In our third and final article focusing on advice imparted on educators by their mentors, we have a wonderful collection of your own words and personal stories. We have no doubt that they will inspire you in different ways and we hope you find something that speaks to you.

  • One mentor told me to look at my teaching and learning philosophy regularly as this should (and must) grow, evolve and change along with the experiences, contexts and reflection that comes with teaching.
  • One of the most powerful pieces of advice given to me has been to remember the enormous influence you have in children’s lives as a teacher. You may mean much more to children and families than you ever know. Always take the time to acknowledge children and their families outside of work when you see them.
  • Keep talking. Know your story. Tell your story. Add to your story. Finally, keep fishing for others stories.
  • Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.
  • At the end of the day ask yourself “what did I do to make a difference in a child’s life that day?”
  • People talk about reading, writing, and arithmetic being the basics. Those are very complex processes and they have to be based on the basics, the real basics. The number one basic for everyone on this planet is wonder. Children are born with it and we have to protect it, but we often don’t. This piece of advice and wisdom comes from preschool educator, Bev Bos. It’s ability to fuel and inspire me never wanes.
  • For every negative there has to be a positive.
  • Always put the children first, you will never go wrong. It’s what I have embraced since the day I decided to teach.
  • Look around your environment through the eyes of your children and families. Are their interests and needs reflected in the centres environment?
  • Have fun and relax! Don’t let the stresses affect your day. Quality relationships are the key to good teaching practices.
  • To teach is to learn. As teachers, our learning journey is never over. Learning is part of our children’s journey, but it is a major part of our journey as teachers too.
  • Remember what you loved about your childhood and let that influence your interactions. Your joy will come through and they too will have great memories of their childhood experiences.

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Where there is interest there is learning.

  • Children’s well-being should be at the heart of every decision we make each day.
  • Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write and count. It is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace that is right for each individual child. Earlier is not better!
  • Education is the powerful weapon.
  • Feedback is not criticism but a chance to understand what is wrong, reflect and improve.
  • The best bit of advice I ever received was to accept that you won’t get it right all the time. It is not until you’ve accepted that you might not succeed, that you have the courage to try. Plus, it’s only a failure if you don’t learn from it.
  • Be a reflective practitioner. Growth comes from continued questioning and enquiry.
  • Support and guide children on their individual journeys to self discovery and empowerment. Allow the process to unfold and truly immerse their learning and growth for their immediate now. Remember it is real for them.
  • Never forget you have the most precious, pure, innocent being in your hands each day, entrusted to you by the ones who love them the most. Yours is an awesome, important and wonderful vocation.
  • Do not underestimate your abilities. Be confident and trust your instincts.
  • It’s all about the process of learning. Each step is important.

    Never be afraid to ask for help. We all get it wrong sometimes.

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  • Teaching is never a one person job. When we work as a team, we bring children so many different ways to learn. As a team, our ideas create amazing lessons that children embrace and they learn new things as they play.
  • We all bring something wonderful and different to the world of teaching, so we need to provide children with many amazing experiences that make learning natural, fun and unforgettable.
  • If you love what you do, it will never be work.
  • When I get up in the morning I don’t decide what we will do today. I wonder what we will do today and where the children will take us.
  • There is no failure, only feedback.
  • Do not see your areas of improvement as your failing, see it as a chance to prove just how much of a professional and motivated teacher you are by embracing the challenge to improve your practice.
  • Children speak in various ways for a range of purposes and none of them have to be verbal.
  • Laugh at the moments which cause frustration, for they are temporary. Express your delight, don’t take everything so seriously. When you put everything you have into your day, laughter, delight and humour will carry you through.
  • Ask more questions, children are great at it but some adults seem to lose the desire to question. This helps us to understand more clearly.
  • Each day is a learning experience for you as much as them. Children’s minds are inquisitive and everything is amazing to them. Catch their bug!
  • We are all raising children together. Keep well-being and belonging foundational and the children in the center of our practice.
  • Remember to take risks within your teaching practice, you never know what the outcome will bring.
  • “Nothing without joy” – Loris Malaguzzi

    Who dares to teach, must never cease to learn.

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Posted by Sonya McIntyre

Sonya went to Rata Street Kindergarten and Petone kindergarten. She gained her Bachelor of Education at Victoria University in Wellington and has worked as an educator and manager in home based care, community based and kindergarten services.


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