25 Reasons Why Being a Preschool Teacher is Rewarding
Reviewed by Jon Konen, District Superintendent
When you choose a path to becoming an early childhood teacher, you are dedicating your professional life to helping our most precious resources grow into responsible, competent learners. Teaching one child, let alone a whole classroom of young learners is no simple task. Being an early childhood education teacher requires a good education from a school that specializes in training teachers.
You must also have a personal interest and passion for helping young kids, and watching them learn and achieve. This is one of the most heartwarming benefits of being a preschool teacher. On many days, you will spend more time engaging them and teaching them, and influencing their behavior more than anyone – including their parents. That’s why you simply need to acquire the in-depth knowledge and skills that only a preschool education focused degree program can provide.
Of course, you want to check the early childhood education job outlook when you compare programs. But if you can already hear yourself saying “this is why I love being a preschool teacher,” then this is probably the right career path no matter what.
But isn’t early childhood education really hard?
There are a million reasons why being a preschool teacher is rewarding. But every teaching job presents its challenges, no matter what grade level or subject. Teaching early childhood isn’t entirely a test of your patience and will. In fact, for those who truly love working with children, it’s a dream come true. That’s why we did our research and came up with this list of 25 ways early childhood education can be a personally rewarding profession. What you’ll find, is that there are many ways in which this job can feel gratifying. You can appreciate your work by seeing the progress in your students, by learning more about yourself, and by teaching them to appreciate the world around them.
How Do You Want to be Rewarded?
Whether you are a current early childhood educator in need of some inspiration, or a prospective student wondering if this is the right career path, you can enjoy this list and think about the ways you want to feel rewarded. Before you compare all the early childhood education degree programs in your area, make your own list of the ways you want to feel rewarded and appreciated in your teaching career.
1.) You get to experience things with them for the first time.
This happens with most grade levels, but not to the extent that it happens in early childhood classrooms. When you are teaching early childhood education, you are often the first witness to so many groundbreaking moments. It will be these times when you really feel rewarded as a teacher. Sure, the long-term rewards are nice, like having a student come back to visit you after several years. But, these are the daily ‘wins’ that will keep you motivated.
2.) Get to help children learn in new ways.
The cool thing about being an early childhood education teacher is that you have to apply different methods sometimes to different students, depending on their learning style. Unlike a manufacturing job, which utilizes the exact same processes for production, teaching is an art and a science in some ways. Seeing the effectiveness of different approaches will also help develop your interpersonal skills for communicating with all age groups. Definitely one of the benefits of being a preschool teacher.
3.) The feeling you get when you overcome challenges.
It never fails: Just when you’re about to question how much more patience you have, just when you start wanting to give up – your students will have a breakthrough, and you will want to kiss the ground, and do your happy dance. There is nothing better than having a high-five moment with a young student when they make a breakthrough – another one of the awesome reasons why being a preschool teacher is rewarding.
4.) You get better at multi-tasking.
As you can imagine, you better stay organized when you’re teaching a class of early childhood students. If you don’t, you could quickly lose control of your curriculum, and classroom behavior. When you practice goal-setting and stick to a schedule, you will notice your organizational skills and ability to multi-task will improve. When you consider the early childhood education job outlook in your area, consider the additional personal benefits you can gain besides long-term job security.
5.) It comes with the responsibility of keeping children safe.
There is a somewhat noble feeling that goes along with teaching preschool education. Knowing that you are taking care of the most vulnerable people among us, helping them learn and grow into responsible people – and keeping them safe – is a big responsibility. One that you will definitely feel good about.
6.) They will thank you when they’re grown.
When people say this is “why I love being a preschool teacher,” this is one of the many reasons why. But it’s worth the wait. We can’t count how many teachers have shared their stories about students who come back to thank them after several years away. It will amaze you to see how quickly they grow into adults and start making their own way in the world. And when they do, they will remember you, and thank you for setting them up for success.
7.) Can make you a better parent, babysitter, and coolest family member.
When you are a natural around children, they can definitely feel it. If you embrace the same passion and love for helping kids learn and enjoy childhood, you can be the coolest aunt or uncle, or family friend a kid could have. You can also help model healthy and fun behavior for other adults who may not have your natural ability to connect with kids. Does this make you want to learn more about the early childhood education career outlook?
8.) You can tap your own inner child.
As a tangent of the previous example, being an preschool education teacher gives you the freedom to explore the parts of yourself that thrive off childlike experiences. You can refresh your imagination and creative skills through the activities you plan, and the learning outcomes you aim for with your students.
9.) The health and retirement benefits can add up.
