Bad Surprises and Official Moaning

The bad surprise was more of a shock than anything else and it came at the start of the week. One of our students who is characteristically easy going and fun to work with refused to leave his taxi, ultimately ending with me getting a punch to the face and having my hair pulled. It didn’t hurt in all honesty, this particular student isn’t all that strong and he was calmed quickly after throwing a few head butts and a couple of kicks. It was a bit of a strange experience. Not that I got hit, that’s happened before. It was the individual who did it which surprised us all. With hindsight, I feel really stupid getting hit by him. It shouldn’t be a shock when one of my students gets heightened and I’m surprised that it shocked me so much. Apparently in my long list of what-ifs, I forgot to factor how volatile each student could be.

Unfortunately, this week, for the first time ever, I actually made a complaint about my work load. I recognised that I was struggling this week and I made the decision that I couldn’t last doing what my managers were doing to me. I brought up valid points. I told them that without time tables, I was having to plan potential lessons for every single student nightly, often keeping me up till 10 or 11 o’clock at night. I can easily have seven lessons to plan for one day and only be able to run two myself. The lessons I don’t run, I regularly don’t get the work back from the other staff members. I don’t have a base and I have no where to store my resources, games and activities. Either way, I finally stood up and told my manager that this wasn’t acceptable and, hopefully, things will change for the better.

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A Year Ago

I only recently noticed that around a year ago, I was just coming down from the high of working through Camp America. I felt wildly independent and completely dependent all at once. I had no job, only voluntary work and no clue what I wanted to do. Every avenue I looked into made me think I needed to go back to uni or college and I wasn’t sure I could handle another three or more years of education.

I can’t deny that I got incredibly lucky around the end of November. In very quick succession, I got three job opportunities in the exact roles I had been considering. Through what still looks to me like fantastic chance, I managed to go from ad hoc, unreliable work to a full time, salaried career. I never thought in 2014 that I would, in just under a year, be passionately involved in a career which seems to be perfectly made for me.

As a teenager, I can’t think of any one teacher or leader that I especially looked up to. Not a single adult made me certain that I could approach them with any problem, no matter how big or small. I’ve already proven that I am that adult for several young people in Scouting alone. Within school I feel respected and loved by the young people. They’re desperate for my attention and I would never have expected to take on this role as a twenty-four year old.

This time last year, I would never have guessed that I’d still be a relatively successful Akela of Cub pack of 29+ or be on route to becoming a teacher. I’m still a little in shock by it all. I roll with the punches and go were the road takes me and say yes to every silly opportunity I am offered. I truly believe that if I continue in the same way I’ve begun, I will very quickly be exactly where I am supposed to be.

Sickness and Supervisions

So I actually had to take time off work. This was nearly unheard of for me. I rarely get sick, especially not proper vomiting kind of sick. For me to throw up is a big shock and for me to have to leave work and spend nearly three days in bed is almost unheard of.

Anyway, I was better just in time for my supervision at school, half term and my supervision with the care company I work with.

My supervision at school was pretty standard, doing fine, need to work on the paper work side of things. The major part that came about during this supervision. Life skills, which I’d jumped in at the deep end with and was floundering a little with, has been divided into three segments. These segments are: catering, community/travel and PSHE. I’ll be taking PSHE as that is my strong point. It does remove my weakest part, catering, and it means that I won’t be forced to learn the area in short length of time. Unfortunately PSHE and life skills are incredibly similar and instead of saving me time, they’ve removed two of the easier parts of life skills.┬áSomething I could easily whip up for a last minute session I’ve now lost. This has meant that my half term has been a flurry of planning and not a whole lot else.

My second supervision happened during half term for the care company I work with. Once again they were pretty happy with my work although they are clearly annoyed that I am only able to work with the one family. While they say that they respect that I have a full time job and this is just something for an extra bit of pocket money, I have never felt that they do. I tell them my availability and they ignore it, they pester me to work during school hours and they try to make me go to training sessions when I’m unavailable. Their second “big” issue was that, although they won’t provide a free uniform and despite me only ever being in the family’s home, they expect me to wear a uniform. I’m not overly concerned about wearing a uniform in all honesty. It’s just their reasoning which feels off. Saying that I have to wear a uniform because I work in the family’s home doesn’t make sense to me. I’m not a therapist or a medical professional and nor do I take her away from the home and I am always introduced to visitors. While I don’t begrudge wearing a uniform, making sure that rules are clear and logical should be a priority.

