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    My first career
    By 1st year teacher

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    My first career was as a Child and Youth Worker for a private for profit company that ran several group homes for dual-diagnosed youth. I worked with children who were severly damaged emotionally and intellectually.

    This job was stressful! These children were the ones who had slipped through the cracks of our system. They couldn't function in a foster home, or live in most group homes. It was a very physical job, lots of physical restraints needed daily so that children did not hurt themselves, their peers, or staff.

    The extreme behaviours I had to deal with helped me when it came to classroom management. When little Johnny says the F-word, or refused to complete a task it's a piece of cake to deal with. It beats being physically assaulted (punched, kicked, bitten) by emotionally damaged adolescents. This is my first year teaching and dealing with typical behaviour "problems" in the classroom seem like a breath of fresh air. My class is very well behaved, I have not had any behaviour problems at all. I believe this is because I have dealt with the worst types of behaviours prior to entering the teaching profession.

    I do not miss the stress, lack of support from the company bosses, the shift work, the long hours for low pay. I'm in Canada, so the pay I make as a beginning teacher is far above what I could ever make as a Child and Youth Worker. I'm happy. I love my vacations. I love having evenings off. I love having weekends off. I love not returning home from work all bruised up.

    The only thing I do miss is the kids. The kids I used to work with just touched my heart. Sure they were violent, often times the boys were sexually offenders, but they were special. They were survivors. They had horrific childhoods which I would not wish on my worst enemies. They survived so much, so to see them have their successes (even tiny ones) was so satisfying.

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