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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
~Radio Flyer~ Offline
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I've only started my job 10 days ago and I already want to quit - July 11th 2016, 02:48 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering by the original poster or by a Moderator. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

Hi all,
I put the triggering label because there's some mention of depression.

I am working at a daycare this summer. I was looking forward to the change in daycare. I believed anything will be better than the previous daycare I worked at summer 2013 and summer 2014. I recognized there were some strength that that old daycare had but I also felt the director did not use the full potential. I was ready to make the switch because of how unhappy I was and how much I've learned and outgrown that place. I also thought I left on a good note because I did get along well with the kids there and felt like I was ready to move on to something more challenging but also someplace striving to enhance children's lives using actual child development and early childhood education.
It's only been 10 days of working at this new daycare but I already feel disillusioned. I forgot how "radical" I sound to mainstream people....they're not looking for someone to be radical, they're looking for someone who will obey and take orders. I think I got a little too dreamy....
It all looks so bleak. I am glad I get out of my room now and have something to do for 7 hours of my day but it really isn't as satisfying as I thought it would be and I actually kind of hate it. There's something appealing about it but there's also something very wrong and stressful about having almost no autonomy nor space for creativity. By wrong, I mean, based on my knowledge of child development, this daycare goes against a lot of it and it just feels demoralizing to do something I don't believe in and am very passionately against.

My father keeps telling me that I'm a worker and not the director nor am I the consumer such as the parent. That the daycare is nothing more than a business between parents and director. He tells me there's no room to bring my ideas. There's no room to be innovative. If I want to be radical I should write a book. To write a book directed to parents, giving them advice but that I am not these children's parents and because these parents chose this daycare with full knowledge it's running in this particular way, I have no right to change it or challenge it because parents consented to it. My job is to take orders from the higher ups.

I know how to take orders. I've done it in school for however many years. I don't want to do it anymore. Especially when it comes to the well being of children, I feel like I have to speak up. It's not "just a job". These are human lives and I feel like the minimum isn't enough. Scraping by isn't enough. I feel my responsibility is to do more than just allow them to survive. My responsibility is to work with alongside parents help raise strong, happy, healthy, children who grow up to flourish as adults. That's what I want for them.

In the old daycare I worked at, there were practices that I believe were violating the law, abusive and neglectful. I was in the process of reporting it but got lost in that process after waiting for a reply by email from a website and sort of took a break with it because I wasn't getting anywhere.

This daycare I work at now is not particularly abusive or neglectful. I don't think in the legal sense but they're still not doing very well. I also feel very stressed out and overwhelmed and I feel like avoiding it.

Here are my complaints:

Food-it is much better than the previous daycare. But for snack children are given a lot of cookies. They're also given a whole lot of apple juice instead of water. Every friday there's a "party" and they're given a ton of candy, sugary foods. The age group I'm working with are 1.5-3 years old.

Discipline-there is one girl in particular who had been in the daycare through the whole year so the two teachers I work with already "know" her and tell me she's a "troublemaker". She's only about 3 years old, btw! She goes into time-out a LOT. She seems to be miserable there. Clearly time-outs do not work for her. Clearly we should be working together to do something better than the traditional time-out, ignore her, yell at her, isolate her etc etc. She does do certain unacceptable behaviors such as pushing, hitting younger kids. I am not saying I am all that great but shouldn't we be at least trying to do things with a whole heart and be ready to give up methods that clearly don't work? And be willing to try something new?

There's another girl-she's new. We can call her A. A is very attached to me for some reason. She wants me to hold her at all times. She wants to sit on my lap. She cries every time I'm busy with other kids. The teachers' solution? I am told I have to ignore her. If she starts crying while she's sitting next to me or is on my lap, I have to remove her from my lap and tell her she cant sit on my lap if she cries. If she continues to cry, I am asked to take away her pacifier. She is 2 years old by the way. And I am being told to put the burden on her to solve her own emotions without giving her any kind of guidance or resources to figure them out. A common thing the teacher tells her is "Do you see anyone else in the room crying? No! No one else is crying! You shouldn't be either!" Another thing teachers say is "It's not fair, you can't keep crying and getting away with it! You can't keep hurting our ears like this. Enough is enough!" I also recall, one of the teachers taking away the food from this child and saying if she doesn't stop crying she won't be allowed to eat. By the way, this child refuses to eat anyway (even the packed food her parents put in her backpack for her) because she's clearly very upset but taking away her food that her parents brought for her from home is just ridiculous. No, it's outrageous.


