I’ve been ruminating and fretting away of late, about the fact that I am now professionally qualified but am still “languishing” in a paraprofessional role. I have various reasons for this, not least of which is the fairly pants job market coupled with the fact that where I live there are many big fish in small ponds. My former mentor once described this city as “where ambition goes to die”; it’s a small city and very nice, all touristy-like, so people settle here, as have I. Competition for jobs here is fierce; when I pursued a PGCE umpteen years ago we were warned that we were unlikely to get teaching jobs here, the phrase that always crops up is “dead man’s shoes”. Well, that’s ok, it just means you have to try harder, and I do my darnedest. The main reason that my career is slow to get going just now is the fact that I’m a mother, I just can’t commit my whole life to the profession which can be tricky when so many can. But that’s ok too, that makes me a more rounded person and frankly we’ll all be working till we’re seventy by the time I can retire so I can afford to take my time. A wise chap once advised me to under-promise and over-deliver when I’d been guilty of the reverse in my fresh-faced keenness, I can’t say I’m completely cured of that yet (I did just accept an invitation onto another committee yesterday!) but I’m much more realistic about what I can and cannot do in the finite time and energy I have.
But what I wanted to take the time to do here was to take a step back and appreciate the benefits, I’ve experienced, of being a paraprofessional, after having been one since 2004 (yikes):
- you get to talk to service users, which I love
- you don’t have to worry about strategy and budget and five year plans and mission statements
- you don’t spend all day on personnel issues
- best of all: you get to handle the stuff!!!!!