In my former professional life, I was a daycare teacher. The kids in my care ranged in age from infant to age twelve, and although some could be trying, they were all endearing in their own way.
In contrast, not always endearing, and in fact often infuriating, were their parents.
Recently I saw a small thumbnail image of a note written by a daycare provider saying, “Respect & Appreciation go a LONG way – your daycare Provider” I thought, Yes! It really does! Be kind to your kids’ teachers, our job is tough!
But, then I found the full post card where it was shared on the Facebook page of a popular website PostSecret.
The comments in response ranged from, “That’s disturbing,” to “This girl (or guy) is in the wrong profession” and “This is what terrifies me about leaving my wee love in childcare.”
The list of condemning responses went on and I can see why everyone thinks this is so horrible.
The whole postcard reads,
“Daycare Parent – How you treat ME is how your child is treated. Respect & Appreciation go a LONG way – your daycare Provider.”
My jaw dropped.
Do I understand how it feels to be in a low-pay, high-stress job that often garners not only little appreciation but occasionally borderline abuse? Absolutely.
Would I ever consider even for a fleeting second taking that out on the children in my care? Never. And not just me, I can say with absolute confidence neither would any of the people I worked with over the years. Children are automatically compartmentalized separately from their parents.
I have seen a PREGNANT coworker reduced to tears and threatened.
I have seen caring teachers falsely accused of things that were demonstrably false.
I’ve seen some of the kindest people I’ve ever met called horrific names.
Thankfully, we had a supportive and wonderful administration who would not tolerate such abuse of staff; but even when these incidents were dealt with swiftly, they stung, they were frightening to the staff involved and to those of us who witnessed it, and they stuck with us.
Daycare workers are frequently looked down on by parents
Even without the blatant mistreatment, we were frequently looked down on by parents and much of society in general, who saw us as mere babysitters, not educators and nurturers. The emotional toll on daycare teachers is great. If you wonder why your daycare centre has such a high turnaround, that’s why – it isn’t the children.
Even after all the mistreatment, we immediately cradled our harasser’s children in our arms, dried their tears, met their needs, and LOVED THEM LIKE OUR OWN
That’s why this secret-sender’s postcard is so disturbing. The fact that they could be unkind to a child for any reason breaks my heart.
Here is the truth about the vast majority of daycare providers, both in centre and in home: We love your children.
We love the ones who behave, and we love the ones who make us need that extra glass of wine at night. We love the ones who are sweet and cuddly, and we love the ones who take a while to warm up to us. We love the easy going ones, the high needs ones, the calm ones, the energetic ones, the quiet ones, the loud ones, the rule-followers, the rule-breakers. We love the ones who have kind, appreciative parents, and the ones who have parents from hell.
We love them all, full stop.
We will meet their needs to the best of our abilities, we will nurture them, and if it came down to it, we would literally give our lives for them.
Did you know that we don’t stop thinking about your children when they leave our care?
Did you know that when they accomplish something, we are as excited as you are? I have seen generations of children learn to walk and read, and it never stopped being absolutely thrilling. When your kids are sick, we worry about them. When they master something, we cheer enthusiastically.
We are aware of both the responsibility and the privilege we have being part of your children’s lives.
And all of that remains true even if you are horrible to us.
So I was horrified to read that statement by someone who should not be around children. But please know, parents, that person is a rarity. You do not need to be kind and appreciative to your children’s teachers so that your children will be well cared for. They will be regardless.
You should treat your children’s TEACHERS with kindness and appreciation because their job is hard, they love your children, and they deserve it.