Now that's not to say I wasn't raised in this environment and even worse but maybe that's why I'm so passionately against it. And trying so hard to find alternatives. To treat kids compassionately. I don't want to repeat the horrible mistakes that adults had practiced with me and the kids I grew up with. THAT'S really what isn't fair, from where I'm standing.

This post is getting ridiculously long so I'll just make one more complaint and it's going to combine 2 different things in one but is related:
Micro-managing both me and the kids at the daycare.

Okay this one is really frustrating. How do they micro-manage me? I am told every little thing what to do, to the dot. Sometimes I cannot even do those things because so many things are happening at once. An example would be that when I was carrying this one child, who is one of the younger ones and she was teething and in pain. We were going inside at this point. I am told to bring three kids inside and change them. All fine so far. As I told 3 kids to come inside, about 5 more rushed in too. The director happened to be there at the time and was filling out paperwork. She turned to me and said "tell them to go outside, c'mon, listen to what teacher M just told you." The thing is, I wasn't like trying to not do as she says. I had to go to the door and look outside to see if there's a teacher still there before I let those 5 kids wait outside. I am not allowed to leave them by them self so I would not want to just take those 3 kids without checking that someone is watching the other kids first. I hate how I was misjudged for that.

Also the teachers were sneering at me for not using enough windex when I was asked to clean the tables. It was my first time ever using windex. Some things do not come as natural for me...also I am given so many tasks to do and then told in addition to rush over when I'm done. So I accidentally forgot to put the windex back one time, it was friday afternoon and I dont think it was the hugest deal ever but to the teachers it was. Also I am told to do things after I did something they didn't like but was not told from the beginning and they hold it against me. For example as I was cleaning the eating room, there was leftover food. There was no teacher around, they were busy staying with the kids during naptime. So I decided that because I was not told what to do with the food that I should just leave it where it was. I was given instruction wipe the kids' mouth and hands before sending them to the next room to take a nap. Then when I' am done with that, to sweep the floor, stack the chairs and clean the table with windex. Nothing mentioned about what to do with the food. What if I put the food in the fridge and got yelled at for that? Why would I take that chance if they're the one who forgot to mention it.

For the kids it's even worse. There's an outdoor space for kids to play (thank god) and in every normal outdoor space there's something called dirt. It's normal, it's natural, it's even HEALTHY for kids to play in dirt. These kids were in bathing suits playing in the sprinkler, they can easily wash up after. But there's this rule of no playing in the dirt. Why have dirt everywhere. It had just rained so there's puddles too. And then every few seconds, "C get out of the dirt....S get out of the dirt, Y get out of the dirt" etc and then time-outs and all this stress. Why? And this goes for many other things too. It isn't just the dirt, it's like every little thing they do, there's something problematic about it. Can't we all just breathe for 10 seconds?

When the kids play, there are SO many restrictions. There's a box of cars for example. It is normal, natural and healthy for kids to empty out the box of cars and want to use the box for something like a bed for a baby doll. Apparently that's unacceptable. Why? because the teacher YELLS across the room that the child cannot use the box for anything other than putting cars in it. The children are basically forbidden to doing anything creative...even the arts and crafts project they have is a door hanger and they're all colored in the same exact way, blue on the sides, green down the middle and brown in the background. Every single child. That doesn't sound developmentally sound to me at all.

Even during lunch time it's so freakin stressful. Every few seconds the teachers have to comment on who is eating "nicely" and who is "a good listener". They say stupid things like "wow, Y is eating so nicely today" Like shut UP. Y is eating because he is hungry, who are YOU to tell HIM how HIS BODY should be?

