One of the great aspects of living in the new millennium is having the freedom to change your mind. Reinventing yourself over and over, both personally and professionally, is practically a life requirement if we are to stay competitive in our field of work and become more conscious, happy people. Change is inevitable, which makes the art of transforming ourselves a necessary task. Honing skills, cultivating an attitude of inquiry, self-interrogation and reflection, deliberate practice towards improvement, and supplemental learning. All these are activities that help us prepare for and affect change, in both ourselves and the world. And there is no age requirement to become what we want to be. We can disrupt our lives at any point, whether we’re at our career starting point or have already tread a million steps down a well-worn path.
In education, there are infinite career paths you can take–and as many that you can create with the right amount of motivation and persistence. In our work, we’ve met many leaders, change agents, and active seekers of What Else and What If. Consider some of these alternative roles that an ECE degree may inspire, support, and motivate. Because regardless of circumstance, you can be whatever you make up your mind to be.
Many educators start tutoring to supplement their income, to develop and enhance a particular skill, or to provide remedial support to children who require individualized education. Tutoring can take place at the child’s school or you may offer home visits. As you gain more experience, grow your clientele, build your professional portfolio, and foster your own tutoring style you can increase your rates, leading to a lucrative enterprise. Private tutors are in demand, especially as class sizes grow and more pressure is placed on achieving high test scores. One of the benefits of being a tutor is that you are able to zero-in on the specific needs of each student and respond accordingly–we all know how difficult this is to do with 20 children simultaneously! Such an opportunity allows you to immerse yourself in the real joy of teaching. As you give your full attention to one student at a time you’re enjoying the one-on-one interaction, fostering a meaningful relationship, and witnessing the growth and learning of each individual child. Check out our special editorial next week that spotlights an ECE grad who successfully started and developed her own tutoring company.
College or University Professor
What better way to promote great teaching practices and advocate for ECEs than to have an active part in their learning? Whether you are interested in supporting their practical on-site education or lecturing in a favourite subject, being a professional mentor is an excellent career path for an ECE. While most post secondary institutions will require a graduate degree, some may permit you to study and teach at the same time. Such an endeavour also holds an opportunity to pursue higher education, such as a Ph.D.
Interested in art or science education? Landing a job as a museum curator for the early learning department or as the director of a museum’s community education branch, can be an ideal way to combine two passions or niches. Museum education officers encourage formal and informal learning to people of all ages, though you can specialize in early childhood education. They may also design educational exhibits and presentations, and assist with marketing and publicity for the education department. For such positions you may require a postgraduate diploma in museum studies and should have strong interpersonal and organizational skills, and a desire to be a leader in community education.
Intense work on a thesis or major research project in your undergraduate studies may inspire a love of research. The beautiful thing about a career in research is that it becomes your job to inquire, to ask why, to identify problems and gaps in information, and seek solutions–all regarding a question of great interest to you. Research may involve intensely isolated writing sessions with your laptop and a bottomless pot of coffee. It will also require you to have savvy interpersonal skills as you recruit and interview participants, apply for grants, and present your findings at various conferences. Without question, researching in the field of ECE is a dynamic and rewarding career.
A resource consultant/educator supports, promotes, and monitors the optimum development of children in an educational setting. Although all children can benefit from a resource consultant, a resource teacher focuses primarily on the needs of specific children who have identified learning support needs. During regular visits, resource consultants interact directly with children, teachers, and families to identify ways to make the learning environment more inclusive and supportive of individual children’s needs. This is a rewarding career for someone who believes strongly in inclusion and social justice in our educational spaces, strives to provide equitable learning experiences, and has the attitude and motivation to inspire others and affect change.
Yoga and Meditation Teacher for Young Children
Holistic learning and wellness are becoming more integrated into our early learning spaces. We know now more than ever that body, mind, and spirit are not separate entities but a unified essence within each of us that needs careful, mindful education and development if we are to grow into healthy, creative, conscious, and loving people. Yoga and meditation help instil consciousness, of both ourselves, our community, and our world. When best to learn how to care for oneself than when our minds are most ripe with curiosity? In addition to a degree in ECE, you can obtain YTT (yoga teacher training) certification with an RYS (registered yoga school) of 200+ hours pretty much anywhere in the world. A good school will include studies in yoga philosophy and meditation in additional to physical asana practice. Combine this with your expert ECE knowledge and design engaging workshops for young children that stimulate their spiritual energy, promote social harmony, and support physical development.
We need good early childhood educators and finding them isn’t the easiest task in the world. We all know teachers out there who are in it for reasons that don’t even contain the world children. Knowing how to be an effective ECE is a great starting point for finding one. You’ll have a comprehensive view of the skills and knowledge required for different positions in the community. If you wish to start your own recruiting company your greatest task will be building your educator database and garnering clients.
Content writing is one of the fastest growing jobs with the boom of internet marketing. It doesn’t take a degree in creative writing or English literature, or expert knowledge in any field–but it certainly helps if you want your site to become an authority and a lucrative business. As an ECE, you have expert knowledge in a field that is concerned with the raising of human beings–your audience is huge! Read, research, talk to people, write what you know and love, share best practices, cultivate in people a desire to know and care more about education for young children.
Take any one of these nontraditional roles and make it your own. Entrepreneurship requires creativity, self-discipline, motivation, resiliency, risk taking, and patience–and this is certainly not an exhaustive list! Creating your own enterprise, baking your own bread, building your own boat–whatever analogy you choose–can be a hugely rewarding way to grow your chosen ECE niche. The best way to start? Identify what you really care about and what you’d do even if you were only getting paid postage stamps to do it. Then get out there and do your research–talk to people who you aspire to be like, professionally or personally. What qualities do they have that have contributed to their success? The finer, more technical market research is important too, but studies have shown that personality traits of entrepreneurs have a strong impact on their ability to start and succeed at their own business endeavour. Like Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Have you taken an alternative path in education? Let us know what it is. Feel free to leave a comment or send us an email – we’d love to hear from you!
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