Christina Gholson is one of the Institute’s dedicated early childhood career advisors as part of the Career Development Services Center. The Career Development Services Center provides free, comprehensive career development services to all current and aspiring early childhood professionals. Their services include academic planning and advisement, career and vocational assessment, resume preparation, interview and job search strategies, and teacher certification support, including test preparation and tutoring. The Center also sponsors career exploration events known as Dine and Discuss! As a career advisor, Christina provides essential support and guidance to individuals who seek to enter the field of early childhood education and care, as well early childhood professionals who wish to grow in their careers. We asked Christina to share some of her reflections about her work with us.
What is your current role? In your own words, how would you describe the work you do?
I am the Lead Advisor at the Career Development Services Center at the Institute. My role has many branches and touchpoints. The foundation of my work is connecting with current and aspiring educators in New York State to support their career goal mapping. Over the last two years, my focus has encompassed working on the Pre-K Teacher Preparation Project (PKTPP) in concert with the Mayor’s Office and Department of Education. As a result, I work closely with the scholars, coaches, test prep team, and partners of the PKTPP. Additionally, I build relationships with high performing New York City Early Education Centers (NYCEECs) in the five boroughs; offering professional development workshops and acting as a feeder for high quality teachers into their centers. My future work will involve presenting at the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children (NYSAEYC) Conference in April 2016 on Birth-2 Certification Trends in New York State.
What motivated you to become a career advisor?
When I was a Political Science major at Spelman College in the 90’s, I was offered a summer internship as a Teacher Leader and later Site Director for the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools. This experience prompted me to change my major to Early Childhood Development and earn my BA and subsequently a M.Ed. with a concentration in Educational Counseling. Now, I have 17 years of experience in the Direct Teaching and Education Administration field, which has been filled with many exciting pathways and adventures. I am excited to call The Institute my professional home now.
If you could learn a new skill today, what would it be?
Honestly, I am currently working on my creative abilities. I am learning how to knit and I am trying to reenter my practice as a yogi! In the education field, I am honing my skills as a presenter in higher education.
What brings you joy in your work?
It is extremely gratifying when a client secures the educational role they desire! The job search process is full of emotional and tactical effort by the client. When I can support and guide a client into a long term role that will allow them to grow professionally and witness their joy, I get an immediate boost! On a larger scale, when there are competent and stable teachers in the educational setting, our children have an increased opportunity to obtain their academic objectives and goals. There are many stakeholders. Children are our neediest stakeholders and deserve high quality educators to propel our economy and the greater good.
What do you want to be remembered for in your current role?
I would like to be remembered for my fellowship and ideas as a colleague. With my clients, I would like to be remembered for my compassion, zeal, encouragement, and continued effort.
If you had one piece of advice for a new preschool teacher, what would it be?
Listen to your students. They will guide your lessons, broaden your perspectives, and guide you towards becoming a master teacher. A master teacher remembers to be a student. I would add that it is imperative to create healthy boundaries to avoid burnout and stay rejuvenated in the field.
For more information about the Career Development Services Center, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (718) 254-7735