And then there's the kid who didn't want to eat fries but wanted more fish sticks and she was told "you can't have more fish sticks unless you finish your fries first." And because she didn't want to eat her fries and genuinely disliked fries she was told she wasn't eating "nicely" enough.

I personally find this daycare very toxic for kids, for any human being for that matter. I don't want to perpetuate this toxicity. I want to quit. In fact I cried everyday last week during my lunch break and when I walk back home.

The whole thing is really depressing to me and as much as I love working with kids, I realized I'm much more against daycares than I previously thought and dont think I can handle going there for the rest of the summer.

Also, I am supposed to be working 25 hours per week and will only be paid for 25 hours a week but the daycare is run around 32 hours a week and I am expected to go against the program that employed me but I dont want to. And I'm upset about that too. I got depressed about that too because I dont want to be seen as a problem by voicing my needs and not wanting to go with their scheme that is actually a way to get extra free labor and I am trying to prevent myself from being a doormat because I was that for many years.

Last edited by ~Radio Flyer~; July 11th 2016 at 03:24 AM. Reason: typos
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Re: I've only started my job 10 days ago and I already want to quit - July 11th 2016, 04:04 AM

Okay, I can understand some of what everyone is saying/doing, and some of it just doesn't make sense:

I understand what you want to do and I would love for that to happen, but realistically, at least right now, I don't think it's possible. If you choose to continue working in childcare and you manage to move up, I could see it eventually, but not right now. Unfortunately, that will probably be the case with any daycare job at this level. So, right now I think your dad is right. At the end of the day, it's a business, and they hired you to care for children as you're told; they don't want new people coming in trying to tell them what to do. When you have children and choose a place for them, then you can make any decisions you want.

Food: As much as you disagree with it, you have to give them what's available. From the daycare's perspective, they might be thinking about food allergies and choking hazards and things like that, especially with little ones. I'm not saying it's right, but there isn't much you can do.

Discipline: I agree with you that in theory, more should be done in terms of finding things that work in exchange for methods that don't work and in a perfect world, it would. The problem is that there are a lot of kids to care for, and they are at a high maintenance age being so young. Yes, better techniques should be implemented as early as possible, but realistically, it may not happen. Unless these are some kind of qualified professionals, their job is to keep everybody safe, healthy, and alive. Also, this is the way they do things, they don't want to change, even if it would be better because it's easier to keep doing something than it is to change. In A's case, my best bet is that they think she's attached to you for the attention so the logical thing (to them) is to withhold that attention or things she values until she learns a "more acceptable" way to get what she wants. They may also think that if she's attached to you, that you aren't able to give enough attention to the rest of the kids. Also, to have a child sitting on an employee's lap, while it is completely innocent would freak some parents out. I'm NOT suggesting in the least that you would ever do anything inappropriate with a child EVER, but their customers (because again, it's a business after all) have to be kept happy or they'll take their money elsewhere.

Micromanaging you: I know you're sick of being told what to do and believe me, I get it. I worked 10 shifts with one manager like that and said if she stayed I would quit. The thing is that they have their way (right or wrong, agree or disagree) of doing things and they want you to fall in line. In the beginning, they're looking for reasons to let you go Until you're self-employed, you're going to have to answer to somebody; unfortunately, that's just the way the world works; and believe me it's in every profession and business.

Micromanaging kids eating: What I think they're trying to do is enforce modeling, where children learn "appropriate" behavior by watching other kids and learning what's good and bad (like not taking food from others, throwing tantrums, throwing food etc.) The child being complimented also has their good behavior reinforced. The fish stick and fries thing, I think they were pulling the "if you don't finish the food you already have even if you don't like it, you can't have more of what you like." Parents use this all the time. "Finish your (fill-in the vegetable they know you hate here) or you don't get desert. If you get upset about that, then you're not behaving appropriately. I think it's the same concept. I'm not in the situation though, so I don't know if how the kids react is really out of line or if the staff has unrealistic expectations.

