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How to Get the Most Out of a Career Working with Children

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Working with children is a noble pursuit. It can be rewarding and even cathartic. Helping children now can and will make the biggest impact on their futures and the future of society as a whole. Teachers provide such important groundwork that help children in ways they don’t really understand or even appreciate. The same applies to counselors, coaches, and other adult figures that regularly make an impact on a child’s life. 

Working with children is, of course, far from easy. There tends to be a lack of budget and support for teachers, and this causes a very toxic environment, especially when upper management is not working with them but against them. 

Though there are definite tribulations and issues with working with children – especially in public school settings – there are ways around them and ways that you can make a positive impact and do good every day of your career. 

Careers that Work Directly with Children 

There are many careers that allow you to work with children. While not exhaustive, especially when you look into the private sector options, these careers are typically the most popular: 

1. Teachers 

If you want to work with children, the most obvious career choice is to become a teacher. Not only can you customize your career and really pick out the route that suits you in terms of age of student and subject, but you also have fairly good break periods that most other careers do not offer. 

The average national salary for teachers is $55,000, and there are many programs out there designed to help you reduce your costs. Staples, for example, has a program that allows parents to earn points on your behalf so that you can then buy supplies for your students without paying out of pocket. 

There are a variety of schooling options as well, meaning you don’t need to solely work in the public school system. 

2. Counselors 

There are many different types of counselors, and all of them play a very important role in a child’s development and their success. One of the counselors that is most seen by students is the school counselor, who will specialize in group counseling, multicultural counseling, internship counseling, and who will also typically be the lead in developing any counseling programs or intervention programs as required. 

Counselors are there for the students. They are the gateway for kids to get the help that they need, especially if they don’t have that support at home. The median salary of a school counselor is $58,120, with the best-paid 25% of school counselors earning over $75,920

Counseling as a profession is also growing and is expected to grow by 11% by 2030. To become a counselor, you will want to look into online school counseling programs. Master degrees like this establish strong professional foundations, help you cultivate your counseling style, and learn how to counsel a broader range of individuals from different backgrounds. 

Other similar careers include school or private child psychologists. There is a lot of trauma that can happen to children, from abuse at home to being in a car accident to even bullying at school. Working as a counselor or psychologist will allow you to help these children process what has happened and, hopefully, work on how they can move past it. 

3. School Principal/Education Administer

Work on the behalf of children but less directly with them as a principal or education administrator. In this case, you will be advocating on the behalf of the children. You will also be addressing issues facing the school district, the curriculum, and also working alongside both parents and adults. It is typically the next step up for teachers or even counselors who want to expand the reach of their work and, in many cases, enjoy a good pay rise in the process. 

4. Librarian 

Librarians are a golden resource for kids and students at every age. More than just the administrator that puts books on the shelves, librarians are there to help students find the information that they need. They typically are the go-to source for many students who need help with their assignments or projects. 

5. Preschool/Daycare Worker 

Preschools and daycare workers range from simply babysitting all the way to preschooling to give little ones the best possible development. Your work helps parents who are at work and also helps children get the best possible start in life. There are many different kinds of preschools and daycare as well, with the best introducing many key concepts right from the start. 

Your work will play a huge role in kids discovering themselves, learning how to socialize and play with others, and, of course, will be instrumental in their parents’ lives as well. 

Also, Check – 8 Ways To Develop Your Career As A Nurse

How to Get the Most Out of a Career Working with Children 

There are many careers that focus on child development. A great educator and leader can help really make a difference and an impact on a child’s life. This work, though great, can be difficult. To get the most out of your career, you need to be committed to furthering your own skills. You also need to know how to set better boundaries for yourself and find a good balance between work and life. 

Making a distinction can help you stay objective and can allow you to help a larger number of children rather than hyper-fixating on just a few cases. This is particularly important if you have kids of your own at home who may feel like they have been neglected because you spend most of your energy helping children and being a good role model at home. 

