Ready to switch jobs

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by educatingme, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. educatingme

    educatingme Companion

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    Feb 14, 2007

    First, let me say that I love my job. Which makes it very hard for me to understand why I DON'T love my job! Confusing, I know.

    I started working last year after my 8th and youngest child started school all day (actually, it was his second year of being in school all day...the first year I waited by the phone for someone to "need" me!). Anyway, it was a no-brainer. I love kids. I love kids with special needs (my youngest has special needs, we'd also been foster parents to children with special needs), I have no degree, the hours would be perfect and insurance came with the job...being a Special Ed. Assistant (Paraprofessional?) would be perfect.

    I passed the ParaPro with flying colors and got a job pretty quickly. I would be a one-on-one assistant to a high school Junior who just happens to have Down Syndrome. It was difficult at first because all I heard was how this guy didn't "need" a one-on-one. I felt devalued. But, I soon found my niche, I began working with him...compliments were abundant.

    However, I found that while I loved the teacher I worked with outside of the classroom (on a personal level), I didn't necessarily like her inside the classroom. She was very high-strung, threw fits, had unrealistic expectations and did not teach with love. My standard is based on the type of teacher I would want my own child with special needs to have and she did not meet my standard.

    This year I was switched to another room with the laid-back, hands-on, teaching with love and guidance teacher that I requested. I am the only female in a room of 13 male teenagers, 4 other assistants and a teacher. I've loved my position.

    Until...one of the students began having bm's several times a day and I became responsible for some of those changes (there's so much more that is out of the ordinary than just a bm diaper!). I would gag and cry...but, continue to fulfill my responsibilities. But, finally, I decided that I couldn't do it and I would need to find a different position. As much as I hated to leave the other (mild handicapped) boys, this one issue was making me miserable at work and at home.

    I expressed my desire to find a new job and began looking at my options. I dreaded leaving some of the boys I love so much and I've invested so much time and energy in teaching one boy to read with some good success...but...

    I had four interviews. I turned the first down right away. The second job had been filled (the person they'd offered the position to a month before finally accepted) by the time I arrived at the interview. The third (with 4th and 5th grade EH) I interviewed for twice trying to make up my mind and in the end, I got scared and turned it down. The fourth sounded perfect for me!! I really wanted that job...but, I never heard back.


    In the meantime, the teacher in my classroom wrote me an amazingly encouraging letter and said that I'm basically an awesome assistant and he'd rather have me there and NOT change diapers, than to not have me at all. That worked for a week (though, I felt TERRIBLY guilty when I felt like I was getting out of my turn)...but, Monday, when the teacher was out of the room and this boy had to be changed...the other two assistants in the room refused to do it.

    It had to be done. I did it.

    But, I can't keep doing it. I have to find a new job...but, I don't want to trade one problem for another. I know I have a lot to offer the right position. The problem is finding the right position. I'd called three different schools that either put me on hold for so long I finally hung up, never called back when I left my number or didn't know who I was supposed to talk to regarding the position.

    What is the best way to "advertise" myself for a position that will benefit me, my employer AND the students I work with? I would love to work in a position that would help me to decide where I want to work when I finally become a teacher (I start my decade long part-time school career in March)...but, I need to find another position asap.

    I can't change a grown man's diapers, anymore. I hate admitting it, but I just can't do it.
     
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  3. SpecialTexan

    SpecialTexan Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2007

    Your only recourse, honestly, is to give up and go home. I'm sorry, but it's true. If you had a teaching credential to back up that love and talent, you could teach resource. Unfortunately, there isn't much call for a para in a resource setting. You are going to find any job you take to be emotionally and physically taxing due to the unique needs of the students you serve. I've taught in a couple of severe/profound MR classrooms, so I was very grateful when I found my current job as an elementary resource teacher. I enjoy it so much!

    :sorry:
     
  4. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Feb 14, 2007

    Couldn't you work in a middle school classroom or with severly handicapped children that are elementary? Terry G.
     
