First week in a new job

Very exciting news!

I finally have a teaching assistant job in a school!

Regarding  the interview I had for the job, I felt that it went horrifically. There were so many questions to answer. Some of the questions I felt as if I gave a somewhat decent response, but most others I was not confident about.

One thing which is a frequent struggle with my social anxiety is being given a question I do not expect and not sure how to answer. My brain simply vacates the premises and words spurt out which are not completely coherent, the word ‘like’ being the word I use most. This happened too often during the interview. Either that or I repeated myself, using the same instances a couple of times. I came out of my interview feeling awful about how I answered questions and started questioning my life choices, thinking I would have to get an office job or something.

However, by some miracle, I got offered the job later that day!

I have been working at the school for a whole week now, and so far it has been alright!

As I am considering going into a career involving education, I wanted some paid experience working in a school for a year (in between graduating and going on to post-grad study next year).

I can safely say already, I do not want to teach. Despite being set on being a teacher throughout my degree, I now look back like ‘Why did I ever want to be a teacher?’ Excluding the fact that it is extremely stressful and hard work (I don’t handle stress well) and involves thinking on my feet if a lesson isn’t going to plan (Also not good at that). Excluding those reasons, it involves talking to an audience of children (Which I am terrible at!).

I think it was just something I knew would be a massive challenge for me with my social anxiety, but I wanted to help children learn so much that I was willing to take on this challenge. Although, I have learnt from my experience working in a fast food place during the summer (which I quit after 3 weeks and many breakdowns by the way) that having this anxiety makes me unsuited to certain types of jobs, unless I get some miraculous therapy.

At the present time, I am considering going to study a masters in educational psychology. This would hopefully lead into a research career, writing psych journals on educational issues and interventions in school, conducting the actual research myself. Which is basically what I did for my dissertation for my undergrad, but in more depth. This way, I feel I can make a contribution towards education, but it wouldn’t be as anxiety-provoking for me. See it as the ‘behind the scenes’ in education.

I think I have started to accept that I have a certain personality and I may not be able to change that. Therefore, I can play on the strengths I actually have and use those to bring forward something good, as well as feeling at ease in whatever I go on to do.

Back to the actual job I have now, I have mixed feelings about my time there so far. I much MUCH prefer this job to working in fast food! But then again, I think anything would be better! It’s great to be paid for something which should actually benefit children, rather than feeding them greasy burgers.

Everyone I have met at the school seem super friendly and welcoming, even the students seem mostly pleasant (although it is only their first week of school so there is time for troublesome behaviour!). Talking to the staff, and even the kids sometimes can be a struggle because of how I am as a person. Seriously, I need some training in how to have a casual conversation with someone without feeling nervous and self-conscience! But it’s a good job everyone is friendly.

My teacher who I work with is also really friendly, and very passionate about her job, and the students seem to like her. However, I feel rather anxious around her as she expects a lot from me. Since she knows about my pretty decent grade in my educational psychology degree, she wants me to give her feedback on her lessons, telling her what to do better, and just generally any ideas I may have about specific students or lessons. She basically doesn’t want someone who will just follow orders and quietly get on with things (which is what I’m best at!)

I really find it difficult to speak out and give my opinions on things. Honestly, most of the time, I can’t really criticise her methods as I think they’re what I would have suggested. But telling her that I like them doesn’t convince her so I have to think of things which could be improved on. I have to learn to take more initiative as well, as she has told me this a couple of times. I find this hard too because if I do things I haven’t been told to do, I panic that I will get yelled at for it or I’m doing everything wrong. I have been making a few mistakes with things too, small things such as photocopying something wrong or doing jobs in the wrong order. But I hate doing things wrong, because I think about it for days, even weeks after, it’s so frustrating.

However, its a new week on Monday. I’m still getting used to how the school runs, I still need to know the names of a lot of students, but I have a better idea of what I’m doing this time around. I will try to be more initiative and more honest and open to my teacher. Hopefully I can really enjoy myself and make at least one child succeed at something. That would really make this all worth it.