Working with a Chronic Illness

First of all, I always wanted to be an intermediate teacher but my work in a childcare centre has given me an entirely new appreciation for ECE’s. You work extremely hard all day dealing with diapers, boogers and snow pants.

On a day-to-day basis, going into childcare is draining and taxing. But when you’re away from it, you really miss those little munchkins. (“Munchkins is a really old word that Mom’s used to call their kids,”: one of mine explaining the meaning to his friend).

Here is the problem though. Being in program means having a small group of kiddos with you, and no access to a washroom. I can’t just say, “Hey 2 year olds, are you okay while I go to the washroom? Okay great. No hitting while I’m gone.” And while I explained symptoms to my team and they have been great covering me for those breaks, when I say, “I need to go,” it probably means “I need to go NOW,” or “I’m already going.” – Gross I know.

The other problem: Being the best ECE I can isn’t possible when I need to sit down every 5 min. How can I be the best monster or encourage mini scientists when I’m winded just thinking about it. Luckily my afternoons are spent with the school age class who generally want to play board games or build Lego.

That’s why I opted out for another leave of absence. It’s very difficult to go to a supervisor and say, “I can’t work,” especially when she’s been so understanding thus far. I am so so fortunate though to work for an organization that has assured me there will be a job waiting for whenever I’m ready to come back.

And here’s what I learned most about my frame of mind. Maybe this isn’t my dream job, maybe I feel underpaid, maybe the kids don’t listen or we’re understaffed…but it’s a job. There are so many people who can’t find work or who aren’t eligible to work and here I am, employed full time. When you go months without a pay cheque you really realize how fortunate you are to have work once you’re healthy.

I said this last time I returned and I don’t feel like I did it very well so I will try harder next time. But I really need to go in with a positive attitude, thankful to just be there. There tends to be a lot of negativity and complaining but I need to set myself apart from it and really be grateful that I have an opportunity to work. Not only that but I have a job that is 6min from my house, where I get paid to play bubbles and make crafts, and then leave it all behind at the end of the day.

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