Good teachers are hard to find. It helps to have a clear image of the characteristics that you want your teachers to have and how you prioritize those characteristics.
Put a great deal of thought into what your expectations are for your teachers. It may help you to consider that your teachers:
- Have their own personality that they bring to their classroom. Activities can be successfully implemented in a variety of ways, based on what fits each teacher’s style.
- Know how to adapt activities to their group of children. Activities and ideas that each teacher thinks will work for their classes can be adapted to meet the needs and interests of specific groups of children.
- Can often expand upon and enhance the ideas for activities. Often teachers can come up with things that child care administrators would never think of. Curriculum should be used as a springboard for incorporating additional ideas.
- Know how to be resourceful and creative, and scrounge around to find materials for their classrooms. Some of the best classroom enrichments are not things that can be purchased from educational catalogs. Good teachers do not expect (or need) to have everything handed to them. Most good teachers want to be creative pull things together for their classrooms.
- Read the interest cues of the children, and expand upon them. Materials and activities do not necessarily need to be completely put away and finished at the end of the week if the children are still showing interest in them. Responsive curriculum is all about capitalizing and incorporating the interests and natural curiosity of children.
- Know making activities and materials for the children to use is a fun part of teaching. Good teachers are also resourceful and use rest time as good time to work on curriculum materials for the next weeks’ theme.
- Will ask someone at their center to assist them if something seems unclear. Good teachers are not afraid of or intimidated by asking questions. They understand that everyone is still learning.
- Know that offering children choices between diverse, challenging activities eliminates many classroom behavioral problems. Preparation of the classroom environment is one of the best and most effective tools a teacher has for guiding behavior.
- Know that children learn through play, and learn best through hands-on activities. Good teachers are continuously looking at their classroom schedule, environment, and activities to make sure that there are enough interactive experiences for your children.
- Help children develop skills and self-confidence through doing things for themselves. Good teachers help children do as much by and for themselves as they can. It is the process, not the end product that is important – and where most learning actually occurs.
- Know that some themes lend themselves better than others to activities. There are weeks when general ideas and activities will be necessary to round out the curriculum.
- Know the benefits of the local library. Good teachers use all available resources – including the library. It is an amazing teaching resource and can transform the classroom.
- Take responsibility for learning and knowing specifics related to children’s allergies, center policies, and state regulations. Good teachers always have safety foremost on their minds and adhere to applicable rules and regulations governing the center.
Using these guidelines can help you look for valuable traits in your existing teachers and in the teachers that you’re taking through the interview process as potential members of your child care team.
Observe and thoroughly analyze the activities of your teachers so that you can ensure that the level of teaching that you expect is maintained in each classroom.