“The children have changed. They have a much harder time accepting rules”: A daycare worker reports


BERLIN. The collective bargaining dispute between municipalities and trade unions over employees in social and educational services has been settled for the time being: There is a little more money and two more days off, as News4teachers reports. However, it does not solve the basic problem – at least that is what daycare and News4teachers reader Marion thinks. She, too, feels overwhelmed in her job as a teacher, as she explains in the following article. However, the reason is deeper than can be depicted in collective bargaining. It’s about our basic attitude towards children. We document the highly readable post, which was initially published as a letter to the editor, again prominent here.

“So many things don’t fit together anymore.” Illustration: Shutterstock

marion, May 21, 2022 at 13.11

OKAY. I like to take 130 euros and two extra days holiday. But does this fundamentally change the general dissatisfaction in this job? And where does this dissatisfaction come from? Is it a result of the exaggerated demands that we find ourselves exposed to in the face of ever-increasing demands? What are these claims? Who makes these demands on us? The parents? The political? We ourselves?

Or do the high demands stem from the development of society as a whole, which one as an individual no longer has an influence on? I am thinking of the increasing economization of everyday life. Of the increased demands for a certain standard of living that one will not give up.

I can only speak for myself now, I do not know if others see it this way:
Maybe we get paid too badly for what we do, that may well be the case. I personally do not feel that way. I have never had the feeling of not earning enough. My dissatisfaction stems from completely different aspects.

Our society has changed rapidly in the last 20 years. Personally, I can not always keep up with these upheavals. This world is now often too hectic, too fast, too high for me. This general unrest is of course also reflected in the daily life of the day care institution.

“Many children have a very low tolerance for frustration. There is instant crying, crying or rage because of trivialities. “

Although 15 years ago I had to look after significantly more children, namely 25, 26, 27 with a nanny, and when she was ill or free, also alone, I experience the work as significantly more stressful and stressful today. I notice that the kids have changed. They have a much harder time accepting simple, generally applicable rules. It is often very tiring when it comes to explaining and enforcing these everyday rules over and over again, even though everyone should have known them for a long time.

Many children’s frustration tolerance is very low. It immediately screams, cries or rages because of nothing. It is often frightening because one thinks something terrible must have happened to a child when someone has just said something that the other person did not like. They need the help of an adult to resolve the smallest conflicts or to deal with minimal deviations from the usual. The willingness to try to find a solution for oneself has fallen enormously. All this leads to the normal “everyday business” in the day care institution becoming more and more stressful and harder to oversee.

In addition, certain basic skills that children used to learn “automatically” now need to be carefully trained. For example, how to hold a pen correctly – the children learned over time. When they were preschoolers, they had learned to hold their pencils correctly without much prior instruction. Today, I have more and more preschoolers that I need to learn to hold a ballpoint pen correctly. Whether this is because children rarely see adults working with a ballpoint pen has to show. The fact is that many basic skills that were previously acquired as a matter of course now have to be practiced with the children, mostly by the day care staff.

There is a growing tendency for children to no longer be taught general life skills by their parents, but instead rely entirely on kindergarten for this. Which is not surprising, since a lot of kids spend almost as much time there during the week as they do at home.

In addition, the value of family upbringing is underestimated, while politicians and the business community are in favor of the urgency of early education through public childcare facilities. But it is simply not true that children miss something if they only get into day care when they are three to four years old.

No child absolutely needs a crib for a healthy development. Parents and employers NEED nursery places so that the children are cared for while the parents work.

The full promises from various families and ministers of education about how much even the youngest would benefit socially and cognitively from crèches and kindergartens, have boosted the expectations of the parents of the day care center enormously. Sometimes I get the impression that when they start in day care, the responsibility for “the child learning something” is handed over to the educators. These expectations, combined with staff shortages and poor working conditions – and especially during the pandemic the miserable health protection, have contributed to the development of great dissatisfaction among educators.

So many things no longer fit together: on the one hand, we are asked to give the children the greatest possible individual support, to respond to each child according to their needs, to let everyone go at their own pace and just not to force anyone to do anything, always patiently accept even the strangest oddities with understanding. In return, it is ok to hand over a crying, tired or sick little child to the teacher in the morning.

“I do not think it is normal for children to be born only to be put in an institution all day as soon as possible”

It is ok to take your child to kindergarten every day from 8.30 to 15.00 or longer, even if you are still on parental leave with the little sibling. And no – this is not an isolated case. It happens more and more often because parents actually think their child is missing something, or because they are simply overwhelmed by caring for two children at the same time, or because there are no other playmates available for the child because everyone is with. daycare.

But sorry, I do not think it’s normal anymore. I do not think it is normal for children to be born so that they are thrown into institutions all day as quickly as possible, where they are cared for in large numbers and learn from day care that one has to fight for the attention of the adult caregiver. Where they are always surrounded by fences, cut off from the rest of the world, in a children’s world prepared especially for them under the watchful eyes of their teachers. Where they no longer learn anything about the adult world because adults sit in their offices in front of their computers and pursue a profession that can no longer be properly explained to children.

We teach them songs about farmers, millers and bakers, even though there are no farmers in their area, let alone millers. There are no real bakeries anymore. But bakery branches of all major bakeries.

We completely disconnect ourselves and our children from what life actually is. We completely lose the connection to natural compounds, which are actually our livelihood and also cut off our children from it, simply because we believe that our sacred “prosperity” can only be achieved with even more work, even more profit, even more technical “Progress “and digitization in order to guarantee. With so much work and struggle to maintain our standard of living that we will not want to do without, there are many who do not even notice that children are only in the way.

What does it really do to them when they realize that they constantly have to be arranged in some way so that the “family” of everyday life works? This became particularly evident during the pandemic: Because children could no longer be “organized away” so easily, many parents were on the verge of a nervous breakdown. A rapid opening of day care centers was required, whether there was a pandemic or not. I think that says a lot about our society.

Well, it was very far out, but sometimes I just get away with it because I can no longer hear the calls for more money and “recognition” and more education and so on. We have much deeper problems, and if we do not acknowledge it, nothing will improve significantly. News4teachers

reader posts

With an average of more than a million readers a month, News4teachers is Germany’s largest news magazine for education – and it also sees itself as a discussion medium. We look forward to any reader contribution that helps to present different perspectives on the topics in our contribution.

There are a few rules for the publication, which in principle do not differ from those that apply in ordinary human interaction – they can be read here. We also like to publish particularly interesting posts – as above – as guest contributions in News4teachers’ editorial section. Everyone involved in education is cordially invited to participate (also anonymously) in the debates. Each post on News4teachers is free for discussion. Of course this one too.

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