Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mi Vida Loca

You guys. I’m tired.

First of all, the job is going great. Having to go to work everyday is a gigantic life change, and trying to juggle it with school is making my life extremely complicated, but the job is awesome!

I work at two different schools with three different teachers in four different classes, and the program is new to the district, so right now it’s a LOT of chaos while everyone figures out how this program is supposed to work. Each teacher does it slightly differently and each class has a slightly different dynamic, so I’ve had to adjust to a lot of things all at once. It’s still kind of stressful for everyone while we figure all of this out. But overall, the job is awesome! I get to sit in a classroom with teenagers and brainstorm their problems. That’s kind of the thing I’m the very best at. Unlike a lot of people, I actually love teenagers. I like their sassiness, I like their energy, I even like it when they sit there and roll their eyes at me, because that means I get to work on getting through to them, and I like that!

My job consists of working in small groups of kids and they take turns presenting a problem that they have come across in another class, it could be a math problem they got wrong on a test, a science concept they’re stuck on, it doesn’t matter, they bring a problem and then we work as a group to help them work through it. Not by showing them how to get the answer, but by asking them a series of questions to help them figure it out themselves. Things like “what do you already know about the problem.” “What resources do you have with you that might help you solve the problem?” (ie, did you bring your math book or your science notes?) or “based on what you already know, what do you think your next step is?”. We basically help them brainstorm problem solving techniques until they can find a way to solve their own problem. This program is designed to target the kids who give up easily. Kids who don’t have a lot of resources and might drop out without intervention. This program gives them the skills and confidence to keep going when they want to give up. The goal is to get them to learn to problem solve on their own, to get in the habit of seeking out resources when they have a problem instead of giving up and to learn critical thinking skills that will get them through high school and hopefully on to college.

So it’s really fun because the problems are constantly changing. We walk someone through working out a math problem and then we might immediately switch to helping someone figure out a method for memorizing Spanish verb conjugation. You never know what’s coming next! It’s fun in that way. The kids are always hesitant at first, but then they get really into it. Watching someone who is convinced that they don’t know the answer have a lightbulb moment and realize that they actually CAN figure it out is the best thing.

The other day I had a kid who just wasn’t able to figure out a problem, but he kept referencing what his teacher had said about it. So I said “ok, so explain it to me exactly the way the teacher explained it to you.” And 30 seconds into his explaination the lightbulb went on and it just clicked. He realized knew the answer, he just needed to talk it all out. I love it.

So the job is great and it’s the perfect job for me right now. However, trying to fit it into my already crazy life has been hard. It’s taking away a lot of my study time, so I end up putting a lot of stuff off and then cramming it all in when I have time, and that’s really hard. My Saturdays are now packed  with homework.

The great thing about working for the school though is that if the kids aren’t there, I don’t have to be there. So any teacher work days, snow days, holidays, etc, I get the day off. There tends to be several of those throughout the year, so that will help. I get thanksgiving week off, a long Christmas vacation, etc. School jobs are awesome in that way. So I look forward to those days. I will get some breaks to help lighten the load a bit. I know that tons of people work and go to school and raise kids. It’s just new for me. I’ll adjust.

And to add more craziness to my life, I recently signed up to foster kittens for a local cat shelter. I currently have three of the cutest four week old kittens living in my basement. It’s kind of like having a house full of toddlers, and I really don’t know why I’m taking it on in the middle of everything else, but kittens are cute and I couldn’t say no. It’s extra work, but I get to cuddle with kittens, and that’s kind of my happy place.

So things are good. Crazy, busy, insane and I think I might drown, but you’s fine, lol. It’s good stuff, just a lot of it. I’ll survive. :)

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