Micromanaging kids play: The dirt thing I get, because again, parents like to flip out and threaten to take their money elsewhere if their child is picked up and either dirty or wet from being washed off. Why is there dirt if they aren't allowed to play in it, unless there's landscaping in progress, I have no idea. The rest of it doesn't make sense either, kids should be allowed to be creative as long as they clean up the toys or art supplies they use when they're done and don't get stuff all over themselves, because again parents would freak out if their child is a mess.

So, that's my two cents. If you really don't think you can work there, then you can quit, but the longer you stay, the better it will look to your next job (or if you have had others you can leave it out.) I don't agree with everything they're doing, but I kind of get it. I also didn't mean this to come across as harshly as it probably does.

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Re: I've only started my job 10 days ago and I already want to quit - July 11th 2016, 03:54 PM

Hi Kate,

I actually typed something out but it got deleted so I'm going to try again. I also thought about things a lot more.

The thing is, I do understand where they're coming from for most things. And I see what my father is saying. I also see what you're saying. And I hate myself for sounding really snobby and having unrealistic expectations. But I also thought about why I'm so disappointed and I realized that during the interview, the director described something else...a philosophy that I resonate with. I was looking on their website and it reminded me that even the student to staff ratio that they claim to have is false. There is a lot of false advertizing between what the director described in the interview and on the website and what goes on for real. The website said there's a lot of experimentation for kids, which isn't true. With the rate that the micromanaging is going, kids cannot even play with lego without a teacher hovering over them and telling them exactly where to put each piece.

Okay, another thing is that it is a home daycare and I guess I expected home daycares to work differently than center daycares. But this home daycare is run like a center but the setting is in a home. The other daycare I worked at was also home-based and there was more autonomy. It was harmful in other ways...things that I know for sure are legal violations. I wont really get into but like I was saying in my original post, I was looking to report it but put that on hold for now.

We are understaffed in terms of the varied needs (though legally it is at an acceptable ratio) which could be part of it. Maybe over the year there are less kids. The director told me she wants to expand the daycare to an after school program and a Sunday program. So it's going to be huge next year, more kids....

Right now there are 2 age groups. 1.5 years-3 and 3.5 years-5. I was told I would be allowed to rotate and see which group I feel better with but that had not happened. Probably because the two teenagers who came to work had to leave because it turns out they're too young for this age group so now we're really understaffed with the babies. We are 3 adults with 12 children for the baby group.

From my observation of watching them play outside, the older kids seem much happier. Less micro-managing. more warm, sensitive, respectful communication by the teachers. Although they also get told off for small things like making bubbles with your saliva is not allowed. That just seems like an odd thing to ban. Also no dirt, no leaning against the fence. No climbing up the slide. If you go up the ladder you must immediately go down the slide, you're not allowed to hang in the middle area.

I also realize it is a private religious daycare so they probably dont get subsidies from the government for food. But fries are not even healthy so it's one thing to tell a child to eat their vegetables, but why make an "or else" statement about fries? I understand teaching portion size for instance. Like you cant give a child as many fish sticks as they want just because they want it. But it is equally important to teach children to listen to their body. If they are hungry they'll eat, if not then not.

I don't tell anyone at the daycare my ideas, so it's not like they know how frustrated I feel.I follow orders like I am told. I don't feel like it is my place boss them around either and I'm not interested in doing so. I am a worker, that part makes sense. It really does...it's also demoralizing though. When I know there's better approaches out there, but forced to repeat the environment that I know many kids dont do well in, it's hard to keep going.

That girl who is referred to as the trouble maker, she's definitely a handful. She pushes one child to the floor. I pick up the child and soothing said child. Meanwhile the girl goes to the next child and pushes that child to the ground too. It is unacceptable behavior. Children are getting hurt.

