WHY I BECAME A PRESCHOOL TEACHER
"For I know the plans I have for you declares The Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would be sitting here writing a blog on why I became a preschool teacher I would have laughed in their face. Becoming a teacher was not in the plans that I had made for my future. The plan I made for myself, my plan, was to go to nursing school and become successful working in the medical field. Nothing I had planned to do involved working with children. I grew up enjoying working with children in the nursery at church and at camps, but never would have thought working with children was in God's plan for my life. God, however had quite different plans for me and looking back I wouldn't have it any other way.
I began working in child care when I was 19 years old. I considered it as just a stepping stone to get me through college and onto my medical career, something that fit into my plan. Because, you see, my whole life I had grown up saying that I wanted to so something that was going to change the world and impact people. I wanted to help change peoples' lives though my day to day career, and surely being "just" a preschool teacher couldn't change the world. Or so my 19 year old mind thought.
My first week of working at the preschool is the week that change my life entirely. It was the week that God began to reveal HIS plans for my life and how different it was than the plans I had made for myself. It was a week I will always remember because it was when my heart became completely captivated by the loving hearts of young children. I fell in love with the twelve little 4 yr olds that I had in my class that year.
As weeks turned into months, I knew that early childhood education was the career path that God wanted me to take. I knew that this was the calling that He had placed on my life. Now, does that mean that I gave up my hopes and aspirations of working in the medical field and began to work towards obtaining my credentials as an early childhood educator? No. I was very stubborn when it came to giving up my plan and it took almost two whole years for me to fully say yes to God and His plan for my life. Because, at the age of 19 even though I knew this was God's calling on my life, I still didn't know how I could change the world by being "just" a preschool teacher.
I struggled with this for almost two years until I had a conversation with my mom that I'll never forget. My mom has been in the education field for over 25 years and has always been a woman that I have admired and looked up too. The conversation that she and I had was late one night after coming home from work. I told her how much I loved working at the preschool and how much each of those little children meant to me. I was telling her how I would do anything and everything for any one of my students and how I had never enjoyed "work" so much. I began to tell her I was pretty sure that it was the plan that God had for me but I was struggling because I was still determined to be a part of something that would change the world.
She challenged me by saying, " Rebekah, if you hve prayed and have sought God about this, and if you enjoy it so much then why don't you just go for it? What do you have to loose?!" I began to explain to her that in my mind I couldn't change the world just by working with preschoolers. "You are wrong," she said. "You aren't just changing the world by working with preschoolers. You are helping shape the future of the world by interacting with each young child everyday." That's when it clicked with me. Just a simple statement from my mom and it all finally made sense. I COULD walk in the calling that God has for my life and STILL change the world.
From that moment on my viewpoint changed. Each and every day that I came into work I began to look at each child as an opportunity that God put before me to change the world. Whether it be by teaching the child a new skill, the interactions I had with that child's family each day, or by simply showing that child just how much they are loved, I was determined to change the world and share my Jesus with everyone I came into contact with.
Fast forward almost three years and here I am still changing the world one sweet child at a time. Is it always easy? No. Is every day perfect? No. But the good times and good days always outweigh the bad. There are days when my students don't always get their numbers, shapes, letters and colors right, but what they do know is just how much God, the Creator of the universe, the One who hung the stars in the sky, loves them.
The amazing thing is that it doesn't stop in the four walls of my classroom. My students can take the knowledge of God's love home to their families, who might not know just how much God does love them. So, why did I become a preschool teacher? Because I'm determined to change the world by sharing God's love to each and every child, starting one child at a time.