Let’s take a brief break from pulling your heartstrings and talk about health and retirement benefits of being a preschool teacher. Although there are many occupations that have higher pay scales than education, the benefits can definitely be a perk. As you know, health insurance is never cheap. And it’s not easy to save for retirement on your own. That’s why being a preschool teacher is rewarding for people who are passionate about this field, and want to have security for retirement and potential health issues.
10.) Can lead to higher positions.
Even if you love being an early childhood education teacher, there can come a time when you want to move on to other positions. Maybe you think you can make a bigger impact in curriculum development, or working for a children’s book publisher. Or maybe you want to be principal of an elementary school one day? Why not? The great thing about teaching is that you can always keep moving forward and advancing to new levels. We need stellar educators more than ever. When you speak with schools about the early childhood education job outlook and your goals, be sure to ask about career advancement and degree requirements for your longterm job aspirations.
11.) Makes you more creative.
When you are working with young kids every day, you are bound to tap more of your own creative mental abilities than you would in an office full of adults. Children are not inhibited by the knowledge and logic that sometimes dampens our ability to think outside the box, so to speak. When you work with kids, you will witness your own imagination and creativity come alive. If you are a writer, you may find yourself writing children’s books. Or if you are an art teacher, your students will serve as plenty of inspiration.
12.) You become more patient.
You think having one or two kids at home requires patience? Try having a full classroom of young students whose minds are working at a rapid pace to understand what’s going on, while getting your attention, while trying to control their impulses. It can be overwhelming if you think too much about it. Again, that’s why early childhood education requires training. The early childhood education career outlook can be attractive, but remember it’s more than just a job. Through experience, you will develop the right level of patience. Just don’t beat yourself up if you feel frustrated – especially when you start teaching. That’s when you need to put yourself in time out, and speak with a peer who can relate to your experience.
13.) They are willing learners.
You know what else is cool about teaching preschool education? Children at that age aren’t cynical or defensive about learning new things – which can change with age. When children are young and starting to learn, they are willing participants in the education process with you. They want to learn about the world just as badly as you want to teach them.
14.) They still believe in magic.
In many ways, it is your job to dispel some of the wonder and magic children see in the world around them by instilling knowledge and new behaviors into their beings. Yes, you may witness the disappointment in their eyes when one student tells another the truth about Santa Claus. And you may have to be the one who tells them unicorns aren’t real, and neither are genies. But there will be many experiences when their curiosity and wonder will take over, and you will be reminded how special it is to have a child’s imagination. This is one of the most awesome benefits of being a preschool teacher. Instead of thinking of yourself as a spoiler, find ways to help them explore their creativity and leaps of logic in healthy ways. Mixing education and imagination is another reason why being a preschool teacher is rewarding.
15.) Job growth on pace with national average.
Being a early childhood education teacher can be rewarding if you make a long-term career of it. Fortunately, job growth in early childhood education is on par with the national average of 7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Even though you may not think about this fact on a day-to-day level, it can feel rewarding to know you have a good chance at job security as long as you remain passionate and effective in your role as a teacher. So far, the early childhood education job outlook can be promising, with the right training.
16.) You can teach them about serious topics in fun ways.
You probably don’t think of money as ‘fun’, right? We know, you didn’t become a preschool education teacher to become rich; and that’s a good thing. Teachers can earn a fine living, but it’s not the most high-paying, glamorous profession. But your students should start learning about the concept of money at a young age. You want to help them become responsible, as well as generous and caring towards others. Developing a healthy attitude about money, and helping kids avoid obsessions with material wealth is important in raising kids to exhibit moral behavior. This article from U.S. News and World Report can show you fun ways to teach children about money – without boring or corrupting them!
17.) You see the results of your work – sometimes instantly.
Yet another reason why so many experiences educators say “this is why I love being a preschool teacher.” How many jobs out there show you instant results the moment you perform a task? Very few, quite honestly. Even the biggest businesses that spend millions on data analysis can’t see the results of their marketing efforts as quickly as early childhood educators can see changes in their students. You will lose track of how many ‘ah-ha’ moments you witness as a teacher. In fact, go ahead and start keeping a notebook that you fill with every ah-ha moment you see in a child as they learn. And on those tough days, when you wonder if the efforts you make are really making an impact, you can open that notebook and reassure yourself that you are doing awesome. This can be a nice benefit to the early childhood education career outlook for salary and employment levels in your area.
18.) Every day brings something new.
If you think having a child in the early childhood age range brought new experiences every day, just wait until you have a whole classroom full of curious kids! Every day will bring about a new development, a new funny moment for everyone to laugh at, unexpected challenges – and who knows what else! That’s one of the many rewarding aspects of this job: it teaches you to embrace the unexpected parts of life, and accept the things you have no control over.
19.) They are hilarious – and honest.