The Great Move

My school finally made it’s move last Monday. Monday proved to be the longest journey I have ever had to take to get into work, clocking at a grand total of an hour and a half. Now for me, this means leaving my house around 7am, which I don’t actually consider to be a big deal. Unfortunately, what is a big deal, is the reality that I’m out of the house with Cubs, Scouts or care work until gone 9pm most days. My co-workers pointed out how drained I looked on Thursday, which is uncommon for me. Usually it’s Friday when the week shows it’s toll on me but I could feel myself lagging only three days into the week. Either way, it’s made me seriously consider my lifestyle. Can I continue working as much as I do? It’s made me realise how little time to myself I actually have and I’m starting to have to admit that I have to let something go.

My dilemma is that if I leave care work, I’ll miss the young people I work with. The way I work with young people means that I become emotionally involved very quickly and it works well until they leave my services or I have to move on.┬áThis is why I’m not considering leaving my Cubs or my Scouts. I’ve worked with them for two and a half years and having watched them all begin to mature, I can’t say that I want to move on any time soon. It’s pathetic and selfish that I don’t want to break these ties but I am acutely aware that I’ll have to bite the bullet and end something soon.

Back to School

After weeks of feeling lost and not spending time with my ASC boys, I’m back at school where I feel like I belong. Don’t get me wrong, I’m great as a carer and I love my work with Cubs and Scouts but I feel my strongest in the school. I always half wanted to be a teacher (when I wasn’t hoping to transform into a dalmatian or ladybird) and nothing has excited me as much as being re-inspired to work in a school and educate young people. The first days back feel like the calm before the storm.

The first days back are relaxed and easy, nobody expects any work done and we chill out and play games together. We run around the woods, we swing each other on swings till we feel sick, go crabbing and play music. It feels like an avoidance of work to start with but we’re introducing ourselves back into their environment, which they won’t be staying in for very long due to our move/split.

Having finally been allowed to look around our new school, I’m excited and worried. It looks big but we are limited on space. I’m supposed to be delivering sex education lessons and how am I supposed to run that in a room with someone who is meant to be in a maths lesson? It’s an annoying part of my new plan. There’s potential for me being able to commandeer some space but for the time being I’m going to be avoiding that aspect of learning. There’s a lot of practical work that can be done so I suppose I’ll be avoiding sex education until the last minute.

Planning Cub Camp

I have recently learnt how stressful planning Cub camp is. As part of my on going leader training, I agreed to learn about what our nights away entails. What I didn’t realise is that it is a lot. I only have 20 kids going and we’re only away for two nights so I suppose it’s not too bad. Suddenly, meal plans appear as mountains to be mastered, activities seem to unravel and become boring before my eyes and Six plans become imagined arguments. I’ve (potentially foolishly) chosen some quiet badges which are, generally, completed indoors. I’ve been worried about this so I’ve made several active games surrounding the themes which check off the boxes and run them into the ground so that, in theory, some of them will sleep at some point. I’m stressing over the thought of not having enough activities for them, about them not eating enough, about them being bored, homesick, frustrated.

Up until now, I hadn’t appreciated the effort put into planning a Cub camp. Since I’d always been a secondary leader there, I just had to rock up and throw a helping hand in as and when I was needed. The kids would ask me to play games, solve squabbles and help them put on wellies. I tell them off when they’re being noisy late at night and I encourage them when they’re homesick and I’ve only just realised that’s all I do at camps.

Hopefully it’ll be a success and I’ll be less worried about the next one I need to plan.

Good News

As I’ve already blogged, I haven’t had the best of school terms. My boyfriend broke up with me and refused to give me my stuff, an old client passed away (which I found out on the news) and his mother threatened every possible professional going, I’ve been involved in more serious incidents than I have ever been in and I’ve had two flat tyres in a fortnight. With all of these things looming over me during the term, I was sure that I’d been off my game, hadn’t performed as well as I should, had missed cues I shouldn’t have and was sure that I’d backed down when normally I would’ve fought for something. My end of probation review was due this month and I was dreading it. With every moment, I felt certain that I hadn’t done enough to remain with my school.

Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised when they told me that I’d passed with flying colours.

We went straight from probation review to interview. I had, without expecting anything, applied to a new position at school. My school is splitting into two completely separate units, behavioural and autistic. The split is creating new teaching roles and the one I was most interested in was a life skills tutor in the new autistic school. Since I wasn’t having such a good time of it, I didn’t expect the interview to go well. I’m pretty sure I swore a few times and used the phrase “making it up as I go along”.

Either way, Friday I got called into the boss’s office and he announced that he wanted to give me the position. Come September, I’ll be in charge of my own subject, with the title of therapeutic learning practitioner.

For the time being, I’m just looking forward to having the summer holidays to relax and earn some extra cash on the side.