“I have been doing my job over 25 years, and I believe I know what I am doing”

Here is Jin, now an 8-year-old girl. She was born in America, but her parents were from China, and until the age of three, her mother took care of her at home. When she was 4, she began attending a Montessori school, and it was her very first time to attend any type of day care center. Until then, she had barely been exposed to English. She often told her mother that she didn’t want to go to school, but her mother thought that time would fix everything. Also, her teacher assured her mother, saying, “Jin is doing fine, so please do not worry.” Three months later, Jin was very sick and had to stay at home for 1 week. On her first day back at school, Jin’s mother brought Jin to class and watched Jin through the window without letting Jin know she was there. Once Jin stepped into the class, she stood still in the middle of the classroom. There were four children and two teachers. One teacher was doing an art activity with two children, the other teacher was cleaning up, and the other two children were playing in the block area. The teacher working with two children said, “Good morning, Jin, choose what you want to play” and then continued to work with the other children. Jin, speechless, just kept standing still. According to her mother, Jin stayed like that for almost 10 minutes, but no teacher came to her. Her mother told me, “You know, Jin had been absent for one week. Couldn’t they at least ask her if she was feeling better? Watching my child standing still alone for 10 minutes was just heartbreaking. I just couldn’t stand it, but I had to leave her there and go to work. Instead, when I picked her up, I told one of the teachers what I saw in the morning and how I felt. Of course, not in a straightforward way. You know what? She told me, “My teaching philosophy is to pursue child-centered, child-initiated activities and to help young children develop their independence. I do not tell my children what to do. Children will find what they want to do by themselves. I have been doing my job over 25 years, and I believe I know what I am doing. Please trust me. It’s her first time at day care, so she will need some time to adjust. That’s all. Besides, Jin knows I love her.” I had no choice but to trust her, but I still can’t forget that day.”

As an early childhood education teacher, yes, it is very important to have professional concurrent knowledge of early childhood pedagogy and state and national level of standards, policies, guidelines, and mandates. In addition, teachers’ educational backgrounds and experiences should be valued in any degree. However, teachers need to remember they cannot put anything over the value of a child. Every child is different and unique. Yes, early childhood teachers/educators know the importance of implementing child-centered, child-initiated activities. Early childhood teachers/educators believe those activities are developmentally appropriate for young children. However, if their “great” teaching skills have worked for other children, but not for one child in their classroom, then, they need to find a better way to help the child, not just simply trying to make the child fit in their way.


Dr. Boh Young Lee is an assistant professor of Early Childhood Education program in the department of Curriculum and Instruction at Western Illinois University.

Resource: photo was found at http://blog.world-mysteries.com/science/how-many-major-races-are-there-in-the-world/