As for the child sitting on my lap, I dont think the parents mind. It's something I've seen the other teachers do too. It's just that the teachers have decided this child A cannot be attached to me because during the year, A will continue going to this daycare but I will leave because I'm only here for the summer (the director mentioned me continuing over the year but we had not discussed it yet and I also dont think I'll want to return) and that will leave the two teachers stuck with A who they did not have the chance to build a rapport with over the summer. I think that's the logic behind it. But again, the ultimatums just seem uncalled for such as "if you don't stop crying now, I'll be taking away your pacifier". Zero communication on the reason she's crying. She misses her mother, nothing is said about that part. But she is told to suppress her tears. I grew up suppressing my tears. It's unhealthy and can cause problems later in life. I know this firsthand.

Also a note about the dirt, we have towels for every child that we use to dry them after the sprinkler because it is sort of like a camp during the summer and a school during the year. It is just unrealistic to control kids to that extent. I wipe their hands and mouth after eating. I redo the girls' pony tails after they wake up from their nap. We teach them to wash their hands with water and soap (omg in the other daycare...I dont even want to get into it but we were forbidden from letting the toilet trained kids wash their hands after using the bathroom....at least here we are encouraged to follow good hygiene habits) Take a child to a park and they're going to come back at least a little dirty. We have the outdoor space that is a playground. There's plants, trees etc. You know that thing called nature. They're not even allowed to watch an ant walk on the pavement without getting yelled at.

Anyway, I called in feeling unwell and am thinking for now that I will go back tomorrow and in the meantime call back the program who employed me and ask them if I can find a different worksite (the work site does not pay me, there's a youth program that pays me) and I will try to find a worksite that does office work rather than a daycare so I just get transferred out rather than no job at all. Maybe I'm not ready for working at a daycare. Maybe I will look into babysitting after I get CPR/First aid sometime too which I currently do not have.

Last edited by ~Radio Flyer~; July 11th 2016 at 04:31 PM.
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Re: I've only started my job 10 days ago and I already want to quit - July 11th 2016, 05:26 PM

Honestly, hearing about this place makes me really sad as someone who has a degree in early childhood education. I think your intentions are fantastic, and incredibly needed in fields of working with children. However, I think right now it's going to take a lot to get anyone to listen. And it sounds like no matter what, the place you're at right now won't listen. I also agree that it's wrong to force a child to eat something they don't like (as long as they've actually tried it).

What they're doing with asking you to work more hours than you're paid for sounds like they may be breaking the law. I would absolutely report that to the program that placed you. You could also let them know how different the actual facility is compared to what you were told before working there.

In my experience, in-home daycare centers are usually not all that great. I think you should absolutely talk to your program that placed you because it's horrible having to do things you morally disagree with for work, especially when it comes to children. I also want to assure you that there ARE plenty of places that follow strategies that go along more with what you believe in, don't let this discourage you from taking jobs in the field.

The food doesn't sound very healthy, but do the parents have the option of sending their child with a lunch? Unfortunately it's hard to find resources for a truly healthy meal option. Things like climbing up the slide and staying at the top are probably banned for legit safety concerns, the same goes for public school. However, yelling isn't going to solve the issue of kids doing it anyways.

I agree that the discipline isn't meeting the developmental needs of the children. I personally do not believe in "time out." Consequences should serve as a learning experience, not a punishment. I have an entire method I fully believe in that uses other strategies that I won't get into on here :P

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Re: I've only started my job 10 days ago and I already want to quit - July 11th 2016, 08:07 PM

I think Arterial Rainbow touched on something important; it's not the first time I have heard about problematic practices at in-home day cares. I think that the ones run in "proper" buildings, not private homes, are run much better because they tend to be larger and have more over sight and they tend to have more than 1 or 2 people in power to make decisions and therefore practices tend to be more effective and lower down employees tend to have a bigger voice in more formalized settings.

I can't really think of a whole ton else to say right now that hasn't already been said.

