Are Excellent Teachers Born or Made?

Teacher and kids on the nature playground

a message from Executive Director Deb Green

This question has forever plagued the education field, and even more so when referring to those who teach our youngest children.

Many believe that teachers who work with young children simply need to be kind-hearted and love the work that they do. However, those who study the field know that there is more to it than that.

Great teachers are made over time and experience, through education, perseverance, practice and guidance.

Wouldn’t you agree that when getting on an airplane, you hope that it is not being flown by someone who just loves planes? This analogy is often used to convey the intricacy and difficulty of working with children of any age.

Certainly, we want our teachers to love children and to be happy in their chosen profession, but it is equally important that they understand child development, planning of developmentally appropriate curriculum, classroom management, assessing children and responding to their individual needs, and health and safety practices. This is how professional educators are “made.”

Research has now markedly shown that all teachers benefit from continued education, earning degrees in the field, and ongoing professional development. At PIC, we have made supporting these pursuits a priority.

  • We participate in PA’s  T.E.A.C.H. program that provides scholarships and supports to early childhood teachers to increase their education and compensation. Teachers who participate in the program have 90% of their education costs paid. At least a dozen PIC teachers have completed degrees in Early Childhood Education through the T.E.A.C.H program and another 11 teachers are participating in the program right now.
  • We participate in the state-wide Learn and Earn program for teachers working towards their associate degree and who earn credit for their work experience.
  • We support staff members who pursue additional expertise along with or in addition to education degrees with both out-of-classroom time and additional compensation upon completion. Currently we have staff pursuing credentials in trauma-informed practices, as well as specific credentials in infant-toddler and school age care.  We also have staff members participating in the PRIDE (Positive Racial Identity in Early Education) Program of University of Pittsburgh. 
  • We close PIC for four in-service days per year for all-day professional development sessions. These include required training such as first aid & CPR,  fire safety and emergency preparedness, as well as curriculum-related workshops. Our next in-service day will be Friday, March 8 and we are in the midst of planning an exciting professional development day now. 
  • We look forward to again hosting pre-service teachers from area colleges and universities who spend time in our classrooms learning from our teachers who serve as mentors (this is finally resuming after several years of COVID restrictions.) 
  • We have become a leader in providing ongoing professional development and support to teachers in other child care programs who tour our facilities, see our classrooms in action, and attend workshops that our own teachers have opportunities to lead.  

At PIC, we will always seek teachers who show a great love for children and for the work they do. We also take great pride in the role we play in “making” excellent teachers and those who have become leaders in the field.  

We are always seeking ways to offer our own staff members additional and high level professional development opportunities and ways to offer PIC as a resource for other programs.

Wishing all a very Happy New Year and one filled with your own continual growth and development!