Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back In Education

Last Thursday I had an interview for a TSS position. I believe the interview went well; I had them process background checks (the ones that seem to be required for any type of job I really want), so I figured that even if the position didn't work out, I'd already have the necessary paperwork completed. There would be various training I would have to complete - not only for the position itself, but CPR and First Aid - and then I could be available for interviews to be held by specific company clients that provide TSS services to students in the region. I may or may not have something put to me before Christmas, but since these schedules are based around the academic year and traditionally-offered 90-day contracts, it would be more likely I would have something for January - maybe. There might sometimes be 15-hour per week contracts offered, with potential of picking up two or three weekly contracts at a stretch, but full time work, and indeed even part-time work, could not be guaranteed. Added to that, besides the travel (to different schools or students' homes), no health care plan would be offered, and I would be responsible for my own taxes, made me a bit wary but I figured that the potential for work was better than the absence thereof - and it does sound like really interesting work, so I wasn't ready to dismiss it.

Friday I had an interview at a day care for a teaching Pre-K (four year olds). Because of my lack of ECE degree my title would be that of a teacher assistant, but as far as I'm concerned, it's teaching (the title seems to matter as much of the pay offered - does anyone go into teaching for the money? - as with state regs).

I liked the director, Jacqui; I thought her fair and direct, which I can appreciate, so I was just as forthcoming with her in terms of my background and what I was comfortable with; I emphasized that although my background is in secondary education, I love the work in whatever form it comes in. I would likely be asking a lot of questions, but I would have no trouble jumping right in. This seemed to be the right tactic to take. Jacqui noted that she'd be very blunt in addressing any issues she saw with my work, but if I had problems with that (and no sarcasm was meant), I could address her in a similar manner and that would be just fine. This is a relief: In previous jobs I had managers who never let me know where I stood; it was one of the worse aspects of working in a cube farm. In this case, I got pretty much the entire lowdown: regular working hours Monday through Friday; health care offered after six months; six paid holidays a year, but not the day before or after; three weeks' notice if I wanted to quit (it's in the contract I'll be signing). My wanting to start next week, and already having made plans to fly to Utah for a week in mid-December, were not issues.

Jacqui said she didn't want to offer the job on the spot; I was to go home and consider it, and call her back by the end of the day to let her know whether I was interested. I called a few hours later to express interest, after which I received a return phone call offering me the position. (I suspect that my calling back a few hours later gave Jacqui an idea how serious I was about the position, and let her consider whether I'd be a good fit. This was fair.) I'll be starting November 23rd.

I'm delighted to be working with four year olds; right now, I need hands-on work that puts me into contact with a lot of people; it'll be good for my mental state. (You simply can't be grumpy around an age group that's likely to run up and hug you in sheer happiness at seeing you. And I'm a pushover for little kids anyway.)

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