A couple weeks ago, on a Friday morning, I got a call for work at Warringa Park Special School. I'd been there a couple times before, so it was no big deal. What caught me off-guard was when the ANZUK woman calling me said something about the principal at Warringa wanting to talk to me about a contract position for next year.
Now before anyone gets carried away, let me get you into my mind-frame. Less than a week before that, I had been talking to my mom about how I was happy doing CRT work (Casual Relief Teacher, a.k.a. supply work) and wasn't intending to look for any contract positions for next year. I didn't feel ready. I said, maybe in the new year I'll feel more prepared and I can apply for jobs for Terms 2 or 3. But not for Term 1.
And next thing I know, it's Friday afternoon and I'm sitting in with the principal, two assistant principals, and the group leader for middle classes, talking about a contract position for next year. Colour me overwhelmed. They're talking about committing to a full year, applying online and winning the contract, assistance in doing so, and so on. If that wasn't one of the most terrifying conversations of my life, I don't know what was. It ended with the principal asking me to take a week or two to think about it, to have more work in the school to help me make my decision. He said I need to be sure I can commit to the year, because they'd been burned by Canadian teachers promising to stay for the year and bailing at the end of a 6-month contract.
Needless to say, I spent all weekend thinking about it and talking about it and trying to sort out my thoughts. I had no idea if I could do it. Yes, I was prepared to commit to being in Australia for the full year, but could I run my own classroom, all the paperwork, the Educational Aides, the students?
I spoke with a teacher in one of the high support classes to get her perspective on things, and that was really helpful. I spent a few days in her classroom and started to feel comfortable there. After 4 days of work at Warringa, I was feeling confident that I could work with these kids, teach them. I was put in a different class, too, and although I was only there for 2 days, it hardly took that long to feel a connection to the kids, to see that I could teach in that environment and we could all thrive.
The thought of all the paperwork and the responsibility and the grown-up-ness that goes along with contract work, I'm feeling more like it's something I can do. Especially since I've had the time to think about it and explore it as an idea, rather than being so caught off guard.
I'll let you know what comes of it.