Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I'm going back to work
I've been in a slight state of denial about this. I think perhaps I may have drastically under-estimated the amount of preparation that might be required.
If I was the sort of person who was really good at winging it, I think I'd feel a bit more comfortable. Over the last few years, I've certainly improved in my ability to jump in and do something without having it planned to the tiniest detail. I think that happens when you have children. Nothing much is predictable with kids so you just learn to go with the flow a bit more.
But there are a lot of unknowns about this job. It's all a bit experimental. I'll be going into a school for a short period of time (six weeks) to provide an occupational therapy service to kids in Year 1 and 2 with mild to moderate learning and motor skill difficulties. So far, so good. I've long thought that the services I provide in an office block a long way away from the school environment where the kids spend the majority of their week are not particularly relevant. The hard part is that I'll be doing this as a clinical educator. This means I'll be taking a group of four Occupational Therapy students with me into the school and the service will be provided by them, under my guidance. This is where it can get a bit tricky. I've worked in a University student clinic previously. A lot depends on the competence of the students. If they're not much good or not very organised, things can go bad very quickly.
And the school I'm going into is a school where I don't know anyone. Again, not necessarily a bad thing. It's good to know that I'm not going to be running into the kids (and their parents, that's usually the harder part) we'll be working with when I head out to the shops. But that means I'm going to have to build some relationships with the staff pretty quickly. I get to start when school goes back next week. The occupational therapy students don't start until the following week. That gives me two days to meet the relevant teachers, get started on building a relationship with them, and talk to them about how they would like us to work within their classrooms before the OT students turn up on the following Monday. This would all feel much easier if the school kids weren't all starting the new school year, and the teachers weren't having to get to know them at the same time as they are getting to know us. We are due to do another one of these short term contracts later in the year (a ten week block with fourth year students for that one) and I really think the timing of that one will be a lot better since the school year will be in full swing, the teachers will know the kids quite well and things will generally be far more settled and organised.
So there are a multitude of relationships to be negotiated here. There are two other therapists job sharing this position with me (one I know already, the other I've only met once), I need to get to know the staff at Community Health who are providing funds for the placement, and the project co-ordinator who is based in yet another organisation. So far, she seems to be a bit absent-minded when it comes to remembering to organise stuff for us. Not ideal.
It all looks a bit overwhelming at this point in time for little old introverted me, which might be why I've had my head in the sand for a few weeks about it happening.
I need to concentrate on the positives. The money I earn will be helpful for paying for the multitude of extracurricular activities that my kids are doing. The school seem encouraging of us coming in to do this. The Learning Support Teacher is very friendly and supportive. Hopefully that reflects what the other school staff are like as well. I will be able to be flexible and accommodating of what they want. Anything is better than nothing since these kids wouldn't be accessing a service anywhere else, so whatever we provide will be useful. I'd also like to be optimistic and think that the OT students won't behave like selfish Gen Y's, but that one's still a bit up in the air.
And I need to pray that it will all come together and that I will feel a sense of peace rather than a sense of frustration when things take longer than I'd like them to. This is a situation when I can't be in control of everything. But if I can remember that God has things in His control then perhaps I won't feel as anxious about it all.