Teacher Appreciation Week: Rebecca Justice, Director of Education at Parker-Chase Preschools
Rebecca Justice is the Director of Education at our Parker-Chase Preschools in Georgia. She began her career in the 2 and 3-year-old classroom and worked in various roles throughout the school until being promoted to Director of Education at Parker-Chase Preschool in 2022. She possesses a wealth of experience from having worked in so many different roles and knows the joys and challenges of teaching early childhood education.
What are some of your favorite things about teaching?
Just watching the growth of children from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, and establishing that partnership with the families to best support them. It’s a relationship that evolves into success for the children. Also, I really love seeing the children years later and seeing just how foundational I was in participating in their education to get to where they are today.
Seeing their success is awesome. Two of my first students that I taught when they were two and a half years old are now in middle school and they both own their own baking business.
Also from that same class, one of my students is an actress now who has been on various Netflix shows and other projects. I also have three other students that are avid swimmers that are on track for Olympic trials. So many of my students are just a lot of really cool stuff!
What is some advice that you would give to somebody who’s just about to start a teaching career?
I think anyone who’s entering into early education needs to go in with a fully open mind and be receptive to changes in education because what you may have learned in school may be completely different a year from now.
I think second to that, for advice for anyone who’s entering education, it’s okay for you to go into education and find out that it’s not something that is right for you, I think there’s a lot of pressure on teachers to go through the educational process, get certified, and then they enter the field only to find out that it’s a little bit more than what they had imagined. But it’s okay if you can’t do it. There are other avenues in education besides just teaching in the classroom.
What advice would you give teachers who are interested in taking on leadership roles?
First and foremost, you have to start building relationships with your families. You need to network with your families to find out what they do in the community and find a way to bring that into your classroom.
Education is widespread. It begins with community. First by building relationships with your families and utilizing them as a resource to enhance your learning environment. What is their career and/or hobby, and how can you partner with them to bring into the classroom? Take time to connect to other educators across your program and the company; learn about their teaching philosophy and approaches to teaching. Take time to get to know people in positions you aspire to be in; cultivate those leadership qualities you are inspired by within your classroom.
Establishing those community relationships will demonstrate your passion for education and others who notice will advocate for you in your career goals.
Also, you have to demonstrate the ability to be flexible and be a team player. You have to have a growth mindset and not look at everything as falling down on you and being negative about it, but find the positive in it and work towards that positive goal. Because if you do that, naturally, you’re going to progress forward in your career and into a leadership position.
How would you celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week?
I have found the most impactful demonstration of appreciation is an authentic, personal, handwritten note of gratitude. Taking time to notice who educators are outside of their professional title and giving a gift that emphasizes that aspect of who they are as an individual.