Hi! My name is Monica and I Work as a Teacher!
Welcome to Work It Wednesday...
For this week I want to introduce you to Monica Alvarado. For as long as I have known Monica, she has always had a passion for working with kids. Monica is a very nurturing, patient, and caring individual- so when she landed the position of "Lead Infant Teacher," I knew it was her calling.
Monica, like most of us, had her struggles with what she wanted to do and how she would get there, but she continued to try and not sell herself short. Take a look at how Monica came into her career and what she finds most rewarding about her career.
Hi! My name is Monica and I work as a Lead Infant Teacher
1. How did you choose your career?
I have always known I wanted to work with children but I was not sure which age group I would fit perfectly with. I tried working with elementary aged children but found my personality too soft. After a couple of years of working with different age groups, I found a position working with Infants (6 weeks to 18 months). I found this age group to be so beautiful because this is a wonderful age to begin setting a strong foundation for a child’s future.
2. In your opinion, what would you say are the top three characteristics/traits to be successful in your career?
Patience, Passion, Creativity.
3. What do you find most rewarding about your career?
The greatest reward an Infant Teacher will receive is the little gestures from their students. There are times when I have a day that is not going too smoothly, like having screaming children waiting on their bottles to heat, but forgetting to plug in the bottle warmers. Just when I begin to feel a little overwhelmed, I see one of my little new walkers get up and make their way over to me, with their wobbly legs and arms extended, and all they want is to give me a hug.
Walking and crawling is something that my students are just learning to do, and when I see them struggling and working their hardest just to reach me, I see how important I must be in their lives that they will push themselves to overcome something they have not yet mastered.
4. How would you rate your income?
I would give my income 5 out of 10 stars. Teachers at times are often unappreciated for their worth. I work at a center where the majority of the children are at school full time- Yes! 8am-6pm Mon-Fri. They are being raised by staff! Thankfully the staff I work with are extremely passionate teachers wanting to raise and educate children regardless of their pay. This career is for those who have a passion to educate the future not for those who want to see six figures on their checks.
5. Is this what you always wanted? If not, how did you land into it?
I have always wanted to work with children. While I attended school I worked at an afterschool program for elementary school children. Learning about different age groups at school, I searched for jobs that would allow me to work with lower age groups (infants & toddlers), I came across a Craigslist ad- and thats how I found my school.
6. What is your background? Did you have to go to school for what you are doing?
I have an AA in General Studies with an emphasis on Child and Family Services and a Master Teacher permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. I earned both from El Camino College. Various child development classes were needed to fulfill the requirements to work with infants.
7. What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone who wants to be in your field?
Do this for the love you have for children and their future. It is easy to become lazy and take the easy routes- but don’t. It is such a rewarding field to work in because often times you will see how you have made an impact on the children, not through your paycheck, but by a child mastering something you taught them.
8. Being a busy woman, what do you like to do on your free time?
On my free time I enjoy listening to music and enjoying something I have cooked. Working in an environment that is often fast paced, it is nice to slow down when I come home.
9. What do you value most in a career? Ex. Money, fun, work life balance?
I value the fun and love that comes with my job. Every day at work I can sing and dance and act as silly as I want to and the children just love it. Sometimes when class is getting too dull, I just put on some “Greg and Steve” songs and just dance around. The kids bounce up and down and the stress levels just disappear. Most jobs won’t just give you the opportunity to let loose.
10. Do you have any other goals you strive to achieve?
Ultimately I would like to own my own child care center, whether it is at-home or a facility. I would enjoy running a smaller center than the one I work at now, which holds 100 students. There is more I still need to learn before becoming a Director, but I would love to get there one day.
11. What is the greatest lesson you have learned? What would you do differently if given a second chance?
The greatest lesson I have learned so far was not to waste time. Time is very valuable and unfortunately we cannot get a second of it back, so when you get a chance to do something- just do it! It took me a long time to finish school because I was always pushing it for the next semester. If I would have continued going to school without stopping I am sure I would have been a director by now. But I am thankful that I am back on track and taking advantage of every opportunity given.
12. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years I see myself working as a Director of my own in-home child care program. Hopefully having my own children be in the program as well.