‘Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.’ I am very fortunate to have loved both of my two careers – nursing and early childhood education. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. I’d like to think that I’ve done great work over the 17 years with both careers – 17 years as a nurse and this year marks 17 years as an early childhood educator. As a young child if I was asked what I’d wanted to be when I grew up my answer never changed – I knew I would become a nurse and a mum. I achieved both of my little girl dreams. With my career in early childhood my dream of being a mum (after being the real deal for 14 years) was multiplied by the hundreds of children that have came into my care since the day I was given an opportunity to complete a traineeship – certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.
I started my new 12 month career change opportunity as a mature age student on a minimum wage (a big drop after being an Enrolled nurse working weekends and getting penalties) and completed the theory component within 6 months. I was nominated by my team mates to be trainee of the year and went on to receiving the Phil Darby memorial trophy at Darling Harbour for being the ‘most inspirational trainee’ of that year. Knowing I was capable of doing distance education I decided to push myself further and enrolled in my diploma studies while technically still in the time frame of my traineeship of Cert III. I managed to complete 2 subjects in that time. Although it took me a lot longer to complete my diploma and my bachelor of education degree I love working in early childhood education and still do to this day, this hour, this moment and this week. But this week will be my last at the centre where I work now.
This week as I walk out of the door I will take with me all the wonderful memories, knowledge, the laughter, the fun experiences and wise words shared over the past 17 years from children, families and educators past and present to cherish in my heart. I will share some of the random best bits here in no significant order;
⁃ sharing information about the name of a common house hold spider while a child combs your hair with a stick and replies ‘my daddy has long legs’ and then tells me that I have ‘snits’
⁃ Dancing with the iPod on shuffle – ‘ego is not a dirty word’ by skyhooks plays – child pipes up and says ‘eagles not a dirty word’
⁃ On international yoga day a proud child greets me with an ‘I did my yoghurt today’
⁃ All the fun times away for weekends with workmates and as the saying goes ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’
⁃ The social nights out (plus breakfast, lunch and anything in between) for celebrations, farewells and just because….for no reason at all…just a catch up
⁃ Attending working bees with children and families on the weekend and cooking the bbq lunch in the winter sun
⁃ Writing a poem for boss of year competition and that person winning the category of funniest boss
⁃ Having to stop myself calling centre admin girls ‘ward clerks’ (once a nurse always a nurse)
⁃ Remaining cool, calm & collective when a child gets a huge egg on their head from an accident
⁃ Dressing up for many occasions – once dressed in a garbage bag as a sea creature with goggles, flippers and a snorkel for a concert in Children’s week
⁃ The outpouring of love my family was showered with during Jacob’s treatment, at the beginning and even more importantly at the end of his life and it continues as we live our life without him physically with us
⁃ An understanding hug at the start of the day as I arrived at work in tears when I own the feelings of having a rough day
⁃ Deep and meaningful conversations on your lunch, morning & afternoon tea breaks (and sometimes in programming time) in the staff room, office and kitchen, and both indoor and outdoor play areas with the children too & on group chats on Facebook
⁃ Celebrating what we all bring to the team, our culture, our talents, our love of animals, our hobbies, our sense of humour, our morals and values, and learning from each other
⁃ The six degrees of separation between the people I’ve worked with;
* first met the organisation manager at a child care centre where my children attended when I was nursing
* a board representative was once the Matron of the hospital where I worked as a nurse, and studied nursing with my mum in the UK
* a director at an interview knew my older sister having gone to the same teachers college as her and they were both dating brothers from the same family
* workmates were friends with people I went to high school with, some knew my family members and friends of friends
* the connections we make with the people we work with who have been through similar life situations, we don’t even have to say anything to them we just know how they are feeling
As I embark on a new chapter in my life as an early childhood teacher at a totally new ‘home’ (out of my comfort zone) I will hold my head up high and realise my self worth having worked alongside inspirational and dedicated educators over the past 17 years, and I will take this knowledge and experience with me from here on in, as I work alongside a new family of educators and fresh little minds to foster lifelong learning.
I will quote some wise words from Oprah Winfrey – ‘lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down’. To all the wonderful children, families, friends and team mates I’ve met in the past 17 years thanks for the ride 😊.