Thinking back to my experience after my first child was born, and looking realistically at our household finances, I decided I would take more.
As I told my fabulous boss, "I would rather not be here and want to be here, then be here and not want to be here." Make sense?
Now, as a side note, I am a terrible stay-at-home mom, so this isn't about me wanting to stay home with my baby. I had no problems putting my first in day care. The problem was trying to be engaged and happy for my class while utterly exhausted. Trying and trying to find a location to pump and finally resigning myself to pumping in my car (3 times a day). Wincing as I squat down to help a kiddo because I still had pain from giving birth (moms, you know what I mean here...)
I decided to take the remainder of the school year off and return full time next fall.
So once I made my decision, I was faced with this issue: does it make sense to have a kindergarten classroom for one quarter and then find a long-term substitute for the last three quarters?
No, it didn't make sense. After all, the first quarter in kindergarten is all about setting tone, establishing routines, learning rules, and community building. Teaching, in the traditional sense, does occur, but the nitty gritty begins 2nd quarter. Why would I establish a relationship with 20 five year olds and then abandon them?
So here I am. I am a kindergarten resource teacher. Our numbers have absolutely exploded this year so there is plenty to help with. With 9 kindergarten classes, someone always needs help. This first week has been a challenge as I tried to make sure each kinder went home the right way. Some of you might be a bit bug-eyed right now thinking, "that's a challenge?! Shouldn't that be EXPECTED?!" Well yes. It should be. But we have 200 kinders, most of whose parents don't speak English and seem not to understand the need to pass along important information. Trust me, boggles my mind each year. "You're looking for your daughter? Well she's on the bus because that's what you wrote on your form at Open House. You changed your mind? Oh, well, I didn't get that message..." Or the child that jumps bus lines for fun. You get the point.
After this week, I will be helping with small groups in our K classrooms, helping with testing, and just being available to help the classroom teachers where they need it.
It's weird. My colleagues are deep into the first week with their classrooms getting to know their kids and establishing routines, while I find myself crazy busy one minute and then aimlessly wandering the next. Sometimes it is good weird, and sometimes not.
But I know once I establish a schedule it will be better... and when I sit back and think about it, or when I am waddling down the hall, I think this will work out just fine.