To The Early Childhood Educators: You’re So Much More Than ‘Essential’

Last updated: 09-08-2020

Read original article here

To The Early Childhood Educators: You’re So Much More Than ‘Essential’

To The Early Childhood Educators: You’re So Much More Than ‘Essential’
Read full article
September 3, 2020, 10:00 PM
·4 mins read
To the ones who love and have loved my children (and your children too),
“Essential workers” is what they call you now. In the spring of this year, the world shut down, but you kept going. And suddenly the world seemed to finally notice the “essential”-ness of you. Articles were written about the overlooked work of an early childhood educator . People began posting about how little support you receive, and the sick irony of it all. Suddenly the world seemed to notice you. Like it’s some sort of revelation. Like you haven’t been essential all along. It irritated me. “How are people just now getting it?” I thought.
And then I had my own realization. I didn’t get it either.
Until I had children, I had no clue how “essential” you were. Had this pandemic happened ten years ago, I would have been one of them. One of the people whose eyes were suddenly opened. I may have had some vague, surface knowledge of the importance of those first years of life, but I didn’t really understand. Nor did I really care to. I didn’t need to know. Or at least that’s what I thought.
I should have cared. We all should. I know that now. The statistics around the effects of quality early childhood education on our society as a whole are staggering. This isn’t just a parenting issue. It’s an everyone issue.
Obviously, you’re essential.
The truth is, you are more than essential. You are not just “essential workers.” You are not just educators either. You are life-changers, people-shapers, future-influencers. These years are the shaping years. This is when little brains are growing and developing and forming. This is when the molding takes place, and you are in the thick of it. They may not remember you when they’re twenty (they probably will though), but who they are has more to do with you than they will ever know. Their moments with you, under your care, your guidance, have shaped who they will become.
FatCamera/Getty
You do it all. You sing, you read, you sit on the floor and play. You change diapers, you feed, you clean messy little hands. You tie shoes, you kiss boo boos, you brush hair, you pat sleepy backs. There are letters of the week and numbers of the day and messy crafts and outdoor play. You clean up messes and clean them again and teach them to help and to “do-it-yourself.” You make funny faces and sing silly songs. Over and over and over again. You wear funny outfits and put things on your head. You light up when you see them, and it nurtures their soul. You listen to them and laugh with them and you make them feel seen.
Story continues
These are the things. The everyday things. These are the things that will shape who they are.
And now you do more. You take temperatures. You look for symptoms. You screen. You worry. Even more than before. You risk your own health so that my child can be cared for. You wash, and wash, and wash some more. You cover your face. And yet they still see you. Still, they know. They see it in your eyes.
I hand you my child. The love of my life. I trust you with this, my most precious little soul. And then I come to see that she trusts you too. With you, she is loved. She is safe. She is respected. You teach her and guide her. You hold her hand and hug her tight when I can’t.
I am her home. But so are you.
A gift for which you cannot aptly be thanked.
The value of your work can’t be described with “essential.” No, it’s much more than that. But until I can find the right words to express it, I’ll keep preaching about the essential, and keep thanking my lucky stars that you chose this line of work even before it was touted as so.
From myself and every grateful parent, thank you.
No lockers, lunch trays or high fives: How school looks different amid the pandemic
5.
Found: The Most Essential Home Deals Worth Shopping This Weekend
In previous normal times (whoever remembers what those looked like), come Labor Day Weekend we'd shift our focus to enviable swimsuits, oversized sun hats, and raffia tote bags worthy of a social media highlight. We'd spend time grilling, gathering, getting sunburnt, and maybe even (if lucky) taking boat rides. But with social distancing still underway for the foreseeable future, many of us are pivoting to sale hunting for home buys that will make our new virtual office spaces as comfy as possible for the stay-at-home season ahead. LDW is days away and, like any shopping enthusiasts, our minds (along with our wallets) are revved and ready to cart the best deals. Since finding the most exciting virtual scores is our main objective here, we went ahead and dug up the cream-of-the-crop discounts on everything from top bedding to furniture, decor, and more. We found $200-off bestselling mattresses, price-cut Dysons, and hand-poured candles with nostalgia-infused scents, just to name a few. Spending copious amounts of time in our houses and apartments has reminded us how important it is to truly feel at home — so scroll on the nab the worthwhile essentials while they're on sale. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Lash Serums, K-Beauty, & 23 More LDW Beauty SalesScore $150 Off Dyson's Best-Selling VacuumSave A Few Winks With These 11 Mattress Sales
PopSugar
How to Make Essential Oil Bath Bombs to Knock Out Your Next Headache
I get headaches a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. I've tried all kinds of remedies, including homeopathic ones. I've also turned to essential oils a few times, whether by diffusing them in my bedroom or applying them directly onto my feet or wrists. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, but I see no harm in trying them out. There are several essential oils you can use for headaches, but lately, I've been using lavender and frankincense. After finding this blog post from Girl Loves Glam about frankincense, I gave it a try, and I like the smell and feel of it when combined with lavender essential oil. I used her instructions to make my own bath bombs and currently have them stacked in my bathroom to have on hand for all the headaches I will inevitably get in the near future. If you want to try making bath bombs yourself, keep reading to see the step-by-step instructions, and remember, you can use any essential oils you want for this, including essential oils that serve different purposes. Related: If You're Stressed Out, These Are the Essential Oils That Can Help You Feel Calmer
