Taking baby steps to a new career
HARRISBURG, Pa. —
It's a place where the people you work with will fall asleep right on you and maybe even throw up.
That's the life of a preschool teacher. It's a profession in demand right now, but if it’s going to be your next job, you'll have your hands full, and maybe even full of worms. They don't teach you everything in college.
Teacher Colbee Vanatta admits this while pouring out a slimy set of worms onto a plate in front of her howling class of preschoolers. So what if you are squirmy about "wormies?"
"You put on a very good show, and you do it anyway," Vanatta said.
That's the perfect attitude for a preschool teacher when there are so many little minds capable of almost anything.
As easy as 1, 2, 3?
Vanatta said she knew it wouldn't be the most lucrative or easy career.
"A lot of people gave me the advice, why are you doing that? Especially my family," Vanatta said.
But she said mind was made up..
"I specifically chose early childhood, I don't think there's enough focus on early childhood, and this is when they're sponges," Vanatta said.
Your co-workers are cry-babies.
A few doors down the hallway, the sounds of crying can be heard as you enter the nursery. At KinderCare, they take in children ages 6 weeks to 13-years-old.
This group comes with new challenges. Caregiver Nicole Hohenwarter has been changing diapers and dabbing drool in here for more than 20 years.
“It’s not for everybody, you have to have a special love for this age," Hohenwarter said.
She also has a warning: Baby-talk is contagious.
“It’s actually nice to have adult conversations sometimes, after talking baby talk all day, but I do go home and catch myself singing baby songs that are in here all day," Hohenwarter said.
Nationally, the number of kids needing childcare keeps increasing, but not the number of grown-ups to watch them..
“The trends are really not strong right now. It is difficult to find talented, qualified teachers, that really are dedicated to the field," KinderCare District Manager Melanie Feldner said.
When can you start?
To teach at KinderCare, you need at least a two year college degree in early childhood education or a related field, and pass a background check.
Starting teachers at KinderCare can make about $11 to $12 an hour, but you can see closer to $15 in a few years. Like many jobs in education, most of the people are not motivated by money though.
“I just love the rewards I get from the children. The hugs, the unconditional love," Hohenwarter said.
To check out the KinderCare jobs available now in our area, click the link.