I think a bit of the problem is that you're on a summer job, am I correct? So it means you have even less influence than you normally would as an entry level employee because they don't even expect you to stick around, they're probably just grateful to have an extra body for the summer when they probably have more kids because school is out, but I could be wrong; you could always ask the director if you could speak up about your concerns. If you really hate it and you don't really need the job, you can politely discuss your concerns if you're really worried about it but it might not go down well. Also, you have to be really careful about such conversations because it might hurt your reputation in finding other jobs locally because people talk. But if you really can't stand it, you can always start to look for a new job and, if successful, you can quit.

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Re: I've only started my job 10 days ago and I already want to quit - July 12th 2016, 01:31 PM

wow that sounds so intense, no wonder you want to leave.

I am doing my nurse training and there have been some placements which I have come away from within the first couple of days thinking how on earth can people be so inhumane? I understand the rationale for a lot of stuff i.e food and discipline etc but boy there is a line and so many people cross this line - I often think the power of their role gets to their heads and they think they can do whatever they like but that's not fair. It is wrong.

More to the point kids are to be encourages to explore be creative find who they are, develop their individual personalities. If a 2 year old teething toddler is in pain and needs comfort then as a care-giver in a professional setting that is what should be provided. I think its awful they won't let you do that! and that they think it is acceptable!!

I know its immensely difficult, but I learnt very quickly that if I didn't say anything I was almost equally as responsible as the adults who were essentially bullying vulnerable people in our care. so I spoke to my personal tutor who made me aware of the protocol for escalating concerns. I had to go back in and speak to the manager. I was so anxious it was unreal, I thought he would just laugh at me and say well you're just a student what do you know, but he actually took what I said and said he was already aware of what was going on, but the more people who told him about it the more he was able to build up a bigger case and have a formal investigation. It didn't come to that, because after I spoke to him he spoke to the whole team at a later date and made sure the few people on the team who were responsible for treating others bad, were within the group. and he just made them aware that he was always aware of what was going on, on the ward. and that if he continued to hear things about bad practice investigations would be taking place and people would be getting sacked. that shook everyone up and things soon changed. they NEVER knew it was me who complained. as a student in my first week of a new placement this was so difficult but it had to be done and I am so glad I did it. After that week everything turned around, I stayed on longer after the placement as I enjoyed it that much, the same manager asked me to apply for a job there, and my interview went well. They are now holding the post for me so I will be working there from September onwards once my nursing registration is complete.

Sorry for rambling on haha what I meant to say is, sometimes the only way to make it change is to raise a complaint. Is there a manager or someone you trust you could speak to? Okay fair enough every day care has their own rules which may be relevant in terms of health and safety but there is ways and means in which these rules are implemented, it sounds like the people on this team are just cruel and nasty. And its not fair for you to be working in that environment.

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Re: I've only started my job 10 days ago and I already want to quit - July 17th 2016, 08:34 PM

Thank you all of you for your replies, they were all helpful. Just wanted to update that last Monday I decided I wasn't going to work so I called in sick and took the day off. Then I came back to work the next day Tuesday, through the end of the week. That day I took off I also contacted the employment program via email and asked them if I can possibly switch to a different worksite if I am able to find an opening. I also told them that I was being asked to work more than 25 hours. While working more hours than the maximum I'm allowed didn't happen personally for me yet (first time there was 4th of july, second time I took of for one day) this week it likely will if I let it happen and I spoke to a co-worker who also is in this employment program and she said she has been working over 25 hours. I am thinking of calling the office tomorrow since it's been a week and no reply via email yet.

Another co-worker who is not part of the employment program told me that she's quitting after 2.5 years of working there. She said she hates this job, that the supervisor is a two-faced and warned me to be very careful around her and not to trust her.

That's something I sort of sensed but kept giving her benefit of the doubt. There was a birthday party on friday and in front of the parents she was so nice to all the kids but 5 minutes before the parents arrived she was yelling so hard at that one girl I mentioned before who goes in time out a lot.

Also @Arterial Rainbow, I know you said you didn't want to get into your strategy but is it possible you can explain it to me via PM? I am interested to hear it. But only if that's something you're okay with of course.
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