Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Humble Pie . . . yuck!

Today I had the privilege of having a taste of the fore mentioned dessert. It was not my favourite…

Today I was at training for the new job I’m at. It was the final day of several. I was hired along with another girl as a support worker in a home for people with developmental disabilities. This is the field I have gone back to school to pursue.

I have to be completely honest and admit that it was not my initial choice when looking at programs to take. I knew that I wanted to work with kids (as I have always worked with children in some capacity and LOVED it). I also knew that I liked working in small groups or one-on-one with people. Another concept I was taken with was that of being a believer in the ‘under dog’. I had previously taught piano for about 10 years before returning to school. I didn’t do it because I had any remote love for music (at least not what I was teaching), but I did have a love of teaching and revealing talent to a student that they were unaware of. I learned through this experience that it wasn’t the kid who picked up the lessons quickly that was gifted, it was the one that didn’t but tried all the harder because of it. They were the ones I taught for. Seeing the ‘light bulb’ go on when they got something that they couldn’t do before. Or when they did what they never thought they could. THAT was why I taught.

That is what I wanted in my new endeavor, to teach and be taught in unexpected ways.

When I went perusing the college books for programs that would give me this I found what I thought would be the perfect fit for me. Educational Assisting: working with children who have varying degrees of learning, behavioral or developmental disabilities. It sounded like a perfect fit. The catch was that the only school that had a specific program for that was a few hours away. For a couple of weeks we considered that option. After much thought I decided to go with a the college Wally went to that offered a more general field along that line and then had a 1 year post grad. I could do later. The first time I read up on that program a few weeks earlier I looked at the ad for it and the picture and I thought ‘Wow, you have to be a certain kind of person to do that – I couldn’t do it’. I thought highly of people that could stand to do such work and deal with such people. I have no idea how or why but after a few weeks I decided on that vary program. I figured if this was the only way to where I needed to go I would have to toughen up quick. ( I do love a challenge though and perhaps that was in the back of my mind – overcoming my own insecurities).

I went ahead with this program with blind faith that God would give be exactly what I needed (whatever that was). The truth is most people that go to school for this (Developmental Services) have some sort of experience before hand, I just wanted to learn about something … anything.

What does all of this have to do with Humble Pie? Well, as I was saying I was at training today with another new co-worker. She is a young lady around 20-21 years old. She’s pretty much the opposite as I was at that age. Fun loving, free spirited, a bit immature perfect outside appearance and in University. She’s not studying the field we’re working in (as many of the people where I work don’t). She’s picked it up as a part time job while she’s in school and figuring out what to do with her life.

When I first met her and heard a bit about her I thought ‘Why did they hire you? You don’t even care about this field. You don’t know anything about it, and besides the guy with aggressive behaviours is going to break you in two during your first shift.’ Tisk. It was harsh but I’m trying to be honest here. It bothered me that I was going to school to work ‘in the field’, spent all of this time studying and here I come to find out that I didn’t even need to – they’d hire ANYONE.

Anyway, through out the past couple of days I’ve spent a lot of extra time with just her. Driving, lunch breaks and in group work. I have come to find out that in my most highly regarded opinion: this girl is much more equipped to do this job than I am (even though she says 'dude, totally, and like' far too often). She has amazing ideas, a great attitude, stick-with-it-ness that I know I wouldn’t have if not for my pride. SHE is why they hire people that aren’t students because they care too, and because much of the time they already have it in them (much of mine only grew from knowledge). I know that I couldn’t have done this job before I went to school, let alone when I was her age. Sometimes I wonder if I’m cut out for it now …

You see I’m used to being the best. This is not meant in a cocky way at all. What I mean is that I always try to figure out the best way to do something. I work hard to do it and I am used to gaining the respect of those I work for and with. Where I work now, I am humbled beyond what I thought was possible. I am the student always, not just taught by my co-workers but so much more by those I support (by the way they don’t care how hard you work but by how much you respect and care for them - that doesn't come in a book). These people are not angels, they are not perfect, they don’t get me all soft and cooshy inside (no more than anyone else). The truth is they can be frustrating, physically and mentally exhausting, and constantly pushing me to my limits. I doubt I will ever be ‘the best’ at this job (this drives me crazy!!!), but I am determined to be MY best at this job and keep my heart open to learn. Deep down though I know I’ve been led to this place for a reason. I know that if I never worked another day ‘in the field’, every second I’ve spend in school and on the front line has been worth it and has forever changed me.

Now if only I could get the taste of that nasty pie out of my mouth!

1 comment:

Zoe said...

I can't get over how honest this post is... that is truly incredible and I have such admiration for you - I don't think I could have written this (well, since this is your "journal", maybe so..) you totally inspire me!