Yet again I don’t seem to have blogged for about a million years. It’s been a bit chaotic here. The usual ups and downs, but with some actual preparation for the festive season in between – believe it or not I am just about organised for Christmas for the first time in many years.
A couple of weeks ago I saw my GP for a medication review and we decided between us that it was time to cut down my antidepressants, having been on them for a year and feeling so very much better. I was a bit nervous about doing so at this time of year but it felt like the right thing to do. And… so far, so good. I’ve halved my dose for the past week and a half, and still seem to be coping just as well with the stresses and strains of everyday life (and believe me there have been some stresses and strains this week including ill children, an A&E visit and an incredibly late night).
On top of all the lack of sleep and the stress, I had a job interview yesterday at a primary school 17 miles away. There were three posts available, and it was an all day process, like no teaching assistant interview I have had up to now. I had a tour of the school by four delightful School Council members, then had to deliver a circle time activity to five gorgeous year 3 children, whilst being observed by a T.A. and the Deputy Head/SENCO, frantically scribbling notes on my performance in the background. I then had an informal chat/interview with the head teacher. Nine of us went through this process throughout the morning, and then they narrowed it down to four people to be kept on for formal interviews in the afternoon.
I was one of the four! We had a very poshly catered buffet lunch along with the interviewers and also the teachers of the classes the successful candidates would be working in (1:1 with specific statemented children). Then we all four sat in the staffroom chatting together and were picked off one by one for our formal interviews. I was the last one to go in, so spent the whole afternoon in the staffroom soaking up the atmosphere, listening to staff chatting, talking with them and enjoying the sounds of the Christmas play practice in the hall outside the door!
My overwhelming impression was that it is a lovely, friendly, warm school with staff who really care about one another and the children. I really, really wanted to work there.
The formal interview was nerve wracking with lots of questions, but by the time I’d spent all day at the school and chatted informally with all of the interviewers over lunch, I felt far more relaxed and comfortable with them than I would have done had I just gone in cold for the interview, as I have at a number of other schools. I was also very pleased that I’d been observed with a group of children too, as that’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to show the staff at a school what my actual practical capabilities are in the classroom and how I relate to real children rather than hypothetical ones in an interview situation!
I started allowing myself to hope when the headteacher said at the end of the interview ‘I am very much hoping you are still a firm candidate?’ (I answered very firmly in the affirmative!).
I got the phone call just as I was turning left into our road on the way home. I pulled over quickly 100 yards from the house and answered.
I was offered the position! They said I was a very strong candidate. They said they were very excited. (Not as excited as me, I’m guessing!)
I start on Monday. Yes, this Monday coming up. Eek! I will be working in year four, one to one with a boy with ASD. This is totally my dream job, and is working in a wonderful, ASD friendly school where I can tell the staff are very valued and well trained. One of them remarked in the staffroom in the afternoon that ‘people come here to work and then they never leave because we love it here so much.’
It’s still sinking in that I’m actually going to be paid to do something I love so much – to spend every day in a primary school. This has been my dream for such a long time; something that a few years ago was a secret dream I hardly dared share with anyone in case talking about it would mean it never came true! I have gone from there to volunteering at school, doing two courses, gaining confidence slowly and now finally I have a real, actual job.I know it’s going to be hard work and I know it won’t be plain sailing and it will be an enormous learning curve, especially at first. But I also know that I have wanted this so badly for so long, that I’m finally getting the chance to prove to myself I can really do this, in a proper professional capacity, and I. Am. Going. To. LOVE IT!
I’m sure it will take a while to settle in to new routines at home; Three will have to go to Before School Club which she has been desperate to do for ages, and One and Two will have to get themselves to school in the morning as I will need to be 17 miles away by 8.45am every day! Sorting out home and family around the job is going to be a steep learning curve too, but it will be so so worth it to be doing something I love so much, and getting off the Jobseekers Allowance hamster wheel at long, long last.
What a huge boost to my self esteem. Somebody actually wants to employ me; has seen me with the children and based on that, thinks I can do a good job. After volunteering in the same school for five years and getting no indication whatsoever that there was any chance of a paid position at any point now or in the future, this is such a big boost to my self confidence.
I’m really nervous about Monday. But I’m hugely excited too. I have a job! Me! I’m a Teaching Assistant (well, a Learning Support Practitioner is the official title!) I’ve done it – achieved the goal I’ve been working towards since December 2009.
What a fantastic Christmas present.