I have news to break. For the past week and a half your favorite Bipolar blog personality (me, of course, har har) has been working as a Developmental Trainer for a group home! It was as if God had the job for me in mind when he allowed me to be Bipolar and OCD and then let me have a string of bad experiences that influenced me to change from a marketing major to a psychology one. With a degree and a year of experience working with the population I could theoretically apply for a case worker position. Most shockingly…I love my job. Me. Barbie. The anxious, paranoid train wreck who has chugged along through hell with dark views of the future. The idea of a career was horrifying until last Monday. Yes. I work FULL-TIME and I LOVE my job. Even better, I start my last class before my BA of Science in Psych in January. Things are coming together!
*KNOCKS VIGOROUSLY ON WOOD* (Here I go starting to terrify myself of ‘jinx-ing’ it. PLEASE EFF OFF, NEGATIVE THOUGHTS.) <–I swear I’m not even done writing this post and I had to go back between these paragraphs three times to keep adding to the anti-jinx/terror I’m having about writing this at all.
I’ve been floated to every classroom we have but am currently one of the three teachers in one of the two low functioning classrooms. We have low, middle, and high functioning clients (separated into classrooms by their ability levels), all of which live at the group home and travel a few miles by bus every day M-F to the activity center where I work as a teacher. We’re not independent of the home by any means, just a separate facility and also have 19 clients from another nearby females only group home who join us for school. As well as carrying out programs with the clients I also change adult diapers or assist with toileting in general if needed and assist certain clients at lunch time. I’m still getting used to the toileting thing. I’m just petrified that I’ll leave someone in the bathroom while I get gloves, etc. and they’ll fall or something will happen. Few clients need one-on-one attention at all times, but those of them who do have severe medical or behavioral issues and are dangers to themselves or others to be unattended.
I’ve had a George R. R. Martin novel’s worth of experiences since last Monday (he’s an author that tends to write very long books). Today, I went for my first day of textbook/classroom training at the Residence (what we call the group home, and we call the school the Workshop). We talked about Human Rights and Abuse and Neglect. I learned a lot of specifics and stories regarding the clients at our home and general state regulations. I’ve been fighting with myself over what stories to tell in my blog, but keeping a private journal of all my endeavors. Maybe next post I’ll give some experiences from that day. They’re all eventful so it’s not like I’m ever going to be shy of stories. No worries, I won’t be revealing anything personal about the clients, nor their real names. In the meantime, I think this is a good, ‘introductory’ post to this new chapter of my life.
I’ve been coming in early to work every morning to read client files before the busses get here. I’ve helped with bus duty once. When they all get here we split into our ‘core’ classes, then have breaks, more classes, lunch, more classes, some free time to pick an activity to engage in, and then back home. I generally like my co-workers. I have a passion for teaching and I’m glad I’ve got the opportunity to do it. It’s an incredible feeling to see progress in someone even over a single day’s repetitive activity. It’s also amazing to build bonds with the clients and have them all smile and wave at you in the halls. I’ve yet to experience any real maladaptive behaviors yet, but I’m prepared.
Seriously though, I’m a teacher. I make a difference in the lives of the developmentally disabled and those who also have mental illness. Time to scuttle through some ideas for tomorrow’s lesson plan!