Well, I haven’t been posting much since starting a new job in September. However, now that I’ve finished just about 2 months “on the job”, I do have a few reflections.
I know my outlook has changed: I’m more positive, more excited, more willing to take on challenges, and stepping out of my comfort zone (ever so slightly, admittedly). Having this opportunity to try something new, meet different people, and forcing me to face my fears has done me wonders. My professional mental health has improved greatly and I find myself looking forward to work every day.
Feeding off an improved attitude, I would like to take a moment to pause and take note of things that I enjoyed about my previous situation. I feel this is important, because I don’t want to remember being wholly unsatisfied and unappreciative of the circumstances. There is a chance I will return to the class, so I want to have those positive moments to remember.
One thing that I took for granted in my old building was knowing “roles”. I knew most of the staff in my building, their subject area, a little bit about them, and what they contributed to the school extra-curricularly or socially. If I needed to know who coached, collected, represented, organized, I pretty much knew who to turn to. I didn’t realize how comforting this is until I didn’t have that knowledge anymore. Being in a new building has me both not knowing the staff nor knowing whom to contact if I need information. Being a “go to” person does have some drawbacks, but also has a certain comfort level. Next time I’m faced with finding someone who does the certain “non teaching” task that makes a school run smoothly, I’m going to make sure I thank them!
Moving on to the now: things I’m learning while in my new role. How about, everything? In many ways, I think it’s important to almost seem like a newbie, because I’m open to all ideas, new and established, wacky and safe, standard and unconventional. I don’t say yes or no immediately, but I give way to thinking on it. New people do that. I’m open to suggestions, I listen to ideas, I will welcome supportive concerns. This doesn’t mean I’m pressured to say yes or do everything I hear, but at least I’m willing to consider options.
A downside has also surfaced (I can’t lie) in that I don’t always have the words, experience, and knowledge base for every question I’ve faced. I’m not as eloquent as I’d like to be, and sometimes that can come across as ill-informed or perhaps even uncaring. This is not the case. I’m learning with each day and accumulating the knowledge I need to succinctly address concerns students, parents, and staff have. I’m faced with the fact that some staff who have worked with my (new to me) students may know more about the past of the program and it’s successes, than I do. I’m reading, researching, connecting, but still have improvements to make. I’m on my way, but it’s early in my journey.
Overall, I’m enjoying my new job and students and staff have been very supportive of me. If I don’t have the answer immediately, I go find out and get the information to you. I meeting lots of great students and starting to establish relationships. I have worked with some amazing resource teachers that I embarrassingly didn’t know the extent to which they love their jobs and how hard they work!
I’m having fun and I’m sure in some way that is coming across when I meet new people and visit schools. I’m becoming an advocate for the enrichment program and finding a voice to support the students in my board that might need it. I’m more sensitive to the issues all students face, whether they fall under an umbrella of “special education” or not. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the school year has in store for me!