Sunday, September 7, 2008

Working Girl

Last year was the first year that I worked as a parapro in a specialized communications class. I sought this job because: it payed better than the other aide jobs (but not as much as bus drivers - those folks are livin' the dream: they drive for a couple hours, and spend the rest of the day reading or buffing their nails or eating donuts or something), and I would be able to put JH on his bus to school, and be waiting for him when he got home. I would also have all the same holidays and days off, which would save us in childcare expenses. I also took the job because in my previous life (before JH) I was an actor, and though I loved it so much at the time, I have lost my burning desire for it. And that's what it takes to make money at it. And we need money. And insurance. And I know that starting all those sentences with "And" is going to have me burning in Grammatical Hell, but I still have that side of me that just HAS to call attention to myself, so I just turn all BadAss with the English Language and say "TAKE THAT, Blogosphere!"

Where was I? Oh, yes, my job. It could have been a disaster, but it has been anything but. Yes, there are days when I want to cry and run away, but mostly, I am so excited to go to work, so thrilled to be trusted with these amazing kids, and so energized by our joint attempts at communication.

I happened to walk into this job a complete neophyte a) working in the public school system, and b) working with a population that has all kinds of special sensory needs. If I were to write a job description for someone considering this line of work, it would go something like this:

"Part Australian Blue Heeler, part Rodeo Clown, part mud wrestler, part wind talker. Humor is a must. Fashion Plates need not apply. Creative thinking is a must. You will spend your day running, or waiting. You will get dirty. You will get frustrated. You will need a good stiff drink at times. But you will also fall in love on a daily basis. You will see examples of heroic attempts to overcome obstacles several times a day. And you will leave each day wondering how you can make the next day better."

I'll be managing better after a month or so. But I remember last year at this time, I was taking afternoon naps, the kind where you wake up in your own drool and wonder where you are and what year it is. This year is a bit better, but I'm still dragging my ass. Of course, it's closer to the ground than it was this time last year, but we're working on that.

So now you know a little bit more about how I spend my days.


I, Rodius said...

Work you enjoy that has a positive impact on people around you. Congratulations!

Robin Amos Kahn said...

I think what you are doing is so fantastic, Annie, and I can just imagine how wonderful you are with the kids and with the other teachers. You must be a joy to everyone who spends their days with you. I can't imagine a harder or more rewarding job.