Archive for September 14th, 2011

Working as a support staff, in a high school, everything about what is my job can change from one year to the next.

Last year I worked fifty percent, this year I work one hundred percent. Last year I worked with three students, in grades ten, eleven, and twelve. This year I work with five in grade nine, and one in grade eleven. Last year I worked off campus part of my time, this year I work only on campus. Last year worked with my three students, primarily out of class. This year I am in class almost all the time, and assisting all students who need it. Last year two of the students I worked with graduated, this year there will be no graduates among the students I work with.

It was like starting a new job when school began last week (and I am sleeping solidly because of it)!

Since the start of school, I have to say I have been missing last year, and all that was familiar about it. I miss the quick, cheeky tongues of the the older students, I miss interacting with business people to set up work experience opportunities, I miss the interactions with the parents (moms) of the students, I miss the challenge of out-witting the older students who lived to be late to class, or look at life through a half-full cup … I simply miss the individual students … period.

It would be so easy to say … last year was so much better than this one. As is always the case, what we know is more appealing, more comfortable than what we do not know, and what is unfamiliar to us. It would be so easy to start looking at the school year through a half-full cup …

But, a new broom sweeps clean! And my undiagnosed ADD thrives with change, novelty and challenge.

I have been getting to know the personalities and habits of the new students that I work with. I have been able to see how unjaded high school freshmen are to their senior counterparts. I have been getting to know classroom teachers, whose classes I have not been in before (or for a long time). I have been challenged in having to think out of the box in classroom settings, according to what assists the students needs best.

In all of this there is an excitement to this new year! There is a blank slate effect that I get to be there with the students as they begin their high school career.

The other day, one of the students said, “Mrs. Wheaton, will you work with us until we graduate?” And, on the inside, I smiled, because the thought of that excited me immensely. The thought of providing consistency to students who often thrive in consistency gave me something to hope for … for them, but for me too. But, the nature of this job is that change is inevitable, and there are no guarantees of what next year, let alone three years from now, will look like. But, for now, I know that it’s going to be a great year!

And my focus is to begin with the end in mind, so I will work with them as though I will see them through to graduation. And, together, we can learn so much.

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