Why don't you like this ad?
It is offensive to me
It is not relevant to me
I keep seeing this
Powerful productivity apps that help make life more creative, organized, and secure
Glamour
Summer, we hardly knew you—but we already miss you.
Glamour
For in-person or hybrid learning.Originally Appeared on Glamour
GQ
Why don't you like this ad?
It is offensive to me
It is not relevant to me
I keep seeing this
Research For The Best Drone. Find The Best Deals now.
WWD
Guys used to wearing sweatpants to work from home will seek sophisticated yet comfortable attire for the office.
Best Products
Don't overlook this essential home-office element.From Best Products
Fatherly
Why don't you like this ad?
It is offensive to me
It is not relevant to me
I keep seeing this
Mitigate Risk & Improve Employee Productivity With Identity & Access Management. LastPass is the One-Stop Shop for Business Security.
Good Housekeeping
It can be tedious, but playing pretend offers so many important benefits for young children.
Scary Mommy
In the early stages of a being a new mom, I questioned if having a career would impact the relationship with my child. Could I do both and be happy?
Refinery29
Exclusive Report: Chipotle Pays $46,220 In Pregnancy Discrimination Suit
2020 has, among many other things, been a case study in the infuriating ways that companies behave badly. There’s been story after story on corporations treating essential workers poorly (as if they’re not essential) during COVID-19, and with Black Lives Matter protests galvanizing the nation, workers in various industries have been coming forward about the racism they’ve faced, including at Refinery29.Now, Refinery29 can exclusively report that Chipotle is paying $46,220 in damages, penalties, and attorney’s fees for allegedly discriminating against a pregnant employee in one of its New York City locations. The employee, a Chipotle line cook, filed an official complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) in February 2016 after she was denied a request to be excused from lifting heavy objects. “Chipotle, I think like a lot of fast food restaurants, kind of requires everyone to do everything,” says Kyle Rapiñan, an attorney with the NYCCHR’s Law Enforcement Bureau who was involved in the case. “[The issue] eventually got up to the district manager that oversees multiple Chipotle stores,” they say.Though the complaint was filed in 2016, a conciliation agreement was only reached this July, speaking to how long it can take for a discrimination case to be thoroughly investigated — and the sheer number of cases there are. “We interviewed a lot of people, we looked at [Chipotle’s] policies extensively over multiple years,” says Rapiñan. “It was a lengthy case, but ultimately the affirmative relief here impacts all the Chipotles citywide. And it also sends a strong message to employers that as they bring people back after COVID-19, if one of their workers is pregnant, they need to engage in cooperative dialogue and make sure that the worker can perform their job to the best of their ability.” The award includes $11,220 in backpay and $15,000 for emotional distress to the employee.“At Chipotle, the health and safety of our employees and guests is our top priority. We have a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind,” says Laurie Schalow, chief corporate affairs and food safety officer, in a statement to Refinery29. “Chipotle is committed to creating a safe and engaging work environment and to complying with all laws, rules, and regulations pertinent to our business.”“Chipotle’s engaged and hard-working employees are what makes us great, and we encourage our employees to contact us immediately, including through an anonymous 800 number, with any concerns so we can investigate and respond quickly to make things right,” the statement continues.Pregnancy discrimination at work has been illegal under federal law since 1978, but that certainly hasn’t eradicated it. The law has little power when there isn’t more muscle behind enforcement. That muscle is exactly what the NYCCHR represents. It also helped, in this case, that NYC has more comprehensive pregnancy discrimination laws than many other areas of the country. “New York City law is one of the most robust, and the commissioner is taking a strong look at making sure that this law is enforced,” says Rapiñan. In NYC, for example, employers are required to enter into what’s called a “cooperative dialogue” when a pregnant employee asks for an accommodation, in which they have a conversation to figure out what that employee needs — that’s not required federally, or in many other local jurisdictions. And when an employee asks for an accommodation, employers have to produce a written record of what accommodation they provided, or why they didn’t.Often, pregnancy discrimination has devastating consequences for employees. Being awarded damages in court is important, of course, but it can’t reverse the harm that those who have been discriminated against faced. Because pregnancy discrimination is particularly time-sensitive, the NYCCHR has a mechanism in place to try to help workers in the immediate. “We have this process called early intervention,” says Rapiñan, explaining that if a worker calls the NYCCHR to complain, the commission will in turn call their employer to remind them of the law and their obligation, and put them on notice — basically, the NYCCHR is watching.The Chipotle case in particular hinged on the fact that the restaurant chain required its pregnant employee to bring in a doctor’s note before they would excuse her from heavy lifting — but under NYC law, requiring a doctor’s note for a simple ask is considered an undue burden, and it’s illegal. The dispute didn’t end up making it to court; Chipotle instead entered a conciliation agreement with the employee and NYCCHR.The case effected policy change for all Chipotle locations in NYC, including mandating all their general managers to be trained for pregnancy discrimination. “We’re also monitoring about 15 of their stores for a year to make sure that they accommodate people,” Rapiñan says. “All NYC employees will receive an addendum to their standardized Chipotle handbook that specifically details what rights they have in NYC that they may not have elsewhere.”The NYCCHR focuses a lot on education because it’s the key to preventing employers from violating the law and the key to empowering employees. “We find it’s incredibly common that both the store-level managers and the employees are unaware of their entitlement to accommodation,” says Katherine Greenberg, the assistant commissioner in the NYCCR’s Law Enforcement Bureau. “I see this most critically with the right to accommodation for people who are experiencing domestic violence or stalking or have been assaulted,” she says. “There’s almost no understanding on the ground that people have rights, and that managers have obligations to accommodate people who have needs related to those things.”