By Cheryl Ichikawa
It has been said that “everything happens for a reason.” That life has a plan for each one of us, based upon our sensibilities, understandings, and life experience. For me, coming to Children Today was not an intention, but began as an intriguing opportunity.
In Dora’s blog post, It’s a Tough Job But Someone’s Got to Do It: Hiring the Right Staff, she talks about what she looks for when recruiting and interviewing potential candidates. How she and her management staff look beyond the educational and experiential aspect of the candidate and try to get a glimpse of the person.
For me, my pre-interview began in the classroom. As my instructor, Dora gained a semester-long glimpse into my sensibilities, philosophy and understanding about children. Through in-class discussions and side-bar inquiries, Dora learned about who I was, not only as an interested student, but as a concerned mother of two.
In her blog post, she also talked about candidates needing to have courage and an ability to grow with each new challenge. What Children Today offers candidates is not only a place to gain valuable experience, but even more importantly, a place to grow personally, as well as professionally. The courage that a candidate must have comes from within. It is the willingness to be reflective when things seem to go wrong or failure seems to be part of your daily experience. It’s about being cognizant about how your actions and words can affect others. It’s about being open to new ways of thinking and always siding with empathy and compassion over judgment. But most importantly, it’s about being persistent and having the understanding that through mistakes and failure we grow and gain valuable insight into the needs of the children and ourselves in the process.
However, the true test is in a candidate’s ability to connect with the children and their families. Our work is relationship-based, which means that progress happens after a level of trust is established. While some children (and families) welcome you with open arms, others will make you work hard to earn their trust, which can be very challenging.
While this work may not be for everyone, Children Today has given me a place to grow as a teacher, mother and member of society. The experience I have gained has greatly impacted my understanding about society and the human condition. Here I have learned how trauma affects lives. However, along with building relationships, creating a safe environment, and providing opportunities for learning and exploration, what keeps me coming back are the smiles and hugs that greet me each morning. For me, that is the greatest reward of all.
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Various members of the Children Today staff contribute to these blog posts.