This week's #Kinderchat blog challenge asks us to do a little bragging. For many reasons, this is a difficult thing for me to do. It's part personality and part not feeling as though I have anything to brag about. This has become a problem, however, in my search for a job. The very essence of finding a job requires bragging. In order to get interviews I know I must write a cover letter detailing why I would be awesome for the positions. And then I must tell potential employers that I am awesome at interviews.
And I am stuck. Stuck at the cover letter writing stage (well, and seeing job postings for jobs I want, but that's a whole 'nother dilemma) because I feel so very very weird about bragging on my skills and experiences and trying to convince people to give me a chance. And it's that chance I need, because I have a feeling I could do something meaningful if only I could get a job.
As I began to reflect on this week's challenge and my own weariness with "tooting my own horn", I also began to reflect on this unease as a whole within the early childhood field. It's not news that early childhood professionals are not the best at bragging. I know that a lot of people have a lot of different reasons for why this may be from gender to personality to the very virtues of the jobs themselves. To be honest, I don't know why this tends to be the case, nor do I really care. What matters to me is that we reverse this trend. Right now.
It's an uneasy time in the world of education. Between "reform" efforts and corporate interests in education and standardized tests and teacher bashing and the increased attention on early childhood education, people are paying attention to our field in ways that they never have before. And we need to have a say in what people are paying attention to. As the teachers and administrators and parents and social workers and consultants and faculty members and playmakers and everyone else out practicing and making things happen in early childhood education, we need to brag.
We need to brag about the importance of play and what that looks like in our programs. We need to brag about the successes. We need to brag about the little things we do that are making a difference. We need to brag about our innovations and show that what we are doing is in the very best interest of children's development and learning. We need to brag about the advocacy we do for children and families. We need to brag because we need to set the tone of the conversations that everyone is paying attention to. If we don't brag frequently and effectively, then those who are louder will overshadow us and we can't let the naysayers set the tone. We are the professionals in the field, we are the ones who need to set the tone for children and families.
And this includes me. If I want to do the things I say I want to do for children and families, then I need to brag too. No matter how much I loathe it, I need to brag and get those cover letters out there. And then I need to brag some more on behalf of the children and families and early childhood professionals so that I can help set the tone.
So here I go. I am a reflective and thoughtful practitioner; I know that there is rarely a black or white situation and that I have to dig in the grey area to find understanding and a course of direction for the next best steps. I believe in the importance of relationships in learning and have become skilled at making connections and looking at the larger context when working with children and families and other professionals. I am organized; after three years of juggling graduate classes and 4 or 5 jobs at a time and an internship and volunteering I have become adapt at multitasking while still focusing on each individual task. I can write. I have a deep understanding of child development and have learned how to share this knowledge in ways that families and those not in the field can understand. While juggling multiple jobs and internships I have gained an interesting intersection of experience in the policy world, the education world, and the social justice world that will be a powerful combination in my work.
Okay, that's as much bragging as I can do. But it's a start. Now it's your turn. Brag. Brag on yourselves and brag on our practice. The conversational arc depends on it.