Friday, August 13, 2010

In Which Chelle Fails BEDA

So, I didn't blog yesterday. I really meant to, but then I had to work. And honestly work, it was pretty stressful. I guess I should start with Wednesday and what happened then. After two days off everyone went back to work. BFF1 and I had spent Tuesday evening IMing and discussing the staff changes that had occurred over the summer. She revealed that one of our co-workers had gotten a new job, I told her that one of our high school classmates had been hired. So Wednesday (which we ALL know are generally sucktastic) was not really a day that I was looking forward to. Our bosses had labeled the day "Counselor Appreciation Day" and asked us to come in on Wednesday instead of giving us that day off, which was the original plan. BFF1 had an orthodontist appointment scheduled on Wednesday and had asked me to come with her so that I could drive back after they gave her drugs to adjust her retainer. So, here we were going in for two hours and then having to use our sick time on counselor appreciation day.*

I get to work at 8:30, a little tired and stuffy because my allergies were INSANE on Wednesday. Three of my co-workers were standing outside chatting when I got there, but as I walked up an eerie silence reigned. This should have been my first indication that something had gone down. I nervously said hello and waited with bated breath for the response. "Have you talked to Boss Lady?" asked one of my co-workers. I replied that I hadn't, at which point my co-worker replied "your name is on The Board** now." Immediately I was filled with dread. I knew my name would eventually be on The Board, but the tone of voice my co-worker used let me know that there was a pretty significant change in my work assignment. I walked inside our office to see BFF1 sitting at one of the tables and Boss Lady walking down the hall. Before I have a chance to look at The Board Boss Lady asks me if I'll come to her office to talk. I was thinking "crap, crap, crappity, crap, crap."

Once we get to Boss Lady's office she says "you may want to sit down for this." At this point*** my stomach dropped to about my ankles and I thought I was going to pass out. My boss quickly explained that one of my coworkers had accepted a new job and that another coworker was moving to a different school. This resulted in one of the middle schools in our area being left with no counselors. Therefore, I was going to be working with seventh grade boys. "Is that okay" she asks. Now I don't know about you guys, but there is no part of me that feels comfortable being like "actually, I don't know that I want to work with middle schoolers, I like the little kids, they don't call me a bitch, and if one of them hits me it isn't really going to hurt THAT much." I'm generally the kind of person who does what needs to be done. So I smiled, told my boss that I was looking forward to a new challenge, and that I was glad they had confidence in my ability to handle this age group. Which is true. To an extent.

Now, for the more truthful reaction. I was sad, I loved the school I was at last year, I liked the teachers, and I was pretty good friends with one of my co-workers at that school. I like middle schoolers, and honestly I feel like a lot of times they get labeled as "problem kids" or "troublemakers" and just shuffled aside, so I am happy to try to make their experiences better in any way that I can. However, I am still terrified. I mean honestly, I'm all of five feet tall! Last year I got lost in a crowd of fifth graders at the elementary school I worked at. Some of these kids are physically violent, and I worry about having to wade into the middle of a fist fight. I really am looking forward to having a new experience. I really enjoyed working with the middle school age group over the summer and I think that I made some headway with several of them. I am pleased that my boss thinks I am good enough at what I do to send me to a school where I will essentially be alone**** with kids that no one in our program has ever seen. In some ways it is nice to work with clients who have never had services, but in others it is hard because they don't really know what to expect.

So, in a nutshell...I am going into a new school, I have new kids, I have new a co-worker, and I have to get used to a new system. I'm much more settled today than I was Wednesday though. On Wednesday I thought I was going to have a panic attack or curl up in a ball and cry. Today I am genuinely looking forward to a new challenge. I'm excited, but still a little freaked out. I'm sure that in the new few weeks there will be plenty of freak out moments, because if we're honest, change isn't always fun.

*Luckily my boss told us yesterday that we didn't have to use sick time and that we could count ourselves present for the entire day! Now, THAT is counselor appreciation!
**The Board is like a matrix with all of our schools listed on it, which counselor is at which school, how many clients each counselor has, and how many referrals are at each school. The Board also has due dates for various reports, meetings, training days, etc.
***Let me just say, for all you corporate executives who read this blog...never preface a non-firing session with "you may want to sit down."
****There will be another counselor at the school with me, but she has never worked in a middle school either. Also, there is no one working at that school who was previously there from our corporation. We are pretty much starting over from scratch.

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