Claudia Talambayan, a preschool teacher at the Inspire International Preschool in Phoenix, was selected by her peers to receive AzAEYC’s inaugural Outstanding Educator Award.
She talks about the pure joy of teaching, compensation challenges within the profession, and the personal rewards of witnessing transformative growth in her young students.
Why did you enter the field?
Being in the early childhood education is very rewarding! I always find myself being a part of my students’ families lives as we become one community of learners: walking hand in hand to create something beautiful and meaningful together. It is a privilege to work with children at the start of their educational journey to help them understand and attain the most basic and foundational academic, social, and emotional skills that they need when they grow older.
What is your current role in the field?
I am currently the Preschool Development Grant Classroom Teacher at Inspire International Preschool. In addition, I am also the Curriculum Coordinator for Project Base Learning and Presentations of Learning. It is my everyday joy to see children play, work, and thrive in a safe, respectful, and nourishing learning environment!
Talk about the work you do in regards to the reward category.
Although I have always been very enthusiastic about my work with children and families as an early childhood educator, “The Outstanding Educator Award,” made me even more motivated and inspired to take my work to the next level and be even more purposeful in my work with kids. The award validated the high quality of teaching and engagement that I deliver to every child in my classroom.
The time, energy, effort and sacrifices, that I gave and shared with children and families year after year for more than 20 years, by the grace of God were recognized by a distinguished organization, AzAEYC. This is truly a great honor! For this reason, I am truly encouraged and energized to be an Early Childhood Educator ambassador with the goal of influencing everyone who work with young children to remember that an exceptional early childhood experience is key to a child’s successful future.
What’s the biggest challenge?
I wish that every parent and/or family, as well as the community will take the first step to their child’s preschool education seriously. There is a lot of time, love, patience, dedication, and care that go into the work of early childhood teaching. This is a vocation and a profession! The biggest challenge is the salary being commensurate to all the work, time and effort which go beyond the classrooms and the playground. I hope they do something about it immediately!
What is satisfying to you about this work?
It is always satisfying to see the wonderful transformation and growth in my preschoolers from the time they walked into my classroom to the moment they stepped up and marched on the stage during our “Moving Up Ceremony”! They touch my life and I become a part of theirs. I feel so accomplished! At the end of every school year, I feel confident and grateful that I have helped a group of families to help build a strong foundation for the fulfillment of their dreams for their young children.
Any inspiring words for others in our profession?
To continue to have a strong society, we need to give our loving support in building a strong foundation to our early childhood learners. It goes a long way! Generation after generation, the good works that great teachers give and do today will return to us and others a hundred fold in the future.
AzAEYC honors excellence in the early childhood field. The Outstanding Educator or Administrator award recognizes an exceptional individual nominated by their peers who strives to exceed expectations in supporting children, families, and the early childhood workforce.