This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.
My name is Stacey Reese and I am currently a lead teacher for Cape Cod Child Development. I have been a preschool teacher for a little over 5 ½ years but have had my hand in educating young children for over 18 years.
So many people spend their whole lives trying to figure out who they are and what they want to do, but I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t want to be a teacher. Being a Head Start teacher is no easy feat. It requires patience, diligence, heart and dedication.
My primary goal as the lead teacher is not only to implement daily curriculums and activities, but to provide a safe, fun, caring learning environment for all my students. Head Start provides comprehensive early education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low income families. The program is inclusive and helps those who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunities to succeed. Being part of such a wonderful program helps me to be more focused on my own goals.
I learned that being a good teacher means connecting with children on their own level. I have learned to recognize exactly what motivates a child, how to hold their interest, and most importantly, how to make learning fun, which is so important in a Head Start classroom. This takes perseverance, determination, and a huge commitment to my passion.
Being a lead teacher presents its challenges just as any other job would. It tests your patience and your will. This job is not just about teaching the children, but also advocating for them, educating their families and guardians, dealing with language and cultural barriers, and handling everything from serious diseases to homelessness.
To fulfill my duties as a lead teacher, it is vital that I continually further my own education to deal with the ever-changing challenges of today’s underprivileged preschool children. Young children are not like other learners, their needs are unique and I am honored to be a part of their learning.
I became a teacher for a very simple reason, to make a difference. It is not just about effectively teaching preschool curriculum but showing enthusiasm even in the face of chaos. I want to make a difference in the minds of young learners. I have a strong desire to positively influence and educate children while being able to enrich their lives. My experience has fostered a tremendous personal drive to not only be a good teacher but to be a great one.
As far as my education, I hold two associates degrees in Early Education, and I am currently enrolled at UMass Amherst for my master’s degree in Early Education and Care, which I will be finishing in the Spring of 2020. My goal is to be able to make sure my children are learning and that I am learning with them to be the best teacher I can be by gaining knowledge about the effects of play and about being inclusive in any classroom I work in. Am important aspect of my work is sharing these educational experiences with those I work with and collaborating to create a meaningful curriculum that is engaging and appropriate for all children.
I would like policy makers to know that early education sets the foundation for every child’s future. Early educators are often overlooked and underpaid. There is a strong need for more funding and more resources to give every young child a chance. We must face the fact that this is where some children are getting their first experiences with richer vocabularies, social and emotional development, pre-reading skills, and respect for others, just to name a few important things.
My favorite children’s book is “The Day the Crayons Quit”by Drew Daywalt. It is a book that teaches colors and emotions in a fun and interesting way with childlike drawings to capture the child’s attention. For me, it is a relatable book. I watch children admire what someone can do or the attention they get for doing something another child can’t. I think this book touches a great deal on how we are all different and offer something special to everyone. No two crayons are alike, and no two students are either