Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Allow Me To Wallow For A Minute, Please!
The good news is, I finally got a job.
The bad news is, it is not a teaching job. I got a job as a 1:1 aide for a 3rd grader with cerebral palsy.
It;s kind of been depressing for me because, all last year, whenever it was a holiday or special occasion, I'd be thinking, "Next year at this time I'll be doing this with my own class!" And I have this huge pile of classroom materials and things in my room, all these books I've collected, all in hopes of being a teacher. And I'm not going to be using them. Instead I'll be working in someone else's classroom, doing what I'm told to do and nothing more.
Okay, maybe I'm being a little dramatic and feeling sorry for myself... but in real life I've been forcing myself to be cheerful and look on the bright side all the time for the benefit of my family members and others. I'm too embarrassed to talk about my real feelings. So in this blog, I feel like I just need to vent a little and say, I feel like a failure. I really do. One reason I've been avoiding this blog is because it is so hard for me to read about all the teachers doing great things with their students, while I have nothing to contribute. It's kind of pushed me into depression. I mean it's been getting hard for me to wake up in the morning, and leave the house and things, which are symptoms of my getting a depressive episode.
Sorry, I really don't mean to be wallowing in my misery, but I really just have to get that off my chest. To my parents and everyone, on Facebook and everywhere else, I have been all, "Oh, I'll do what I have to do, at least as an aide I'll get more experience, etc, etc, etc." So this is really the only place, where I can hide behind my fake name and cartoon avatar, and admit that I feel awful.
The weird thing is, even though I started applying for aide jobs after labor day when it became clear that I wasn't going to have a teaching job right away and I started to run low on my savings, it took me this long to find a job. Part of this is probably because it was obvious I still do plan to get a teaching job, and schools want to hire aides who are going to be pretty stagnant so they won't have to be hiring and training a whole new person in six months. I had already decided that if I got an aide job I was going to stay with it for the entire school year, and not start looking for teaching jobs until the fall of 2013, because I don't think it would be fair to be a teacher's aide for a few months and then leave. But still I guess schools want someone who is going to be there as an aide for years. A lot of the aides I know in this area are older women, married, with grown children, who don't have any plans to move up on the career ladder. They are basically just chilling and saving up money so they can retire. So I actually got turned down for a whole lot of aide jobs, which just made me feel worse!
At one private therapeutic day school where I applied to be an aide, the principal (who showed up to the interview wearing sweats, a T-shirt, and a baseball hat with her ponytail sticking out the back) actually said to me several times, "How come you can't get a teaching job? I would think special ed teachers are in high demand right now. Why couldn't you get a job?" (Never mind that she works at a special education school that is not hiring any teachers!)
I applied at another therapeutic day school that works specifically with children with autism, and I really thought I was going to be hired there. They were hiring multiple people, and I have a ton of experience with children with autism. However, they sent me a rejection letter. I was actually a little relieved, because the one bad thing about them was that they were a year-round school, so you don't get summers off, and although I don't necessarily need the entire summer off, my family is planning a 2-week cabin/boat/woods vacation along with several other family members, including my brother who mI haven't seen in years and my cousin whom I've only seen once in the past ten years, and I really didn't want to miss that!
So anyway, last week I went on about five different interviews at various schools, but none of them called me back. And then, last Thursday, a principal called me and asked if I could come in for a second interview the very next day. The "interview" turned out really to be just a chance for me to meet the classroom teacher I'd be working with... I guess so she could see if she had a good feeling about me, and so she'd be able to give the principal her input before he made a final decision.
And this morning, I got the call, saying I was hired! I'm going on Thursday to fill out all the papers, and then I'll start next week.
By the way, did I mention I know nothing about cerebral palsy? Of all the jobs I applied to working with kids with disabilities I have experience with, the one I got hired for was for working with a disability I admitted I didn't have any experience with! They hinted that one of the reasons they wanted to hire me was because I said I don't have issues with helping kids with toileting. LOL!
So... everyone! If you've worked with children with cerebral palsy before, have any hints for me? I know all kids with cerebral palsy are not the same, just like all children with autism are not the same. This particular girl is cognitively high functioning, is able to speak, and from what I've heard has a great personality and everyone loves her. She's a third grader. So I imagine it will be like working with a typically developing third grader, and movement is the only thing atypical about her. But I don't know. I haven't met her yet. I'm a little nervous. What do you think???