"Why Don't You Find a Different Job?"

I always knew that I wanted to work with young children. Since I can remember I’ve just known I wanted to be an early childhood educator. I was always that one kid in high school that knew where their path was going to be—I was going to work with young children.

My undergraduate education cemented my commitment to the field because I came to understand how crucial the early years are for development. I think that early childhood is such an important part of development. Research has shown time and time again that it's the most important years of human development and it's such an issue that is overlooked.

Despite my commitment, the choice to become an early childhood educator was a difficult one to make.

I know that the field is one of the lowest paying for college graduates. I often find that others are not particularly sympathetic on this point. I've had so many people say it to me, “well you chose this path so now you have to deal with it.” Or they ask, ‘Why don't you find a different job?” But I am passionate about what I do.

We're providing for all these children and giving them all so much support including sometimes stepping out of the teacher role to be a social worker. And we have to continuously seek out professional development because it’s just so much more than coming in and playing with children eight hours a day. Playing is a huge part of it, but I'm also trying to embed children's learning goals in our play and balancing the play with a planned curriculum.

This is where I want to be and I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to be here. And my question is, why should teachers just accept that because we love what we do, we’re just not going to have the same benefits as everyone else?

~Maya W., Burlington