This is a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.
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My name is Erin Butts and I am the teacher/director of the Haggerty Preschool in Cambridge, Mass. The Haggerty Preschool is a 10-month, school-year program that serves children ages 2.9 to 5 years old.
I have been working in the field of early education for the past 14 years. I was a classroom teacher for seven years before moving into the teacher/director role in 2008.
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a teacher. Much of that desire came from my experience as a preschooler in a Head Start Program and from wanting to give that experience to other children and their families. It was when I had my first student teaching experience in Head Start that I realized I had found my calling and early education was where I needed to be.
I truly do not feel there is any job more rewarding than being a teacher, and there is no greater feeling than the one you get when watching a child learn and grow before your eyes. Creating a classroom culture that evokes kindness and acceptance has been the underlying theme of my teaching philosophy for many years. Helping others see the good in one another is an amazing feat, and to be able to support young children in doing this from an early age is really gratifying.
As a preschool teacher/director, I value the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and families. As a former head start student, I know firsthand what it feels like to be given opportunity. As a teacher, it is my goal to provide each child and family in my program the same opportunities I was afforded. I have had the pleasure of working with an amazing group of children and families over the course of my teaching career. Each one of them has helped me learn and grow and become not only a better teacher, but also a better person. It is later in life when these children and their families come back to visit, remembering so fondly their preschool experience, that I feel that I have truly succeeded.
My educational journey has been insightful. Throughout my time as a teacher I stayed current in the field by taking various courses and trainings and slowly worked towards my goal of becoming a director. As a director, I began to learn more about the leadership aspect of early education. In 2012, I took a LEAP class with Amy O’Leary and Rosemary Hernandez: Leadership in Early Education and Care through Wheelock College. This class was instrumental in helping me learn more about the leadership aspect of early education and helped me see that what I do in the field is impactful and can make a difference for others. It empowered me to become a change agent and was the driving force behind my decision to obtain a master’s degree at Wheelock College in the field of Organizational Leadership.
The thing I love most about teaching is that you never stop learning. As a director, I love sharing that knowledge with my staff just as much as I look forward to them sharing their newfound knowledge with me. I also think it is important to recognize the learning that parents experience while having a child in an early education classroom. The knowledge parents acquire about their child’s growth and development enables them to become future advocates for their children’s learning. As a teacher, I value the opportunity to work with families to help them learn more about their child and the ways they can support their learning at home, and I encourage other teachers and directors to create opportunities for families to be part of the classroom learning experience.