24 September 2007

My New Job

I started a new job last week, which is a major answer to prayer. After wrestling internally (and externally) with the idea of teaching and all the stress and emotional involvement it requires, and being lovingly kicked in the pants by dear friends and family members, I accepted a part-time teaching position at the Perspectives Charter School at their South Loop campus. I work 4 days a week as a Reading Enrichment Instructor, working primarily with students in grades 9-11 with one class of 6th graders. It pays $17 an hour and I work between 20-25 hrs a week. This is not quite enough to cover all my expenses and allow me to pay all of my debt off, so I am looking for an additional part time job. However, it is an excellent position for me and uses my gifts and abilities very effectively.

Basically, I lead something that loosely resembles a structured reading circle. I have students in small groups for an entire class period. The class is titled “Enrichment” and is focused on building their reading and study skills. It is a brand new program this year and this means that I have a lot of freedom in how I structure and run my groups. Some of my students are working on building basic reading skills through a program called Read Naturally. They all read and discuss and write. Currently we are working through reading level appropriate novels in each group. When those are finished the groups will move to non-fiction and study skills and the year will close with another set of fiction reading.

The school atmosphere is very disciplined and college-prep focused. I appreciate the support that the teachers have to maintain discipline and hold their students to high standards. Many of my students are at the lowest reading levels in their class but thus far I have had quite a bit of success getting them to work hard and even the most problematic ones listen to me. My supervisor Kate told me that she thought I would be successful because I had a good balance of “toughness” and sense of humor. Working with high school students can be challenging, so both are necessary every period.

The other really cool thing about this job is that the Perspectives Charter School has 3 campuses and has been expanding hugely every year since they started (in 1997). Because they are a charter school they are allowed to have a small percentage of their full-time teachers that are uncertified. This means that it may be possible for me to go on to full-time teaching if a position opens up, without having to go back to get a Masters degree in education. I am excited about the potential and about all that I am learning working almost full-time as an educator. I need to go, but I will try to write more soon.


natalie said...

Congrats on the new job!!!

Momma Amy said...

So glad you are back and Congrats on the job!

Miss You!

TulipGirl said...

Sounds like a great school--and what an opportunity to make a difference. Still, though, sounds like it will take a lot of energy, even if it is part-time in hours. Have you considered a low-key parttime job to supplement? A friend's husband works at the Green Goddess Coffee Shop (also know as FourBucks) and even parttime has decent benefits. Though I'd have a horrid time multitasking, I bet you could do it, and get to know regulars in your neigborhood.

The Domestic Intellectual said...

I have considered something like a coffee shop job but I am not much for foodservice. Looks like sewing might be the best bet, but that would be piecework and sans benefits.