  5. educatingme

    educatingme Companion

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    Feb 14, 2007

    I find it hard to believe

    That every single assistant's position is going to require me to change diapers. If I want to change diapers I'd go to nursing school for a relatively short time and make at least twice as much as I'm making now. Ugh!
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Feb 14, 2007

    I don't think you are being unreasonable in any way. You have a right to decide what kinds of personal assistance you are comfortable providing.

    Would it be better if you worked with younger children? Since you have been so successful in your positions, and you have so many qualities that it takes to work with special needs kids, I am sure that you will find a placement that works for you.

    I don't know what the school district practices are in your area, so I don't know how you would go about promoting yourself. Contact the special ed coordinator (or whatever the local title might be) for your district and talk with him or her. Good luck.
     
  7. SpecialTexan

    SpecialTexan Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2007

    Perhaps you misunderstand me. Of course, not all paraprofessional positions require the use of adult size diapers, or even diapers at all. But the fact remains that a great many of them do. The few that do not go to the aides who have been with the district for a while and have developed professional connections to those who fill said coveted positions. Consider your position as a stepping stone to better things. Or, if you cant stomach it at all and your state allows for open enrollment charter schools, you might search for a position with them.
     
  8. Miss Michelle

    Miss Michelle New Member

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    Feb 15, 2007

    I feel for you on not wanting to change diapers. Especially on the older students. The older they get, the worse it gets. Unfortunately being a paraprofessional does require diapers and other things that are not very appealing. If this is something that outweighs working with special needs kids for you, I'd try to find something else. Or you could go back to school and get your degree in Special Education degree. Then you will have paras that do that stuff for you most of the time.

    Are there preschool special education classes in your area. It isn't as bad changing their diapers and it is very rewarding, I think. They give you hugs and think you're awesome! I love preschool for that reason.

    I know this is a hard decision for you. I hope that you find what makes you happy. :)

    Miss Michelle
     
  9. educatingme

    educatingme Companion

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    Feb 15, 2007

    Thanks

    Thanks for not thinking I'm selfish. I just don't like changing men's diapers.

    I actually am starting school next month...but, with a full-time job (as well as a part-time one), 8 kids of my own and a husband...I'll only have time for one class (3 during the summer!) a semester...so I'm probably looking at a decade or more before I reach my goal of being the TEACHER that doesn't have to change diapers!! haha
     
  10. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Feb 15, 2007

    I really do not blame you. i changed a 12 year old boy oncewhen i was a sustitute teacher and it was the first time i did it. I did very well. The aides had me do it . Anyway I am thinking of applying to LAUSD as a para and I will try for middle school and elementary if I end up working with severly handicapped children. Otherwise I will try kids that have emotional problems in high school or middle school. I have worked with ED kids before. Anyway what kind of job do you have now? Godd luck with your schooling. You have a full plate. You might check and see if your district has a career ladder for paras that will lead to teaching certification. Terry G.
     
  11. Miss Michelle

    Miss Michelle New Member

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    Feb 16, 2007

    I was on the "8 year program" for my bachelors, so I understand how hard it is. Although I didn't do it with children, just a husband. So I imagine it will be pretty hard. You'll have homework to do when your kids have it. I hope it goes well, and doesn't take you too long. Graduating college first in my family was very rewarding. I hope you make it! :)
     
  12. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    Feb 16, 2007

    Hi - I don't blame you either for not wanting to change adult's diapers. I don't know how the pay compares, but what about becoming an Instructional Aide instead of a Sped Aide?
    Apply for teaching assistant positions or, if you have some bachelor's credits under your belt, become a sub. No bennies, but lots of experience!
     
  13. educatingme

    educatingme Companion

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    Feb 16, 2007

    Can't do sub work (no degree and no insurance means no way!), but I could possibly try for an instructional aide position.
     
  14. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    Feb 16, 2007

    Most of the IA positions I have seen have at least single bennies, but even a lot of our teacher positions are moving to single bennies too. Really stinks!!!
     
