This may all be pending on you.
On your mindset.
On your thoughts.
There is an underlying conversation in OSHC talking of the struggle to be recognised as professionals. How many times have you had to explain what you do to others? How many times do you hear back “oh I just thought the kids ran around” or “yeahhhhh, but what do you actually do?”.
But you know what? That’s okay. That’s okay others think that way. I know it’s not great always having to justify your work, but I like to see it in another way. I like to see it as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to educate others on what you do, on what OSHC is. I feel like OSHC educators almost need to walk around with a pitch deck or a flyer with some dot points. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got my little pitch deck down pat and different versions of it to suit the person I’m educating about OSHC (a simple one and one with more in depth information if they seem somewhat intrigued). Again, this doesn’t bother me. It used to, but it doesn’t anymore.
I’m going to say something and I don’t know how it will make you feel as an OSHC professional reading this but… and here it goes: others don’t have to know what we do.
My husband worked in IT for 10 years and I still have no idea what he did every day. He still had a professional career, I just have no clue and didn’t understand when it was explained to me. I feel this should be flipped and we need to look at OSHC in the same light. Just because others do not know what OSHC is or understand it, does not mean it is not a professional career.
Seeing OSHC as a professional career I feel is a mindset.
“What is a profession?
The word “profession” means different things to different people. But at its core, it’s meant to be an indicator of trust and expertise.”
This. We have this in bucketloads, how much trust is on OSHC educators? We look after other peoples most cared about, their children. Our expertise are undeniable, I’d like to see how many people you know who could manage 150 children at once, 15 staff, and the feeding of this many children as well as orchestrating the activities / program, and the clean up. That’s a lot. In any other setting, there is support. It’s like we run mini kids festivals daily, but with no medical team, no catering team, many with no cleaning team, etc – but we are expected to do it all.
‘What it means to be professional?
To most people, acting like a professional means working and behaving in such a way that others think of them as competent, reliable and respectful. Professionals are a credit not only to themselves, but also to others.’
With changing the mindset that OSHC is a professional career, it can help open up other ideas. Our journey is still only young, there are not many OSHC centres that existed before 1990. That’s only 30 years. It wasn’t really known about or operating when I was at school and I’m sure it was the same for many others. We are still building our ‘brand’ when it comes to OSHC and we can all contribute here. It will be easier as the next generation of educators and families coming to our centres will mostly be aware of OSHC and even attended themselves as a child, this shift is inevitable is how I see it. We can continue to fly that OSHC flag proudly, continue to be seen as professionals, act like professionals and most importantly feel like professionals.
We have made huge steps over the last 10 years thanks to OSHC National and State Peaks such as NOSHSA, Network and QCAN and we will continue to make those steps. That stigma that children just ‘run around’ may still be there for some, but if we all continue to help educate others and continue to transform the industry positively. We can think of those what do we want next items and we can aim to achieve them, whether that be more recognition within your community (facilities, space needed and acceptable for use, funds, restructuring and strengthening teams, etc) or on a grander scale of more recognition at a tertiary level (we can dream big?).
The aim of this blog piece is to motivate and encourage you to keep going, to keep making those daily positive changes you do, to keep positively impacting children’s lives. That when it comes down to it all is why we do what we do, why we venture on this professional career path, to bring quality care to children’s lives. To be that home away from home. To bring them that joy.
Now, go get motivated for the week. Let this be a reminder of how incredible our roles as OSHC educators and professionals are. How lucky we are.