This post has been a LONG time coming. So try to stay with me because it is a LONG story.
As most of you know, since Jake was about 18 months old, I have done medical transcription from home part-time as a way to supplement Joe's income and to give me something that was "mine". While my primary concern was being a stay at home mom, which I absolutely loved, it was also nice to have my own thing too. However, I never really loved medical transcription and as the kids have transitioned over the last couple of years from preschool through kindergarten to this year when both kids are in school full day, I had come to the realization that I did not want to work from home full-time. I enjoyed being out of the house and interacting with people.
Last March I was faced with the decision of continuing to do medical transcription on a full time basis or leaving the company I had worked for since I started in the industry 7 years ago. Even though I wasn't quite ready to quit, I just couldn't see myself being the mom and wife I wanted to be while trying to complete a full-time work load nor did I see the point of trying to start over with a new company so with a heavy heart, I left my job and the industry earlier than anticipated. I think when all was said and done I liked the "idea" of working from home much more than I actually liked doing it. While financially, it was not easy losing my little monthly income, I have seldom regretted the decision.
My attention then began to focus on what was next. There is not much I can do with my Psychology degree without furthering my education and I really didn't want to work anywhere that wasn't going to allow me the same or similar schedule as the kids. Given all the extra days off they get for various holidays, teacher in-services, winter, spring and summer break, the obvious solution was to get a position with the school district. It made sense. I love being at the school and volunteering both in the kids' classrooms and for the parent group. The problem is that California schools and particularly our district is constantly making budget cuts due to decreased funding. Any positions that do come up in the district are usually given to current employees and those few that are available to new hires are fairly competitive.
Believe it or not, I could make this story even longer but suffice to say, I turned in my first application to the principal at my children's school in mid-August. I tested to become eligible for interviews in late September (after studying and stressing about said test for weeks) and passed. I went on several interviews and was even selected for a position that for unforeseen circumstances didn't end up happening. I went through a workshop and more testing to become a substitute for non-teaching positions and began taking sub jobs right before winter break. At the end of January I started working a long term sub job as the instructional assistant for a special education class at the kids' school. It was during this time I realized two very important things 1) I love working with students who for whatever reason are struggling and 2) I'm actually pretty good at it.
SO, after all this I was so happy and proud when I was able to interview for the job I had been holding as a sub and was hired to work permanently as an instructional assistant (IA).
Here are the kids and I, all wearing our Onaga Thunderbirds school t-shirts on Monday April 1st, my first day as a permanent employee.
I wish I could go into detail about the kids I work with every day, but their stories are not mine to tell. I have become very invested in helping them and teaching them. It can be extremely challenging. However, when you see their skills and abilities improve, it is rewarding beyond words. I wouldn't be surprised if I decide to further my education to eventually become a Education Specialist (fancy word for Special Ed teacher) but that is getting ahead of myself.
As for being fortunate enough to work at the same school my kids attend, it has been worth the effort. It affords me the opportunity to work and get to know the teachers and staff more intimately as well as continue to volunteer in my kids classrooms and school events. In fact, I even got to go on Jadyn's first grade field trip to the Living Desert with some of the students from my classroom.
Both my mother and my mother in-law worked within the school district where Joe and I went to school and continue to hold jobs at elementary schools now. I definitely can see the appeal that led them in that direction and I am happy to be following them in their footsteps.