life as a substitute parapro

These past few weeks have seen very few blog posts and many busy days.

With new jobs (yes, plural), and a few long-term goals achieved (bed loft at last!), I am settling into what looks to become a busier and invigorating stretch of life.


In the life-goal and new job category stands the fact that I am now a substitute paraprofessional.

This means that I travel all over the city to different schools and walk through their doors with almost no knowledge about what I will find inside, what I will be doing, or who I will be working with. I could be supervising recess all day, working one-on-one with a single student, assisting a classroom as a whole, or, as my first day turned out to be, walking the halls of an unfamiliar school, slipping into classrooms, and helping where ever and however needed. 

Essentially I am a professional drop-of-the-hat multi-tasker.

life as a substitute parapro | seekthewelfare

This is work that I have wanted to do for years and here I am, doing it, all across the city in all sorts of nooks and crannies in the system. It is essentially all that I love about a classroom and all that I find frustrating wrapped into a beautiful worthwhile ball. 

Seventy five percent of this work is shutting up and listening. Over and over again I found myself speaking too quickly or too broadly because I hadn't just stopped to pay attention. 

I think I will always remember watching one of my coworkers sitting at the cafeteria table across from a fifth grader. The boy was frazzled, exhausted, angry, and frustrated. The hubbub of the cafeteria swallowed up his screams and shouts and the man just sat , maintaining eye contact, his face relaxed and focused on the whirlwind in front of him -- a strange pool of calm in a sea of nervous and fearful energy.  That is what I want to learn how to become.


Terrified and encouraged all at once, I finish days feeling exhausted and excited. There is so much to do and so much to learn and I'm impatient to improve. For now I'm grabbing onto the wonderful encouragement that I can't be perfect.

The best I can do is work to get better at loving those around me and that is exactly the kind of goal I want to throw my life energy at.