The Storypark blog shares diverse opinions from educators and parents all over the world. Today our guest opinion piece is from the author of ‘Uplifting Early Childhood‘. What are your thoughts? Share them below in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

The loud teacher quandary… When I began my journey in early childhood education and care, I had some amazing teachers to draw from, to replicate and emulate as much as possible. My philosophy did not pay homage to the early childhood theorists of the early to mid 1900’s like a lot of philosophies tend to do. My philosophy instead was more from my own experiences and beliefs, but largely from what I observed from those I truly felt were amazing teachers, practitioners who epitomised what being an early childhood teacher was all about.

One aspect of what I observed, I thought exemplified a quality teacher as well. I equated being loud, boisterous, and over the top expressive with being traits possessed by only the best of teachers. They were able to engage children immediately with their booming voices, often drowning out the music blaring on the radio, and the children who had all been engaged and immersed in their own play experiences. Immediately, they’d look over to see this teacher, filled with enthusiasm and a passion for wanting to teach children, to draw them into an adventure – an expedition to find a bear sleeping in a cave, or a quest to find Captain Yellowbeard’s hidden treasure.

What I didn’t realise then, is that I would eventually become the complete opposite. I was led by the wrong practice. Even though the loud, exuberant, larger than life, over the top teacher seemed like an appealing prospect – it has become the antithesis of what I would consider to be a quality of a great teacher. I was lured by the seeming uninhibited fun and dangerously high decibel range.

What I was failing to see at the time was the distraction the loud teachers were creating. Forcing the eyes of engaged children to turn, often breaking whatever thought they may have been having, or working theory they might have been developing. They were not only noticed by the children but noticed by colleagues as a stand out, a picture of perfect teaching.

So I guess what I am saying is – being loud, ‘fun’, over the top, and distracting are not qualities I would consider to be indicators of a great teacher. The calm, unassuming, aware teachers are the ones I admire most. The ones who restrain themselves when all they might want to do is ask a child ‘What colour is that?!’ The active observer, the teacher who just appreciates being there – in the presence of children exploring and inspiring their own learning – those are the teachers I now admire and love to work with.

Guest post from “Uplifting Early Childhood”, a page that discusses the importance of uplifting and investing in early childhood.

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10 Comments

  1. There is a place for everyone! Balance makes a great team..

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  2. I don’t understand why can’t great teachers be both? Great teachers are not even either of the types you describe. Great teachers are the ones can blend into any scenario they come across. As long as they are there for the children when they are needed the most. For the tears and the laughter and be a support to the children and love them and nuture them as their own.

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  3. I am a loud teacher; I always have been. I sing, I dance, I use my volume as an engagement tool and also I bloody well can not help it.

    But I also spend a lot of time in my day sitting near my kinders watching them play; observing what they are doing and guiding play only if it becomes *too* dangerous or disruptive. I ask questions if the children are looking for answers, and I let them ask questions of me.

    I also grew up loving my loud teachers because I had been told over and over that I am loud; in fact once I was told that it was a good thing my boyfriend was deaf and could turn his hearing aids off when I was around. These loud teachers taught me that my loud voice, and my vibrant personality was an asset not just an annoying trait.

    I can be both, and I can be great.

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  4. Louise lorback March 9, 2017 at 4:23 am

    Yes I’m a loud outgoing trail blazing educator to the point I exhaust myself in my quest to bring the wonderful world of song dance and stories to life. I like you Rachael cannot help my loudness, and love working with the quiet educators as well together we create a balance.

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  5. I can so relate to this. The loud overbearing teacher is often offering ” entertainment curriculum ” not ” education curriculum “. They see the program as all about” me” not the children. However in a team approach different styles can compliment each other, and we the other staff and the children have an opportunity to bond ,learn and respond to different personalities .

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  6. All of the comments and even the blog offers some valid points, however, I am surprised that Storypark has allowed publication of a purist blog that serves to polarise educators. Yes we need to critically reflect and consider what is best practice but shouldn’t educators be supporting one another, not judging each other-after all our job is to accept difference and model this to children. We shouldn’t confuse the concept of ‘critical thinking’ with actually going to town on perhaps extroverted educators. I have worked in a few different industries and I have to say that the childcare/early childhood sector in particular seems to have a culture of employees judging each other harshly. It is no wonder there is high staff turn- over. This is a shame, as the majority are women who really should be supportive and more tolerant. It is the children who lose out from this culture which I am baffled by-I can only describe it as unhealthy competition. We need to delight in children as well as facilitate their learning in a calm, measured manner. It is not lost on me that I am also offering a strong opinion in relation to the author’s blog, however, ‘critically reflecting’ and ‘criticising’ are two very different things-sometimes there is a fine line between the two.

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    1. I should add that I overlooked the fact that you prefaced the blog with the caveat, “Storypark shares diverse opinions from educators and parents all over the world” and I guess educators and parents sharing their thoughts-whatever they may be, generates robust conversation which is only a good thing. These conversations hopefully serve as catalysts for change. Thanks for including my point of view.

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  7. It seems that the first post or response to the article has now been deleted. This is unfortunate as it triggered the debate that ensued and contextualised the repartee.

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  8. I was a bit puzzled as to why respondents to this blog are asked to identify themselves and yet ‘the guest’ did not. Other authors on the Storypark Blog clearly identify themselves. The hyperlink ‘Uplifting Childhood” was not active when I made my first comment. Now I have managed to activate the link, I have discovered more and note that the author is an ‘Early Childhood Specialist’ with an interest in social justice; also an interest of mine. I am interested to know the author’s response to the comments thus far.

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  9. I am blessed with deep voice that I can use whatever tone I want when it is relevant, eg, I have been in many center in most of those centers I always works with toddlers, toddlers are very active, so when we transition from one curriculum area to another our calm, soft voice teachers can’t even settle children, they will spend the whole time tidying up the mess children making, because children take advantage of those soft voice by running from one place to another, knocking off toys from benches leaving messes for teachers to tidy up, so to me just find the relevant time to use your loud voice, remember there is a reason why you have that kind of voice, yes you can’t use it all the time, I use my soft calm voice when I do mat time, devotions, singing and group activities but I only use my loud voice when I want to grab the attention of children.

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