Should I even be going “there”?

Earlier this year I took on some part time work as a Teacher Aide in my son’s elementary school.

This in itself will be the subject of a number of posts – but to start with, I am “anonymously” sharing my concerns for a school of so much potential & such a supportive community…. and from my experience potentially on the cusp of great growth….I hope.

I “returned” to work (not my original profession strictly speaking) for a number of reasons… Once upon a time, I was a High School teacher – a job I loved, felt passionate about, gained great professional & personal reward from. I have absolutely felt the loss of teaching in my life.

For a long time, it was like I’d lost a part of myself – a huge component of my identity.

I also felt like some extra cash would not go astray given we’ve had no income for a considerable period as we “self-fund” our start-up (sounds sooooo much more glamorous than it is by the way).

In addition to this, the school was in need of a teaching assistant fast & I thought that trying this for the final 3 months of the school year was a great means of seeing how I felt about returning to work; seeing how we all juggled it (& right there you have the topic of my next post!)

Until now I’ve not worked due to either having small children home full time; having Kevin traveling for work almost full time & then of course having no documentation to allow me to work. Now I have one kiddo in elementary; one in pre-school 3 days; a husband in the same country AND more flexible & a green card.

Perfect right?

Not at all.

Apparently, being assistant teacher in a Kindergarten class is NOTHING like being a High School History teacher. Go figure.

I have to admit, I loved the feeling of space & “self” I gained just being at work itself.

I LOVED the teachers I assisted & I quickly loved the kids.

I loved the job in itself & have been enlightened to the incredible load both elementary teachers AND TA’s carry as well as the strengths, skills & most of all, compassion & kindness they offer to our children.

I didn’t love however, the way I felt like a second class staff member by being an assistant rather than a teacher.

I didn’t love the way every minute of my time was clocked & felt no sense of professional independence nor respect.

I didn’t love how this environment meant I was struggling to find a means of contributing skills I’ve acquired through both working & parenting. I felt I could offer so much more yet the political atmosphere within the school District was so suffocating & controlling it didn’t encourage growth, a sense of autonomy or any means of opportunity to contribute in any meaningful way.

While my direct peers, the teachers & support staff were absolutely phenomenal people – so dedicated, hard working, intrinsically motivated & also supportive of my newbie status….The overall experience was both frustrating & in truth quite degrading.

Had I not taught in a past life, had I not spent a brief period as a Head of Department; had I not been mentored, encouraged to speak up, to try new initiatives, to take risks, to lead as well as be led, to be a part of something bigger than myself & to be proud of what I was achieving & supported in my own visions…. would I still have felt frustrated & degraded?

Probably.

But this got me thinking….

Did these feelings really stem from the school/District or from me?

Have I spent too long in the CEO role at home? Spent too long making most of the decisions, most of the mistakes & hopefully then most of the positive changes?

And am I, as a result, overly critical of a school culture & system of which I really know nothing – I mean I was only privy to the tiniest sliver of the place, who am I to judge?

Did I find the role challenging because now in my late 30’s, I’m arrogant enough to think I’ve learnt enough that I can add value to a place full of people with more experience?

I would like to say that my anxiety over the direction of this school is all about them & the result of my “insider’s” experience… but perhaps it is a lot more about me & my frustration at my own lack of professional development these past years. Fear & frustration that perhaps without having worked since the kids, I cannot actually add value & they do actually know what they’re doing?

Why is the way they run the school & treat their staff necessarily a reflection of the quality of education?

In my mind the two go hand in hand – it is a reflective value system that I would like to see in every crevice of the school….

But perhaps this is wishful thinking? Too optimistic or unrealistic? Perhaps I am too quick to judge?

This year ahead sees great change in the school & I have already been impressed with the dynamics of the new leadership, some significant changes implemented ….so, I very much hope that we see this potential grow..& filter down.

For the time being I’ve decided the experience has shown me a number of things:

  • I want to be more involved on the parental side. I have no right to sit back & criticize when I could easily become more involved & be supportive rather than a destructive device.
  • Sometimes (yes, only sometimes, let’s not get too carried away) it’s not actually all about me & I need to spend time reflecting on where my judgements come from – are they the result of my issues or the actual situations.
  • And then, sometimes it really isn’t me – organizations, institutions, leadership, management – whomever it is, well, they just need to get it together. Lead up.

Is this case, time will tell.

 

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Lila B Design

the not-so-average life of my average nuclear family

Terrain Bulletin

the not-so-average life of my average nuclear family

Garden Eats

organic lifestyle for modern living

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

Nicole Knepper M.A., LCPC

Mental Health Counseling, Consulting, and Case Management

All Things Thrifty

the not-so-average life of my average nuclear family

Bridie Hall at Home

the not-so-average life of my average nuclear family

Jules in Cambodia

the not-so-average life of my average nuclear family

%d bloggers like this: