked highly upon, so think about talking to a reputable agency and finding out what they require from you. You may be placed with an experienced nanny to learn and develop your childcare skills. It will also help if you have a natural affinity for children, alongside household skills, as the hours can be long and taxing.
Many nurseries also allow you to join at entry or assistant level, so you can learn on the job and gain your qualifications through experience.
If you want to take on a role in teaching and education, you will need the relevant qualifications from college or university. However, you shouldn’t worry too much about your age or what stage of life you’re at. There are mature students who decide to take on a new role and venture into teaching at a later date, so it’s always worth looking into what options you have in regards to getting the right college education.
It’s also a smart idea to find a role as a classroom assistant, as you’ll be getting paid as you train, and receiving valuable hands-on experience in the meantime (which will look great on your resume).
Whatever stage in the process you’re at; you’ll need to think about being trained in first aid. All areas of childcare require you to show that you’re qualified to deal with emergency and medical situations.
Look into getting your online CPR certification as soon as you’re able, and it will make a crucial addition to your resume, and any potential future employers will appreciate that you’re correctly trained.
3. Plenty Of Stamina
Toddlers, kids, and teens are equally amazing as they are exhausting; so if you’re considering a career in caring for them, you’ll need to have the physical and mental stamina to keep going with high enthusiasm. Develop your ability to switch off when you get home and mentally look after yourself.
Situations, involving those you look after, are bound to arise, and can often be difficult or upsetting. You need to be able to remain professional and disconnect from the circumstances when you arrive home.
Remember that for every bad situation, there’ll be plenty more rewarding ones and you should get home at the end of the day feeling the good kind of tired. Looking after and teaching minors is no easy task, but you know that by now, and you’re ready to take on the challenge!