Whew! I had a close call yesterday. I asked the administrator, during my interview when she hoped the position would start, she said, “Monday,” and I almost said, “Sign me up!”
It’s a good thing I have all of you as witnesses to my commitment of January 5. Because when I said, “My initial plan was to not return to work until January…” she said, “That’s fine! We will still need you in January.” It’s also a good thing that I have mentioned the need to only work part-time, because when she said, “It’s Monday through Thursday 8:00-3:30,” I was able to sputter, “that’s a little bit more than I was planning on.” Her response? “How does 8:30 – 1:30 sound?”
And I haven’t even told you the exciting stuff.
The school was started by a group of individuals who did a study that revealed a college graduation rate of 12% among the residents of the south Ypsilanti area where the school is located. This is in stark contrast to the 84% college graduation rate on the other side of Michigan Avenue where Eastern Michigan University is located. It’s first goal was credit recovery, but quickly shifted to high school completion. The school uses an online platform combined with project-based learning. The halls are decorated with project plans and completed projects — among them a three-dimensional replica of Fort Michilimackinac and a comparison/contrast of Twelfth Night and 10 Things I Hate About You.
The head administrator and the principal explained the fluidity of the curriculum to meet the needs of students who might be the first in their families to graduate. The administrator said, “What the students need more than anything is someone who believes they can do it.” When I asked, “So, what might my role be, would I need to come in on day one with a plan?” She answered, “They will let you know what they need. They want this. They will put you to work.”
So let me get this straight — the students, many of whom are over 17, come to school voluntarily, follow their own plan for high school completion, enlist the help of school personnel to make that happen, and display virtually no behaviors unbecoming of students? Because they know that the teachers believe they can do it and are working to make it happen?
Sign me up.
Now, perhaps I am looking through rose-colored glasses. Perhaps I am not seeing the school’s weaknesses. Maybe it is not all that they say it is. There is only one way to find out.
Sign me up.
I mean, after all, it’s not a contract. I would only be a paraprofessional. If I don’t like it I can leave. Right?
Let me be clear, here. I have not actually been offered a position, but I think it’s mine if I want it. Listen to this: I might be getting paid to encourage students to finish their high school diplomas — students who really want to finish their high school diplomas. I am also being paid, by the way, to read and respond to a master’s thesis on cheating in educational settings. And today, remember, I am going to be paid to report election results.
Remember last week when I was worried about finances and I climbed up onto my Dad’s lap to talk to Him about it? See what He’s doing?
Yeah, I see it, too.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to His power that is at work within us,
to Him be the glory.