Meet Our Tutor Time Staff – Ms. Melissa, Lead Preschool Teacher & Team Lead
Ms. Melissa, Lead Preschool Teacher and Team Lead at our center in Grand Rapids, MI, has worked at Tutor Time since May and has a wealth of experience in child care. Read our Q&A with her to learn about why she chose a career in early childhood education and what she finds so rewarding about teaching each day.
Can you tell us a bit about your background in child care?
I owned an in-home licensed daycare for 10 years. I also have about 15 years of experience as a child care volunteer and about 10 years as a substitute aid and volunteer at our local public school district. I also worked for a year as a teacher’s aide at a preschool in our local district. Lastly, I have about 13 years as a community sports volunteer.
Why did you decide on a career in early childhood education?
Inspiring children to love learning is truly a passion for me. Watching their curiosity grow and their confidence emerge is absolutely wonderful. Helping them to express themselves appropriately at an early age gives them a strong foundation to build on so when they reach kindergarten, they’re prepared.
What do you like to concentrate on when teaching your students?
Learning through play is the biggest focus for me as a teacher. That, and the small group time and unique lessons plans. They help me connect, grow closer, evaluate and tweak each area of learning. Each of those stages during the day creates opportunities for them to learn.
Why is early childhood education so important?
I feel it’s important for the relationships. In today’s culture, people are busy. Technology is available to all ages as a filler, and even children can be too busy with activities. So early education is a place for children to explore their natural curiosity, grow their interests, form relationships and become responsible citizens.
Do you have a favorite accomplishment since you’ve been at Tutor Time?
As I moved from teaching early preschool to teaching preschool, I formed even more relationships with families in our center which helped me to then become team lead.
What are your duties as team lead?
An important one is leading by example. Being team lead is a big responsibility. It’s important that I keep everyone safe no matter what. Other than that, I maintain ratio and labor hours and get to know parents that I don’t see in my classroom.
How do you communicate successfully with parents?
Over the past 10 years I have focused myself on becoming a better listener, learning how to be quiet and to not focus on what I want to say next, but rather what the person is saying to me. As I listen to parents, I feel like we build a relationship where they feel comfortable talking to me and asking me questions.
Why is working in early education rewarding for you?
It’s rewarding because of the relationships I build with each of my students. There has to be a bond between us so that the child trusts me and when they trust me they feel safe to learn. The reward is in that and watching them grow in their development and their understanding.