Updated: Jul 19
When I began working in the schools, a principal once told me I held a glamorous job. The stare that I gave him should have turned him to stone. He continued to say that I could leave my room and go to the restroom whenever I wanted, whereas other professionals had to wait. I conceded that I had more flexibility than classroom teachers, but glamorous…Come ON!
Later in my career, I had a student picking her nose in front of me while denying that she was picking her nose. I sent her to the restroom to wash her hands. She returned to tell me about the Zombies in the restroom. Zombies. Zombies. What do you say to that? Glamorous? No Way.
How do others see us?
My talented sister-in-law once remarked that she could teach any child in a one-on-one learning environment. At that moment, I realized that working with children in a small group setting gave my teaching strategies an advantage over the classroom teacher. Perhaps what I was observing in my little cubby of a room was not the reality of the classroom. Once I realized I had an advantage, I listened intently to the teacher’s concerns.
How our knowledge can help others
The Potty Problem.
Sounds glamorous? Not entirely.
There was a school year in which I became the wise old sage about potty etiquette for girls and boys. I held uncomfortable conversations about restroom rules. Learning the differences in rules men and women have regarding using a public restroom was fascinating.
However, our students may become prey to those with nefarious thoughts when a parent sends a child to a public restroom alone.
Since many of our students don’t know the restroom rules the restroom, when we understand, we can help assuage parents’ deepest worries. Our knowledge, as varied as it can be, can help others.
Our knowledge, a double-edged sword?
Early in my career, I was confident in my knowledge. However, I didn’t understand that not everyone in the building has the same level of understanding. Once I figured out how to eliminate jargon, I could help other professionals. And they valued my opinion!
When you have a great commodity, it can be challenging to recognize when and how to share that information. There may be times when you don’t know how to help. Others may expect you to delve into the situation and determine an outcome under less-than-ideal circumstances. People may become frustrated with your attempt or feel that you don’t care since you usually have a keen understanding of children’s challenges.
Be honest. Be clear. Let people know what you are able and willing to do, and give a timeline. Follow up with the timeline. Then you can feel that you have done your part.
Oh, and the Paperwork
When you carry a caseload of over 60 students, you must manage the organization or drown in the paperwork flow. If you finally get organized, waiting for the remaining people to complete their parts can be frustrating. You may need to take notice and give them even more time or more frequent reminders. Not everyone will be as up to speed as you are.
If paperwork procedures make you want to quit your job, please visit our blog on Taming the Paper Dragon.
Children, Kids, and Wooly Worms
Kids are a mess. They just are, but that makes our job fun and exciting. I had a four-year-old student pull a wooly worm out of his billfold. How many four-year-olds carry billfolds, anyway? How the caterpillar survived, I will never know. But I will remember the little boy for a long time.
Enjoy the chaos! Embrace it and Prepare for it!
Remember. You have a glamorous job!