“There are so many people who experience discrimination who never come forward,” says Greenberg. “We see a lot of instances where pregnant people need something relatively small and are dismissed out of hand or told to go on leave early or just sort of shoved out of the workplace.” Though pregnancy discrimination exists everywhere, Greenberg says it’s especially rampant in the foodservice industry. “There’s a lot of lifting and standing and bending involved in that work,” she says. Employers often resist making even small accommodations for these physical burdens, like allowing an employee to sit, eat at their desk, go on more frequent bathroom breaks. “[They say] ‘I can’t, there’s nothing special about you. You have to do what everyone else does.’ And that’s totally antithetical to the notion of an accommodation, but we see that a lot,” says Greenberg.The pandemic has put into even sharper focus how much dismissiveness employers have for certain groups of workers, including pregnant workers. Over 50 million people lost their jobs over the last six months, but we can’t pretend it’s been a random sample of 50 million Americans. People of color (especially women), women with children, and people with disabilities were often laid off first.With COVID-19, many companies have instituted sweeping work-from-home policies — an accommodation that’s often denied to workers who are pregnant, have children, or have disabilities. “We’ve been seeing folks coming to us with pregnancy-related and disability-related [cases], where for the first two or three weeks of March, they were saying ‘Help, I need an accommodation, you’re endangering my life.’ Then finally the employer said ‘Fine, we’re all shutting down. And you, by the way, you’re laid off,'” says Greenberg.How can federal pregnancy discrimination law learn from NYC’s? For one, in NYC the discrimination law must be followed by any employer with four employees or more. “The minimum for federal law is 15,” says Greenberg. “[There are] so many employers out there who aren’t covered at all, who can just willfully discriminate against people if there’s no local law with a lower employee minimum.”She also says employers making their best attempt to fulfill accommodations requested by pregnant workers isn’t required under federal law. And in NYC, employers have to engage in cooperative dialogue — if they don’t try to, that in itself breaks the law. The federal law equivalent, called “interactive process,” isn’t mandated. Both Rapiñan and Greenberg say they can’t overstate how important cooperative dialogue is in combating pregnancy discrimination at work. “That goes so far — just requiring people to have the conversation,” says Greenberg.There’s room for improvement in NYC discrimination law too, of course. Rapiñan says childcare is one area where that’s true. While it’s illegal for people with children to be treated differently than people without children, the law doesn’t extend much beyond that. “Some people think that they can get a reasonable accommodation for childcare, and under our law right now that is not there,” Rapiñan says. It’s an especially glaring omission given the gigantic childcare crisis we’re facing during COVID-19. Whether the pandemic will finally fast-track the sea change we need in affordable, accessible childcare remains to be seen.Workplace discrimination is particularly frightening and damaging right now, when jobs are scarce and Americans are struggling to afford food and rent. “People need income,” Greenberg says. It sounds obvious, she knows, but too often, employers act like it isn’t. “I used to represent low-income workers and cases, including many pregnancy discrimination cases. And I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken to who were sent home or fired because they were pregnant — either because they were asking for an accommodation, or because the employer said to them, ‘I’m giving you what you want, which is to be safe and rest and be with your baby.'”“It’s hard to communicate how devastating that is to somebody who is so excited about their pregnancy,” she continues. “Now all of their emotional energy goes into fear and anxiety about losing their home, losing their stability — the whole future that they were envisioning for themselves and their child.”“I wish that more people who haven’t had a pregnant worker in their lives understood how much pregnant people need to work, when they need to work,” says Greenberg. “Oftentimes, what other people think might be best for a pregnant worker is really not what’s best for a pregnant worker. I just wish they would take that lens of what it means to be a low-wage working person who is pregnant.”Rapiñan hopes that more pregnant workers, especially those that live in NYC, become aware that they’re protected under the law. “I think there’s a lot of fear — rightfully so in some ways because retaliation is rampant — but people are covered under our law,” they say. “And the commission takes this very seriously, and we will engage in a robust investigation.”“I want them to follow the law,” agrees Greenberg. “We’re going to come after them if they don’t.”Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?SoulCycle Sued For Pregnancy DiscriminationVirginia Bans Natural Hair DiscriminationNursing Home Deaths Reveal A Much Bigger Problem
Why don't you like this ad?
It is offensive to me
It is not relevant to me
I keep seeing this


Read the rest of this article here