Council Letter

May 25, 2022

The Light of the ECE Community

Dear Colleagues,

Teachers are like candles that consume themselves to light the way for others. Chronic job stress and burnout are common among teachers, especially the early childhood teachers who work with the most vulnerable young learners. And that’s been even more true in recent years. The constant changes and health concerns brought on by COVID have taken a toll. Now teachers are catching up on learning losses, besides giving their students added social and emotional support. The pressure on teachers has only ramped up, so they merited special thanks as we marked Teacher Appreciation Week this month.

After all teachers have been through, they deserve more than the candy, cards and cookies they tend to get that week from parents and kids, as Dr. Calvin Moore pleads in his blog. Teachers want us to appreciate them all year long by paying them what they’re worth, including their voices in decisions, giving them a realistic workload and providing them with the resources they need. Our failure to do so has led teachers to feel there’s a lack of respect for what they do, and that makes it harder to do the job. Many teachers have left the field, leading to a severe staffing shortage and an even heavier workload for the teachers who remain. They’re often burning the candle at both ends as they struggle to keep up.

There isn’t a magic cure to combat teacher burnout, but there are places to go for handy tips on how to cope. Tune into a recent Teachstone podcast to hear one educator’s tactics for recognizing and dealing with her own feelings of burnout. Join a coffee break at the new Council Alumni Network, where you can take a load off by chatting with folks who understand. Go to the Early Educators Leadership Conference this fall, where we’ll feature a wealth of sessions on wellness and self-care.

The conference will also offer sessions on the big issues facing our field, including how to make the pipeline of qualified teachers broader and more diverse. We’ll talk about community-based workforce efforts and ways to build new career paths for Spanish-speaking teachers. We’ll also discuss how high school career and technical education (CTE) programs can encourage students to enter the ECE field. And this month, we profile some of the people who’ve taken vigorous steps to promote the high school CDA®.

Read about how Kelly Maupin and Julia Lynch work with the Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA) to help high schoolers take their first steps into the ECE profession. The funding and support they provide students led Weakley County, Tennessee, to recently boast the largest group of high schoolers earning a TECTA Orientation Completion Certificate, the first step toward a CDA.

High schoolers like these are an answer to the staffing shortage in our field, according to Dr. Bisa Batten Lewis, a best-selling writer and president of the Black Child Development Institute in Atlanta. Dr. Bisa, as she’s fondly known, is also a consultant for our field, a popular speaker at Council meetings and key author of the CDA Handbook for High School. This comprehensive guide to advocacy and implementation reflects Dr. Bisa’s first-hand experience bringing the credential to Gwinnett County, Georgia, where she once served as a high school CTE instructor.

Dr. Bisa believes that bringing more qualified, committed young people into our profession is essential to build equity in education. And they play a key role for children like Dasani Coates, a homeless girl you’ll learn about in our review of Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City. Andrea Elliott’s compelling book is a call for answers to the crushing problems that hold many promising children back. And it should inspire teachers to keep striving to make a difference in the lives of underserved children like Dasani. You can bring them out of the shadows, ignite a love of learning in their hearts and give them hope that brighter days are ahead. You can be the torch that lights up their lives.

With our appreciation all year long,
The Council for Professional Recognition

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