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I said goodbye to my career in childcare.

How I learned to put my health first even when it comes to work

By Christina EpperlyPublished 4 months ago 5 min read
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I said goodbye to my career in childcare.
Photo by Gautam Arora on Unsplash

Well I did it. I finally did it. After working in childcare on and off for over a decade I finally left the field for good. Before I get into the reasons why I left I need to talk about why I started in the first place. When I was around fifteen years old I started babysitting and I enjoyed it. Also during my high school years I got the opportunity to spend two summers working at a science day camp. When it came time to decide what I wanted to do after high school I figured that since I loved working with children already I should stick with it. I could be a preschool teacher by taking early childhood education classes at the local community college so that is what I did. Let's face it, you don't know a lot about yourself when you are in high school. You have pretty much been in school for your entire life and for the most part you were told what you were supposed to do and where you were supposed to be. When you finish high school you now have to decide what you want to do in your adult life. It is a hard choice to make. I had an interest in photography but I worried about being able to find work in that field. With all that in mind I chose to have a career in child care. I’m going to start talking my experience in the childcare field by saying that not every experience I had while working in the field of childcare was negative. I met some great people, I got to plan some fun art projects, and there were times when I could just play with the kids and learn from them. However, I must say that I experienced some very unprofessional treatment during my career. The moment that stands out to me the most was the time when I was demoted in my classroom in front of children. It was nap time but there were children that were still awake. I was not expecting to be demoted. I didn't even know there was a problem until management came into my classroom and demoted me. I am a very emotional person so I could not keep myself from crying. A child in the room who was awake asked me why I was crying. Also I should mention that this was done on the day we had our Christmas party. However the biggest reason I chose to walk away from my career was the stress I was experiencing. Working with kids is stressful especially in California where they have a one to twelve ratio for children that are two years-old and older. Just take a moment to picture yourself in a room with twelve two years-olds. Not only do you have to keep them safe, you have to carry out planned activities, help them clean up after playtime and other activities, help them with lunch and snack, assist them with toilet training and you better keep them on the classroom schedule or you will be hearing about it from management. I will say that most schools do have an aid or another teacher to help you out in the classroom. However having another adult in the classroom usually means that the law will allow you to have more children in that room. More children mean more money for the school so in some cases management will not hesitate to fill the classroom with as many kids as they can. Now, people who chose a career in childcare don't do it for the money but I want you to consider the fact that the average preschool teacher makes fewer than forty thousand dollars a year. Not only is this very little money for the work that teachers do it is nearly impossible to live off of. Plus if you ask any teacher they will more than likely admit to spending their own money on items for their classroom. Oh and while we are talking about how teachers constantly have to go above and beyond let's talk about children with behavior issues. Now, when I say behavior issues I'm not talking about the normal challenging behavior that children of preschool age have. I'm talking about getting hit, bit and having things thrown at you. Sometimes you are working with a child who does these things multiple times a week. It can take a long time before a child is removed from a program even if there have been multiple incidents of inappropriate behavior. Having children who have these kinds of behavior problems in your classroom make it very difficult for a teacher to focus on teaching the other children in the class. Children with these struggles need people who are trained to help them. It is unfair to the child, the teacher and the rest of the children in the class to have children who are struggling with behavior issues in a classroom without an aid or specialist to help them. There are people who spend many decades in the childcare field and I don't know how they do it. However, it is not a secret that the childcare industry has a high turnover rate. The low pay and stressful work environment make it hard for people for stay in the childcare industry long-term. Also it should be noted that when you have a bunch of stressed out people working together it can cause personal conflicts to become common and can lead to even more turnover. I personally believe that many changes need to happen before turnover is reduced. I have tried to walk away from childcare but I kept coming back due to the steady hours and job availability. I'm very proud of myself and anyone else who choose to leave a stressful career for their own health and wellbeing. I can't say that I regret joining this industry but I do regret staying in it as long as I did.

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About the Creator

Christina Epperly

Hello, there! I am a creative and fun loving blogger with a bucket list, big dreams and a love of writing. Some of my favorite things to write about include self care, blogging, and pets.

John 3:16

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