There was an old radio show called “Kids Say the Darndest Things” as part of a program that ran through the late 1940-1960’s. The concept of the show highlighted the funniest things kids said to questions asked by adults. The answers were often hilarious – even if the kids weren’t in on the joke. Even though you should always take your students seriously when they are being honest and vulnerable with you, there will be moments when you can’t believe how hilarious they are. Whether you are doing art projects, writing assignments or playing games, let their sense of humor shine in your classroom. It will make your job more rewarding, and entertaining!
20.) You get to remember what it was like to be a kid.
You know what’s super-awesome about being an early childhood education teacher? You get to act like a kid (when appropriate) too! Being a teacher isn’t about separating yourself from the kids, and bringing them to your level. It’s about exploring their minds, finding out how they learn best, and helping them grasp new concepts so they can develop their unique worldview. This means you will have plenty of opportunities to dive into their worlds and let them lead you where their mind goes. This will remind you how carefree childhood was before the adult world, and the challenges that go with it, crept up on you.
21.) You can help shape healthy habits.
Since your students will likely eat lunch, and a morning and afternoon snack in your care, why not use this meal time to inform them about the importance of nutrition? As a preschool education teacher, you will not only feel good about instilling them with knowledge that helps form healthy habits, but you can impact their overall health for the rest of their lives. It’s much easier for kids to maintain healthy lifestyles as adults if they start off eating well and exercising at a young age. Be that role model in their lives. Trust us, you’ll feel great about it! This is one of the cool benefits of being a preschool teacher.
22.) You can be their first partner in goal-setting.
Probably not the main reason why people say, “here’s why I love being a preschool teacher.” By now, you probably know how important it is to set yearly goals for your students. This will involve setting smaller goals as well with your curriculum. As you break down your daily assignments, weekly/monthly/quarterly goals, think of ways you can include your students in the conversation. That way, they understand the big picture too, and feel like they’re a part of your team. Once of the reasons why being a preschool teacher is rewarding is that you can include your students in your personal goals.
For the visual learners, create a large chart that tracks your progress throughout the year. You can even make it fun, and depict your class in an old wooden ship crossing a large ocean towards an island with treasure. The closer they get to accomplish their goals, the closer the ship gets to the island. You can even attach a real reward, like a pizza party, for the day they achieve their goal. This will help your students understand the importance and power of setting goals and following through. When you consider the salary and early childhood education career outlook, think about these types of details that can enhance your life.
23.) You can help parents understand the beauty of their kids.
Sometimes parents get so caught up in their work, financial stress, and making sure the kids have their needs met, that they overlook the little things about their kids that you notice when you are teaching them. Make sure to communicate with parents what their child’s strengths are, academically and relating to their personalities. It is a good feeling when you reassure parents they are doing a good job. And when you need them as a partner in their child’s development, they’ll be ready to stand beside you. This is one of the ways being a preschool teacher is rewarding.
24.) They teach you about yourself.
We spend so much time thinking about ways we help kids, how we teach them, and how we impact their lives – what about the things they reveal about us? One rewarding aspect of being an early childhood education teacher is how much they can tell us about ourselves, without even knowing it. When you teach your students, be mindful of how you approach them, react to their excitement, worry, fears, and challenges. Think about how you can improve and self-assess to become a better teacher. The last thing you should ever think as a teacher is “I know everything.” There is the old cliché about the student becoming the teacher for a reason. Sometimes, it’s the children that adults should be learning from. With a little humility and mindfulness, you will be able to appreciate that.
25.) That bittersweet feeling at the end of every school year.
We know how exhausting the school year is for all preschool education teachers and administrators. In the thick of the madness, it can seem like an eternity until the end of May/early June arrives. But don’t daydream your life away, counting the days until summer break. Ask any retired teacher if they could have another day or week or month with any of their classes, and they would take it in a heartbeat. The salary potential and early childhood education career outlook can’t tell you these sweet details.
Sure, you deserve a break after working so hard with your students all year, but don’t be surprised if you start feeling nostalgic as soon as the last bus leaves the parking lot on that last day of school. Of course, September always comes back before you know it. Just remember, in the midst of the stressful moments, take a deep breath and remember how rewarding it is when they finally ‘get it’ or tell you how much they appreciate you. When teachers talk about “why I love being a preschool teacher,” you can bet this is one.
When you think about teaching young children, in what ways do imagine feeling rewarded for your hard work?
Please share your thoughts, ideas, and personal experiences with us! You can chat it up with us on social media, or you can leave your comments below.
If you are ready to learn why being a preschool teacher is rewarding, as well as the early childhood education job outlook? We can help connect you with schools that offer programs in education, and will talk to you about the benefits of being a preschool teacher. All you have to do is use our search tools to narrow your options in your state. Good luck on your journey towards a career teaching young children. It is a rewarding career in so many ways. We can’t wait to hear about your success!