Wednesday, October 9, 2013

useful and flexible, that's me

I'm working!-- no, I've always been working-- I'm employed again and that is why I've been a bit scarce around here.

The Paid Job didn't extend into a second year because I wanted to work fewer days than they wanted me. I can squeeze in two, maybe three days away from home but more than that and our homelife would suffer. Last (school) year I stayed home and as the year went on I added enough PTA/school activities to be busy and useful. Sometimes too busy.

I kept my ear to the ground and one day a lead led to where I am now. I'm at a very nearby church preschool in a make-up-the-job-as-we-go position serving, basically, as the whole special education department. The plan is for me to help teachers identify kids and to make adaptations for them-- both for the child and the teacher.

I'm trying to be useful and flexible. Useful because they can barely afford me. I asked for a salary they agree that I deserve but that they're struggling to give me. It makes me feel concerned that I need to prove my worth.  Flexible because we're making this up.

To some parents I'm a gift- "wow! extra help for my kid for the same price!" But for others, I think I'm a threat- "Is she in the room because of my kid? There's nothing wrong with my kid!"  And since these aren't legally defined special needs kids, we've got to be careful.

I'd assume in a school of about 150 that a dozen or so will have some type of special need. Some may grow out of it and never have an official diagnosis, but some will begin to show more learning problems as they go. I'm hoping to identify both types of children. In my opinion, the diagnosis is really unnecessary unless the parent is using it to receive public services. The adaptations used to teach the child matter much more. If I can provide those now, before any diagnosis is ever acquired, I'm giving them a head start.

So, its been fun, but tiring. Just leaning over tables which are slightly too low to serve as comfortable adult chairs makes my back tired. (A doctor once told me to teach taller kids if I didn't want back pain.) Then there's trying to anticipate when darling little Joey will decide to pick dirt up off the floor and carefully attempt to insert it into someone's eye. Yes, today. Truly no dull moments in this one particular classroom. It feels like a game of Whack-a-Mole. The teachers are extremely competent, but there are multiple moles in the same class.

I originally thought that going back to work at The Paid Job would be great for blog fodder but I've decided that the chance of falling into a legal hole is too high. Even with names changed to protect the innocent moles, I'm uncomfortable. But yeah, they are funny.


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