Remember when I subbed for a day at the school I used to work at? Well, they offered me a job. Afternoon teacher in the 2.5 – 6yo classroom – AKA the job I was asking for before I left! When I worked at that school (let’s call it Forest Montessori preschool), I was the float teacher. I already explained why that job wasn’t right for me in a previous post. But I powered through it, because everyone told me that float teachers always got promoted to an assistant teacher role. Plus, I loved the kids and the Montessori teaching method. Once it came time for summer school, I applied for an assistant teacher position and got it. I was happy, but I still needed to know what my position would be in the fall. I didn’t want to go back to being the float teacher. I heard rumors that the afternoon teacher in the 2.5yo classroom was leaving, so I told management that I would be interested in that position if it opened up. They told me they would let me know if anything opened up, so I waited. Months went by, and I didn’t hear anything. Soon, it was summer and I had to decide if I was going to stay and be the float again, or look elsewhere. I chose to look elsewhere, and I secured an assistant job at a newly opened Montessori preschool. It wasn’t until the end of the summer program that management informed me of some open fall positions, but they were all part-time or limited-term. At that point I felt comfortable with my decision to leave Forest.
When the summer term ended, I had a full three weeks of free time for my wedding and honeymoon. It was awesome. Unfortunately, as soon as we got back from our honeymoon, I had to dive right into a new job. It was a lot to take in. When I got hired at the new school (let’s call it Flower Montessori) I thought I would be working with ages 2-3 in an older toddler classroom. Apparently, a lot changed since then. They ended up putting me in an infant classroom. Infants and toddlers are very different, and I had zero experience with infants. I was clear with the Head of School about this, but they were seriously understaffed so I had to stay put. After a few weeks, she moved me to the primary classroom. That was an improvement, but only slightly. Working at Flower Montessori was very stressful. It was a lot different from Forest, even though they were both Montessori schools. It didn’t have the same positive environment as Forest. Maybe it was because they were short staffed, but all the teachers at Flower seemed stressed out and, as a result, unwelcoming. There was very high turnover and many teachers (myself included) changed classrooms. No one wanted to work in the infant room, so the infant room was understaffed while the primary room was overstaffed! Forest also had a cleaning service, but Flower did not. A lot of my teaching duties involved serious cleaning. When I moved to the primary classroom, I was doing all of the cleaning for the entire day! I hardly had time to interact with the children.
Even when I had only worked there a month, I was already fed up. My job title was assistant teacher, but I felt like a maid. I was working more hours than I did at Forest, but I was getting paid a lot less. My boss said that if I wanted to keep working there, I would have to get a Montessori certification. I started to dread going to work every day. I felt terrible for wanting to quit my job again (I’ve had a lot of jobs since I graduated college), but it felt like my only option. I had already talked to my boss about my concerns, but things hadn’t gotten better. At that point, I had to make a choice. Should I try to go back to Forest, where I would surely get the same pressure to get Montessori certified? Try to work at a different school and risk another bad work environment? Or try to get a job in Communications, where I could finally use my hard-won degree? I decided that since I had already been teaching over a year, it was now or never if I wanted to try going back to the Communications field.
I’ve already been talking way too much, so I’ll skip the part where I got my current job and how awesome it is. I’m finally in a place where I could see myself working for a while. Long story short, Forest gave me a generous offer, but it felt really good to say “no thank you!”