>Take your blogger to work!

>I found out about this fun party from Allison at A Glimpse Inside…and I used her questions to structure this post! Thanks Allison 🙂

Gina from Hiya Luv is hosting the “Take your Blogger to Work” day…fun!

Here’s a little more info about the work part of my life…as an Autism Support teacher:

1. When you were growing up, what did you hope to become? What was your dream career?


I decided in 7th grade that I wanted to be an occupational therapist. I volunteered at the hospital every Saturday morning through high school with the OTs, and I knew this was my future career. I either wanted to work with the elderly, or with kids with special needs. I went to Elizabethtown College, because they had a reputable 5-year masters program for OT.

Then science came. And I sucked at it. I was SO UPSET when I realized that the schooling for becoming an OT would only get much more scientifically rigorous over the next 4 years. I realized I could work with students with special needs as a special education teacher (and my college had a great education program). I CRIED when I thought about being a teacher…it was never a dream for me!

2. Through the years in elementary school, high school, college, etc. did your dream career evolve? What influenced you?


If you read question #1, then you know it did! The one thing I knew was that I wanted to work with people. I loved working with different ages of people in various aspects of church ministry growing up. I babysat since I was 12 years old…so I was ALWAYS around kids! I love kids, but I have much less patience for typically-developing kids…my patience only comes out when I’m around children with special needs!


3. What is your career today? Is it your dream job? How did you get there? What do you hope for your career in the future?


I currently teach Kindergarten & first grade Autism support in a public school. I am in my third year of teaching. Is it my dream job? …that’s a loaded question.

My first year, I would have told you NO WAY, I could not imagine doing even another year of this job…I was not myself. I was more tired than I’ve ever been, spending 14 hours a day at school and just feeling like I was keeping myself afloat….never doing anything spectacular. I was being beat up (physically, verbally, emotionally) every day. I never got a lunch break, and a prep period was laughable. I shared a room with another teacher (love you, Katie!) and my room was the size of a shoebox. It was awful.

Second year, I got a new classroom! It was HUGE! I had the same group of boys I had my first year…and I was determined to do some “damage control” from the first year. As I saw these boys make progress, I realized how much I loved having a part in that. My love for my students was so deep – since I was pouring ALL of my life into these 7 boys, I had to love them!

I took on a new class this year, and I have fallen in love with another group of 6 boys! I have worked with some awesome parents, and I have great support from my principal and supervisor. My hours have cut down to about 11 hours a day (on a good week). I SO WISH I would have gotten paid for overtime hours these past 3 years… I would be a RICH lady!

The longer I’m working with kids with Autism, the more I realize I don’t ever want to be removed from this ‘world’. They teach me so much, and I LOVE seeing all of the progress they make! Not only am I in charge of their academics, but their behavioral and social needs as well. It’s a constant struggle to figure out how to balance my day. Scheduling can be a nightmare, my IEPs are generally over 50 pages long, I am wiping poopy butts, teaching boys how to aim in the toilet (help!), pre-teaching, teaching, modifying, assessing, and re-teaching everything that the teachers are doing in regular ed…it’s never-ending. BUT it’s worth it when one of my boys asks me for a “tickle” (in the middle of math…) and I pull him on my lap, we have a little tickle session, and he whispers “I love you” in my ear. That’s when it’s worth it, and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.

4. What is your day like? What are your typical tasks?

I try to get to school by 7:15 AM (leave my house by about 6:45). My assistants come in at 8:15, and we go over the schedule for the day and work on prep work for the day. Students arrive a little before 9:00, and I run through center rotations with my students until lunchtime. I do all direct instruction with my students, which I love! I have graduated to “big girl teacher” status, and I get a 20 minute lunch now!! This just became effective a few weeks ago…I’m slowly adjusting to this new-found freedom of mine 😉 Then, the kids come back from recess and I do center rotations all over again until the kids leave a little after 3:30. After school, my time is spent communicating with parents, regular education teachers, therapists (speech, OT, PT). I prepare everything for the next day, Boardmaker is my best friend as I make visual supports for all of my instruction, and there’s the never-ending data collection and paperwork aspect of my job. I am also getting my masters, so one day a week I go to class for a few hours after work too.

5. What do you love about your job? What are some downfalls?

Love:

The kids. Seriously, with all of my heart.

Downfall:

TIME & ENERGY– I give my job so much, I have next to nothing to give to my poor husband at the end of every day. Not only on the weekdays, but every Sunday is spent preparing lessons for the next week too.

6. Do you hope to stay in this job forever? Where do you see your career self in the future?

I know I can’t do this job when I have my own kids, because either my own children or my children at school will suffer because of it. I have no idea what my future looks like…I’m thinking about using my masters and experience with kids with Autism to do some part-time in-home work with children in early intervention when I have a family…but who knows! J

7. How does your blog/shop/creativity contribute from your career? Or does it distract?

My blog is my release for my job. If you read this post, you’ll probably ask what most people in my life ask: “How can you keep up a blog when you’re doing this job?!” Good question! I’m constantly working on the balance, and I definitely don’t have it worked out. But, you all provide me with so much encouragement and inspiration…I just can’t go through my day without that! This provides me with my “me time” that I don’t get during my day.

Also, I’m working on planning a series of posts on my reflections of the book I’m reading – 10 Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew. It’ll be my attempt to connect my two worlds in a small way J

So, this is my life. It’s crazy, and it’s hard, but I know it’s where God has me right now. Please comment with any questions, comments…or a link to your version of this party! I really want to hear about your lives too!

P.S…if you’re interested in seeing pictures from my classroom…you can check out my post here.


Comments
7 Responses to “>Take your blogger to work!”
  1. >Girl… I think every first year teacher feels like they are drowning but I can only imagine being in your shoes. I commend you. I love kids and working with them but Special Ed teacher have a little something extra then regular teachers. Glad you are have gotten the swing of things and congrats on your new lunchtime! 🙂 So happy you participated!

  2. >That's amazing what you do, Christina. I know teachers like you are the unsung heroes in the school. I hope somehow – when you really need it – someone will give you some words of encouragement and appreciation for what you do. I can tell you put your heart and soul into your kids, and that's very commendable.I think it's a great idea to do part-time in-home work with special needs children when you start your own family.Cheers,Tracy All Thumbs Crafts

  3. gina luv says:

    >i loved reading your post. your work is so important and is making such a difference but i totally understand how it can be draining and exhausting. i too use my blog and etsy shop as a creative outlet and as a way to regenerate some positive energy:)gina

  4. Cheryl G. says:

    >I just found your blog.My youngest child (17 years old) is high functioning autistic.So I very much admire special education teachers.It takes a special breed to teach such special kids. So my hats off to you!Hurray to you!

  5. Jenn says:

    >It definitely takes a special person to work all day with Special Needs kids! I'm sure it can get difficult to balance your work with your other life! I am a physiotherapist in our local school district and would LOVE to work with someone like you. I took a peak at your classroom – it is fabulous! I can't believe how big it is and it is such a welcoming space (even the time out doesn't look so bad!) Thanks for all you do for your kids!

  6. Sarah B. says:

    >I found your blog through the blog hop and I can really relate to a lot of what you say! My patience only shines when I'm with special needs kiddos too :). What a draining but rewarding career we have!

  7. Christina says:

    >You do a FANTASTIC job and I am very proud of you. You are great with these special boys! Glad you finally got a lunch break

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