There are probably a lot of reasons why teachers quit working at daycares, but, 3 of the main reasons why are situations outside of their control.
A lot of the time parents will pull their children from a daycare (or preschool if you want to be that guy) for one of three reasons: their kid got hurt, they didn’t like the teachers or administrators, or there was a high turnover of teachers. I want to focus on the third, a high turnover of teachers. If you’re unfamiliar with the word turnover as it occurs in the business world, turnover is the issue of people coming and going from jobs creating an unstable work environment. I am a previous daycare/preschool teacher. I worked with children from 6 weeks, to 5 years old. I have potty trained kids, and taught them how to write their name. I’ve seen it all, heard it all, and experienced it all (for the most part). One thing that still rings true even though I no longer teach is that daycare workers are severely underpaid and underappreciated. You want to know why your child has had 5 teachers in the span of 6 months at his daycare? Here’s why.
This is true at any place of employment, but weighs a little heavier when you factor everything else in at a daycare. Bad management can be anything from overbearing owners, uninterested directors, and brown-nosing assistant directors. All of them have a detrimental effect on a teacher’s brain, and thus, makes them want to leave. I’ve seen owners tower over a crying girl, yelling at her to “confess” that she had witnessed another teacher do something wrong (when the poor girl didn’t know anything), but when you have a man and a woman standing over you while you’re sitting down, berating and yelling at you, you tend to break down. I’ve also seen directors that are barely there, maybe show up for a couple hours every few days. I’ll be honest, I’ve never met my son’s daycare director, and he’s been there for over a month now. I honestly thought the front administrative assistant was the director. Seeing the director responsibilities fall on someone who isn’t a director, is strange, but it seems to be working for them so – more power to ya. Then of course we have the brown-nosers. The ones who are so ready to tattle tale on you for having your phone, for posting a picture on Facebook, for talking to an ex-employee. These brown-nosers make it to where you constantly live on eggshells, afraid to say and do the wrong thing when you aren’t even doing anything wrong. This is true for all businesses, but especially true for daycares: Bad management can ruin a great business.
The next reason why there seems to be such a high turnover in daycare teachers is “bad” parents. If you have any of these traits, and you exhibit them in your kid’s classroom, go ahead and pump the brakes. Bad parents do a lot to ruin a good teacher’s morale, but the main issues are: being condescending and acting like your kid hung the moon. I get it, I have kids, and my kids are great (most of the time), but I’m never under the impression my kids are perfect and do no wrong. For example, the parents that say “oh he never does that at home!” or “did you do x,y,z to be sure he doesn’t do this awful behavior?” Those kinds of parents are the ones I say are “bad” Let me give you an example of a parent I encountered. Her child, Beckett (that’s not his real name, because she seems like she’d sue, she was a real peach), was the worst kid I have ever encountered. He hit, kicked, screamed, refused to listen, refused to do the work with us, called little girls fat and ugly, and when we told his mother about it she literally responded with, “not my Beckett! He does none of this at home, what are you doing wrong?!” Let me just preface this by saying, I know there are some terrible humans out there, but treating your children’s teachers like dog poo just because you don’t want the world to see how your child truly behaves, isn’t ok. And please note; when your kid gets hurt by one of these terrible kids with perfect-parents, the school will more than likely do nothing about it, unless the owner/director doesn’t like the child/parent. In this case, Beckett’s mom had another child in the school ($$$) and another one about to join, so the owners didn’t want to lose that profit, so they let him stay, and make everyone miserable without any kind of help from the parents.
The last thing, but the most important thing, is pay. Teachers are leaving in droves from daycares all over the US because they can get paid better at WalMart and don’t have to deal with the previously mentioned problems, on top of bad pay. Did you know, daycare teachers get paid around $9.50/hour? When the daycare rakes in over $10k in ONE room, a month, and have kids driving fancy cars, but don’t pay their teachers, you know something is wrong. The highest I’ve seen a daycare teacher paid was $13 (and that’s because it was me who made that), and I had a Bachelors Degree, and over 5 years of experience. I’ve had some friends who work at the same daycare for over 5 years, with a director’s credential, making $12 an hour! You can’t provide for your family off $12 an hour. Keep in mind you also have to pay an exorbitant amount for insurance, plus childcare (because you don’t get free childcare even when you work in childcare) you’re left with barely anything at the end of the day. I also know some companies that pay an “average” amount of hours worked for “holiday pay.” So if you missed a day because your kid was sick (unavoidable), or had to go to the doctor so you left early (also, unavoidable), you don’t get paid a full 8 hours for a holiday because it takes the average amount of hours you worked over the previous 6 months. So it saves the school money, but ends up costing the teacher a part of their already small paycheck.
Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t consider being a VPK teacher a “career” per say, but some do. Some women (and men) make it their life’s ambition to shape the minds of small children, and that is perfectly ok, but they should be paid a meaningful salary to do so. SO please, next time you wonder why your baby has had 5 teachers all swinging through like a revolving door, remember this, and maybe you could offer a kind word to help brighten their day. A small act of kindness goes a long way when you’re in a thankless job.