By: Ryan C. Miller
Some people know from a very young age what they want to be when they grow up. I was not one of those people. Becoming an early childhood educator was something that I sort of fell into, then fell in love with.
I started my journey by attending Cincinnati State. I picked my major by going through the options available and considering each of them, one at a time. Eventually I landed on ECE (Early Childhood Education) and thought, ‘why not?’ I took a shot at something that I wasn’t familiar with, nor had I really considered beforehand. In the back of my head I thought, if I don’t like it I’ll just switch to something else. Little did I know, some years later, I’d be here writing a blog post about it. Obviously, I didn’t switch majors and instead finished out my two years at Cincinnati State earning an Associate’s degree. In the middle of those two years, I received my first job offer in the field. I had completed my preschool age practicum (student teaching) and was offered an assistant teacher position in the same classroom I had spent time in.
I accepted the position, still not quite sure how I would be as a teacher or what to expect from working in early childhood.
As I’m sure a lot of new preschool teachers will say, it took a while to really find my voice and confidence as a teacher. Gratefully, I had extremely knowledgeable and patient teachers to help me and allowed me time to grow and find my strengths as a teacher in the classroom.
I worked in that role as an assistant for about three years. While I enjoyed my job working as a teacher, I also made the decision to change my degree when I transferred to the University of Cincinnati. I had an interest in writing, both creatively and journalistically, so I decided to pursue that. Once I graduated from UC, I was offered a position writing for a website and made the decision to leave my role as a preschool teacher.
Like a fun mystery novel, this is where the big twist comes in. I left and worked as a writer for this website. At first, I was very excited that I’d be creating content and getting to work as a writer. Then that feeling started to fade. The job involved me working remotely from home, on my computer for just about the entire day, five days a week. It was rough.
A year later, I decided to visit my old preschool classroom. When I left, I knew that I had to go back to teaching. There’s something to be said about the feeling you get when working with young children. You can feel that you’re making a difference, even if it’s little things like helping a child learn how to tie their shoes. You feel good about the difference you make, and I was missing that feeling. So for the selfish reason of just wanting to be happy again, I went back and decided I was ready to pursue being a lead teacher. A couple years later and here we are, I’m working as a lead preschool teacher and writing about preschool. The best of both worlds if you ask me.
Ryan C. Miller is a lead teacher at Cincinnati Early Learning Center in Price Hill. He will be sharing insight into early learning, as well as stories from local families and preschools.