  15. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Feb 16, 2007

    Educatingme,

    I used to work with the severely-profound high school students who all had diapers to be changed as well. I had about 7 different wheelchairs, and only two females in the classroom. I changed all of the males and my female paraprofessional (73 years old) changed the girls. I had to help her lift these children out of their wheelchairs and put them on a changing table. Our room was not equipped with a restroom either. It was a total nightmare for a full two years of teaching. It was very depressing trying to teach high school students with the functional not cognitive level of a 6 month old. I am being realistic when I say that i felt like nothing but a nurse's aide instead of a teacher. I got out of that position as soon as I could. I overtook the current classroom I'm teaching now. I am an autism support teacher for students who are semi-verbal in a local middle school. I'm probably going back to school for my mild-moderate credential. It's really rewarding to work with students with autism if you have the proper training and support, but it can burn you out FAST without the proper support. It's hard to teach functional skills and communication when you have 8 students with varying levels of autism and only 1 paraprofessional who is in your classroom. If I had one more para (which I've been requesting over and over again), I'd probably feel more comfortable. I feel like I am starting to lose interest because I have been footing the "bill" educationally, structurally, financially, and emotionally over the past two years now. I think I need to start working with learning disabled students instead. I wouldn't mind working with more autistic students, but at the elementary level instead. I wish you the best of luck. We have tons of paraprofessionals who made good money and they complain when people tell them to do their job. This is why so many teachers burn out so quickly, it's not always the parents who make us angry. It's sometimes the paraprofessionals who get their "foot" in the door and decide this is all i'm going to do "the minimum" and you can't tell me what to do! I'm not saying all para's are like this, but in my personal experiences I've found more and more with this attitude. I see this more where there is way too much union involvement.

    AspieTeacher
     
  16. educatingme

    educatingme Companion

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    Feb 17, 2007

    I believe my daughter (a Freshman in her 2nd semester of college) will graduate (a 6 yr. program for Occupational Therapy, no less) before I do!! :eek:
     
  17. educatingme

    educatingme Companion

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    Yes, Aspie Teacher, that's exactly what I feel like and while I admire those in the nursing field...it is absolutely not something I EVER aspired to be!!

    Only one para in your classroom? We have 13 boys in our room (of varying needs), one teacher, FIVE paras! Four of us are one-on-one assistants, one is just a regular classroom assistant. We one-on-ones are there because the PARENTS insisted, not necessarily the teacher. It seems that parents are accomodated (during IEP) far more than a teacher's needs.
     
  18. KinderKatie

    KinderKatie Companion

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    Feb 27, 2007


    Wow that is really harsh. Way to be supportive and helpful.

    EducatingMe- Good for you for your passion! You are one of the rare few with that kind of passion to work with older special ed kids. The fact that you don't want to change a grown boy/man's diapers does not make you any less of a passionate person. It also does not make you any less of a job candidate.

    My advice to you would be that if you cannot be guaranteed that you won't have to change dirty diady's, then look elsewhere for a job. The right job is out there for you, you just have to keep looking. Obviously you are good at what you do and you will have many high remarks to help you land a good job. Just keep looking.

    Are you open to teaching other grades? Are you open to being a para in a regular ed setting? These would help give you more possibilities but don't settle on a job just for the sake of having a job. Wait for the right one. You will find it!

    In the meantime, could you sub? I know when I was subbing, I once subbed in a special ed contained classroom and they said it was really hard to find subs who would stay once they got there. If you made it known that is what you preferred, you would quickly become their preferred sub as well. Then you would be first to hear of job openings!
     
  19. educatingme

    educatingme Companion

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    Feb 27, 2007

    I actually have an interview this week with a Kindergarten class...what a total change from High School students...on second thought...maybe not!!:)

    I'm excited about it and hoping it's as good as it sounds.

    I'd love to sub (the "never know what you're gonna get" experience would be right up my alley), but because they don't offer insurance to subs it's a no go...my husband is self-employed, my ability to carry the insurance has lifted a heavy (and expensive!) burden from his shoulders!
     
  20. KinderKatie

    KinderKatie Companion

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    Feb 27, 2007

    Well good luck!
     
  21. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    Feb 28, 2007

    Educatingme, do you have Source4Teachers out there or any other sub agency? Some of them do offer benefits to substitute teachers as long as they work a certain # of days each month.
     

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