What Works For Me 66/365 Making Lemonade

The quote below borrowed from Facebook sums the last couple of weeks up pretty well.

You know how you can be terminated at any time during your first six months probation period without any reason being given?  That happened to me about ten days ago.

There was a charade of having a “meeting” and discussing reasons but until that day I had never heard of anyone being terminated because the father of a child in their care couldn’t find child’s shoes that were right outside the door (in the right place) and the mother got mad.  There were other “reasons” but they were just as trivial as that one so I won’t waste any more blog space on them.  So in the course of three days I had my employment terminated, I had to go back on the following day and pack up all my gear which totally filled my car and then return again the next day for a farewell morning tea – another charade of sorts carefully engineered to be held when as few people as possible would hear about it in time and scheduled for a time when the majority of parents would not be able to attend.

This will sound bitter and it probably is but don’t let anyone tell you that childcare in Queensland is about the best interests of children and parents.  It is all about the bottom line.  It is a way of companies making maximum money by paying the lowest possible wages – even lower than the award in many cases – and employing down trodden workers who are too scared to speak up about their rights or the way they are treated.  If they do speak up and question things (like how one centre could cut a person’s pay to $3 less per hour than they were getting for doing the exact same job in another location) they run the risk of bullying and reprisals.  There is a union for child care workers but they don’t join for fear of “upsetting” their directors.  It’s a shame because the “Big Steps” campaign is growing momentum throughout the country but if child care workers are too scared to be in unions how can it succeed.

I had an awesome 9 months being a Kindergarten teacher and I don’t regret my time spent with my beautiful preschoolers for one instant – it was so much fun!  At school, one starts with a list of things that have to get done in the day.  In early childhood I started with a list of things that might happen and then sat back to see how the day unfolded.  It was challenging and exciting to see where the children’s learning led us.  We sang and read stories every day.  I not only taught songs and rhymes to my preschoolers but to many other staff as well.  The other staff knew I was a good source for good books to read and ideas they might not have thought of.  We started a garden after being directed to by management and then with no other support apart from parents it flourished with carrots, snow peas and rocket growing everywhere.  I saw most parents on most days and so knew that we were delivering a program that fitted with the needs and interest of families.

My practice has been greatly enriched by contact and support from children and parent of many different nationalities.  I learned even more of what it means to “fly by the seat of your pants” as a teacher and was exhilarated by it.  Last but not least, I had the joy of working with a dedicated, loyal assistant who was blooming as an educator before our eyes.  I won’t keep going because it’s still a bit “raw” except to say that I will never work in child care again.

I want to be an Early Childhood teacher but I will only contemplate doing it in a school setting where my work is valued.  So for now it is back to supply work, continuing to sell Avon and looking for some students to tutor.

In the spirit of “what works for me” there have been some things that have worked in past week or so.

  • Getting out of bed.  It would have been much easier to just stay there on many days but after working so hard for the past 6 months I didn’t want to lose momentum.
  • Having a to-do list.  It is a massive one but it gives me a starting point when I literally can’t decide what to do next.
  • Getting out of the house.  Rather than move from the bed to the recliner, I’ve been out somewhere everyday – to the shops, to Church, to knitting or to drop off and pick up Avon brochures and orders.  And I’ve been talking to people, not necessarily about my employment situation, just about whatever is important.
  • Having something to look forward to.  A few months ago we had a kitchen flood (burst pipe under dishwasher) and lost SEVEN appliances including and slow cooker and rice cooker.  We were given a hefty store credit to replace them and it became even heftier when we found we were getting the goods for cost price.  Seven new appliances were delivered on Tuesday and I’ve done a lot of playing since then.  Lots of fodder for more “What Works For Me” posts there.

So if you see me out in the street and we talk about my job I will still look a bit sad but there’s nothing I can do about it (or indeed could have done) so my focus is on moving on.  Might make it into the Rio Olympics in weightlifting.


3 Comments on “What Works For Me 66/365 Making Lemonade”

  1. jodieodie says:

    You have been doing an amazing job Tess. You have really been heroic.

  2. Wendy says:

    Tess, I am in awe of you. Seriously.,

  3. Andrea says:

    Us parents knew you were doing a great job Teresa, as our kids would talk fondly about you at home and what they did during the day. It is a pitty the center has a crap boss who continues to get way with her bullying her staff. Parents have complained, me being one and nothing has been done, the center truly don’t value great staff and good parents who give a dam.
    And trust me I have seen countless great staff leave leave that center over the past 5 years and all due to ONE person! But she is paid bonuses on the bottom line takings and the corporate group who run the center just happily take our money and hope we don’t notice the little things going on. Us parents are wiser and more in tune to what is going on than they think! What ever school gets you will be lucky and I hope you get the right job soon 🙂

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