From improving your skillset to managing your professional and private life, these tips will help you get the most out of your career: 

Tips for Finding the Right Training 

Whether you want to become a teacher, a counselor, or a librarian, chances are you will either have to or want to go for a full master’s degree. The requirements will depend on your state, yes, but before you get caught up in the minimum requirements, it is a good idea to look at job prospects from state to state. 

California, for example, typically pays the highest for teachers and counselors alike. If you don’t currently live in California but are willing to make that move in a few years’ time, then look at what the minimum requirements and average qualifications teachers or counselors hold. 

As a rule of thumb, when it comes to any education or child development situation, you are always better off going for the higher qualification. Ensure that qualification is recognized by the right bodies and most importantly that it covers a wide breadth of information that will prepare you for a diverse range of students and issues. 

When it comes to earning a master’s, one of the best situations that you can put yourself in is to find an online degree. Being able to get the best education while remaining at home and, in many cases, being able to continue to work while you study is the best way to support yourself and further your career. Online education has come a long way and is completely transformed in comparison to its pre-pandemic state. Today it is robust, and the digital learning environment has been reworked to suit modern learning by taking advantage of all the tools at your disposal. 

Accredited education, a dedicated and helpful faculty, and being able to get in touch and communicate with your peers makes a massive difference. Ensure that your further education and training options offer all of these traits, and you will be well on your way to moving forward in your career. 

Continue with Lifelong Learning 

Education, psychology, and how we engage with each other have changed and will continue to change. Kids, in particular, are right in the heart of it, and if they feel like you don’t know what is going on with the world, they won’t feel like you can connect with them. That is why it is so important that you invest in further training and really work at moving with the times. 

From knowing the right words to following the updated recommended approach when it comes to discussing issues like sexuality, trauma, and even stress, you can really work to connect with students in ways that they have come to expect from their peers. There are more words, more ideas, and more concepts floating around than ever before, thanks to social media, which means staying up to date is going to be harder than ever. 

Staying up to date, however, will allow you to address students’ issues, concerns, and questions in ways that they understand and can relate to. Young people often take an extremely black and white viewpoint on every issue that comes before them, so you need to know what those two sides are so that you can guide them appropriately. 

Don’t just think about what is trending or what the latest couch-psychology trend is on TikTok that your students would have heard, either. Attend workshops and short courses that allow you to train in different ways as you go. This works for teachers, it works for therapists and counselors, and it works for administrators. 

There are always new things to learn, and while you cannot know everything, you can certainly work to fill the most noticeable gaps. 

Set Your Boundaries 

When it comes to working with children, you do need to be careful. Caring for others, particularly for children, is something of a biologically ingrained drive. While your job is to teach, guide, and help your students, you are, ultimately, not their parent, and you can only do so much. This is both a matter of the students’ boundaries and also your own. 

As a teacher or a counselor, you need to remind yourself to help them in the capacity you are being paid to help. If the child in question needs additional support and guidance that goes beyond your boundaries, then the only thing that you can do is try to connect them with another adult or resource that they can. 

This doesn’t mean that you cannot have personal, one-on-one conversations with a student or offer them advice if they come to you, but if what they are going through is beyond your scope (especially during work hours), then you need to help them find a solution that can work for them. 

Setting boundaries like this can help you leave your work at work. You have your own private life and may have children of your own that deserve your full attention and dedication as well, and if you bring home your work (even if that work is a child in need), then your boundaries and needs will be blurred. Once your own boundaries are blurred, the other loved ones and passions you have will take a back seat. 

You cannot save every child, but you can guide them. Create a list of resources starting today so that you can quickly connect a child to the help that they need as soon as it goes beyond the scope of what help you can offer. 

Negotiate Your Contract, Salary, and Expectations 

The best way to earn pay rises is to change jobs, though it is important to note that sometimes an improved working environment is preferable to a higher wage. Many public school teachers go into the private sector and earn less simply because the public school system does not support them as educators. 

You can and will need to negotiate your contract, salary, and expectations. Try to do this in your work, and especially do this if you are ever job hunting (particularly if you are going outside of the teacher’s union in the process). 

Being paid adequately for what you do is important. It is how you will immediately feel more appreciated and also how you will be able to get the most out of your career working with children.

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