For 8 years, I taught 3rd, 4th and 2nd grades. Second grade was my calling and my passion. I had finally found that grade level that I absolutely loved. I also learned that I had a strong passion for students that struggled as well. After lots of prayer and open doors, I was asked to move into an intervention position serving Kindergarten through 3rd graders. Now, after two years, in two different positions, I have the positive and negative I would like to share with you.
Busy in a Different Way – True, I’m not as busy as a traditional classroom teacher in the ways that they are working, but my work is still just as important and stressful. Typically, when you are outside of the classroom, you take on additional responsibilities that classroom teachers don’t have and shouldn’t have. It doesn’t mean my job is any less important than yours is. When we all respect each other’s positions, we can work together as a better community. Time for a true story! My first year out of the traditional classroom, I had a pull out block of 16 kindergarten students (yep…take that small groups). I seriously had a teacher call down to my room and ask me to leave my group to come and watch her kids so she could go to the bathroom. I was like….
Hard to really connect and build friendships. When you work with a grade level, you are forced to like each other (or at least pretend). BUT at least you have a group that you can call yours and know they have your back. When you are not with a group, it is hard to find friendships with others. Sure, I have lots of friends, but it isn’t the same as when you work with a core group. You don’t have anyone to really bounce ideas off of or just be there to listen when you need to vent. It’s hard, because when no one really knows what it is like in your position they look at you like…
Your kids aren’t your kids. My kids are only mine for an hour or less. I am a very selfish person. I admit it. I want my kids and I want my kids to be the BEST. I don’t necessarily want the ownership for the growth that they are making, but I want to be a part of it. I don’t want to fight over students, but they are just as much mine as they are yours, or at least I want them to be.
Now for the positive. I promise, the positive always outweighs the negative!
Get to know more teachers, faculty and staff. I mentioned a negative is not getting to have close friendships with a core group or grade level, but as a positive spin off, I have been able to work and meet a ton of fabulous teachers. I am not only working at one school this year, but three. I have been able to meet teachers from other schools that I didn’t even know. I love getting to know their personalities and teaching styles. I am learning just as much from them as they are (hopefully) learning from me. It is the stories behind the lessons and the care behind the eyes of the data, that inspire me as a teacher and professional.
Impact way more than just a classroom. Being in a position of serving 100+ students a day gives you a superpower! You have the ability to impact many lives and can give students the attention they need in small group. Kids love pull out and you can really get to know them better than their classroom teacher can with such a small group. There have been many times where I will ask a classroom teacher something that a student mentioned to me and they have had no clue. We are less intimidating than homeroom teachers, I do believe, so students open up more willingly. Just think, is it better to share your passion with fewer students or impact as many as possible? It’s like a pull out party with a revolving door all day long! Who can’t feel that excitement?
Not near as much work to bring home with you. I think I save the best for last! As hard as I work at school, most of my work can’t really be brought home. Yes, I can run reports, study data, work on professional development presentations, etc. at home, but I have built in time to do that as long as I manage my time wisely while at work. For the most part, my job is completely done at school and it has been such a nice change. I’m able to leave work each day and know that I gave it my all and then go home and give my family everything that they need as well. That has been such an amazing change and it has been well needed after so much time spent working on school stuff at home in the evenings.
Whatever position that you have at your school, know that there are going to be things that you LOVE and things that you HATE! We all do! But it takes the entire school working as a community and family to make each student a better person. Be positive! Be brave! Be caring! Be yourself! And do your job to the best of your ability whether you are in a traditional classroom setting or not. Leave me a comment! I would love to know your current position!