Today I write a blog for Blogapalooz-Hour. My challenge is to write a blog in one hour.
"Write about a person, place or thing that you miss."
Since about a month or two I really miss the job I used to have back in the Netherlands.
I miss my colleagues, the children, the parents and using my brains!
So, I applied on a substitute job, within our district. I never knew that applying for a job could be so difficult. It's totally different than applying for a job in the Netherlands. They asked me so many questions online, it took me a few days. A lot of questions I cannot fill out at all, because my education was very different than here. I also had to google translate a few words. During this whole process, I was asking myself if I would be able to teach, if I had to google translate during my application?!
I never give up so I continued, even when I had to scan my diplomas literally four times, before they could get uploaded. I was so happy when everything was done. I really hoped I would get a job.
In the Netherlands I wrote a letter, added my resume and waited for schools to call. I already had a job offered at the school I was a substitute and applied for two more jobs. They both invited me and I had an interview with a group of delegates from both schools. After a few days, I got messages from both schools that I could start after the summer break. I could choose from three jobs. I chose the job in which I thought I could learn most.
And I know now I made the right decision. I had great colleagues and I learned a lot! I began as a teacher of 10 and 11 year olds. It was a very challenging group, but I made it work. (In the Netherlands a primary teacher can teach children aged 4-12. You can read more about the Dutch schoolsystem here. )
After a few years of teaching I started with an additional training, with which I earned my Master's Degree. I did this next to my, by then parttime job (my first son was born) and studied in the evenings. I also followed a lot of other extra trainings about Autism, Coöperative Learning, How to deal with bad news conversations, Giftedness and How to recognize Child Abuse.
When I wasn't following a training, I always read a lot of books and was surfing the web when I needed information that could help my students. I became 'Interne Begeleidster' (helping teachers, students and parents, making guidance plans etc.) and counselor at my school. I still worked one day a week in the classroom, because I didn't want to miss this. I wanted to keep the real teacher feeling, so I could still really understand all the challenges a teacher gets confronted with, every day. And that's a lot! I also helped the gifted students and the teachers of gifted students and wrote a guidance plan on how to implement more awareness about giftedness at school.
This job (or should I say jobS?) really fitted me. On the day I teached I knew upfront what I would do that day, although of course children aren't predictable at all. On the other one or two days a week, I scheduled what I wanted to do too, but when a crying parent came in to talk to me, I dropped all my work and listened. Or if a child or colleagues needed help, I rescheduled and did that. I worked a little bit more in the evenings then. I loved it that I didn't know what that day would bring me. I loved it to think out new plans to help people.
Now I am at home, really loving and helping my kids, and boy they are challenging too...but it's not the same as the job I used to have.
My youngest son will go to fulltime Kindergarten next year and I will be bored even more. I write blogs, I volunteer at school and volunteer at a very sweet lady every week, but it just isn't the same.
I hope I will manage to really get the substitute job, and they did call me, but before I can begin I have to do a lot of (paper)work again: let a special company translate my diplomas, have to get an Illinois Professional Educator License ( which means taking tests, in English of course), a physical, a TB test, Fingerprint Authorization and Release Form, Substitute Teacher Information Form, Drivers License (Yes, I have that!), Social Security card (have that too!), Voided check (I will have that too, while the other tests cost a lot of money too) and I have to do something with all of this too: Employee must complete TRS Member Information form, Department of Homeland Security’s Form I-9, Federal W-4 tax form, Illinois W-4 tax form, Acknowledgement of Mandated Reporter Status, Substitute Teacher Information Sheet, Direct Deposit Form, Illinois State Board of Education Race and Ethnicity Data Standards form, Acknowledgement of receipt of District policies, Acknowledgement of Smoking Prohibition on District Property, Statement Covering Your Employment in a Job Not Covered by Social Security and Acknowledgement of Receipt - District Substitute Handbook. I am happy that I do have my work permit!
So now you know how much I want this substitute job, I even want to do all of that for that job! So, before I can even start filling out all that forms, I will first be studying on my English (which costs money too). I think I will be tired, broke and my wrist will hurt a lot. And maybe the schoolyear will be done by then too...
I do understand I have to speak and write proper English, but I doubt if all the rest I have to do will help my substituting get any better. And I really thought the Dutch schoolsystem is rated way higher than the American system is... I know I am a very good teacher, even without all of these tests and paperwork. But hey, I will have to do it, and as I told before I am not a quiter, I don't give up!
Why didn't I stay in the Netherlands? Getting a job there was so much easier for me! And I really hope that being a substitute will give me a little bit of the same satisfaction my former job gave me?!
I do really enjoy my time here, I love the people, the beautiful country, but I hate all the rules and paperwork I have to fill out everywhere. Can I please plant a forest somewhere to compensate all the useless papers I have to fill out? Thanks!
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