Nancy Dessables is one of the Institute’s dedicated early childhood Career Advisors. Through her tireless work, Nancy has supported many 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 Nancy to share some of her reflections about her job with us.
What is your current role? In your own words, how would you describe the work you do?
I provide transformational career counseling and coaching for individuals who work in the field of early childhood or for those who wish to gain careers in the field of early childhood. The work generally involves two major components. First, there is a broader exploration of a person’s hopes, dreams and desires, which involves asking questions about a person’s career aspirations and goals. The work also encompasses helping individuals to learn about the range and variety of different careers in the field of early childhood. Some individuals, for example, are more drawn to work that involves direct contact with young children while others are more interested in the administrative aspects of early childhood. The coaching itself is a thoughtful process of asking questions, engaging the person in meaningful exercises, and helping early childhood professionals to set goals with clear action steps.
The second major component of the work is providing more technical kinds of information. Often members, for example, want information about training and certificate programs or they wish to learn how they can go about obtaining certification either as a teacher or as a paraprofessional. This side of the work is about being able to provide people with the accurate information. As counselors we provide an important service in just helping our clients to decipher some of the more technical aspects certification and licensure.
What motivated you to become a career advisor?
I’m actually a trained social worker, and I think my reason for going into this field was to (however small and humble) play a part in inspiring others to be the best they can be and to live the best lives they can. I have found coaching and advising to be an amazing gift, not only for the client, but for me as the coach. Just think, I spend my days helping others to tap into their passion. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
If you could learn a new skill today, what would it be?
I would be open to learning anything having to do with enhancing my comfort with technology. As I always advise my clients, it’s important that we all keep up with the latest technology. I would love to learn how to conduct webinars, and I am still trying to master Excel, but I have a long way to go with that. Technology is just a “given” in today’s world and I certainly don’t want to be left out in the cold. As professionals in the field of early childhood, it’s important that we all keep up.
What brings you joy in your work?
I have to say that I truly love my work. The things that bring me joy are counseling, coaching, and training adults. What brings me happiness is sharing in someone else’s growth and evolution. I also enjoy working with other staff members in a team who are also inspired by the work they do.
What do you want to be remembered for in your current role?
That I made a difference and added value to this important work.
If you had one piece of advice for a new early childhood teacher, what would it be?
Don’t limit what you do to what’s on your job description. Find ways to go above and beyond what’s expected so that you are always growing and stretching yourself and adding value to the organization. By doing this, your resume is always ahead of the curve and you will have negotiation leverage for your next employment opportunity.