Saturday, October 1, 2016
Can A Two Day Job Be A Big Deal?
My Facebook Feed is now a confusing mixture of writer websites and preschool education websites. The same thing has happened to my email inbox. I have never thought of myself as an obsessed person regarding any certain subject, but it does appear to be a trait that is showing up.
When I told my sister that I was starting a job as a preschool teacher after leaving preschool work 30 years ago, she said that it will be interesting to watch because I always do things "all the way." This surprised me. My mom was the one in the family who went crazy for certain things and did it with all her might. So once again I am seeing her in myself...an odd feeling still.
This new "little" job has drastically changed my life. In a very good way. I teach 12 adorable two-year-olds along with a co-teacher. Our school only meets two days a week from 9am to 2pm. Sounds like a LITTLE job huh?
It is not a little job at all.
Last night I was trying to describe my work days to my husband. I used the word "fragile" to explain the atmosphere in our classroom at all times. These little people have never been to school before, some have never been in a church nursery or daycare. Mommy dresses them in the morning, fills a backpack with extra clothes and a yummy lunch and then they drive to school and MOMMY LEAVES THEM THERE!
The first 30 minutes in class is most often very loud. Some of the munchkins arrive, wave good-bye happily and find a toy to play with until the first Circle Time. BUT a few are always SHOCKED that Mom or Dad would walk away without them and they cry and cry. The brave ones begin to watch the criers and you can see their little brains working on the question; Why are they crying? Maybe I should be crying. Maybe this place is not a fun as I think it is. The teacher says that Mommy will be back for us after nap time, but is that true or not?
We have learned how to help the fearful ones and every day is getting better. They are getting braver and as my partner teacher says, "They are learning US while we are learning them." It is not a little job because we are responsible for 12 human being's very first introduction to school and education. We might be setting the tone for the rest of their lives as they go in and out of classrooms for the next 13 or 14 years. (Hopefully the crying will stop somewhere along the line.)
The job is not a little one because once you are in that room with 12 wiggly, giggly, tearful kids, you have to be at least one step ahead of them at all times or chaos erupts. PREPARATION is survival! Ha! Just getting them from the classroom to the playground is like herding cats. Even while singing "Choo-choo Train" and helping them hold on to a long purple ribbon to keep them in "line." "Too fast, too slow, oops she's tangled up her legs, hey the train is leaving you!"
Story Time involves legs in the air, wandering kids, random information about the dog next door to their house and snotty noses rubbing against your knees. So far Music Time looks like two crazy ladies dancing and singing with all their might while 24 eyes stare in fascination. When one actually begins to join and clap along we get so excited that we probably scare them into stunned silence.
So this "little job" requires lots of prep time at home. Writing Lesson Plans, getting library books to read, practicing crafts and cutting out construction paper by the truckload, watching videos of songs to teach them, trying to get this old brain to memorize poems and cute ways to grab their attention.
Once school started my phone began pinging at all hours. Hubs asked what in the world was happening! The other teachers are all amazing new friends of mine now and we are constantly sharing ideas for the classrooms and helping one another out.
The writer-life was quiet and alone. I found myself circling around my house wishing to be anywhere else. I love to write and will always be a writer, but a writer needs a life to write about. I desperately longed to get out and be with people here in my new home of Texas.
I feel like a different person. The new friendships are a direct answer to the prayer of my heart. I have a new purpose and it has awoken a fun creativity in me. The added income is small but it is mine and that is a lovely thing. Truthfully, I would do this job for free, but don't tell my Director that, OK? (Author update: Actually this job is MUCH harder than I expected and I am earning every penny I make!) Still love it though!
The little 2 day a week job is not what I expected at this point in life. I've sold shoes, taught preschool, directed children's churches, co-pastored churches, helped create and lead an adult Bible School, written countless articles and personal blog posts and business blog posts, authored a book and now I am back to the preschool classroom. It's a big deal and huge answer to a prayer that I never even prayed.
God put me in this busy little classroom with 12 extremely busy tiny humans. I will love on them, wipe their noses, set up messy art projects and just be a safe and accepting place for them two days a week from 9am to 2pm.
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