I have an interesting position at the school I work in. I am not “classified staff” although my time sheet has that heading on it. I’m a certified teacher but my position only requires a certain amount of early childhood credits, not a credential so I’m not paid at a teacher’s rate – but receive a bit more than an aide. My title is Early Childhood Specialist and as a “specialist” I am lumped together with others who have responsibilities that require special training but not necessarily a certificate – custodians, cooks, some of the district office staff.
Being in this position of limbo between the two tiers that dominate educational staff, I sort of have a foot on both sides of the door, so to speak. The way I report and record my work time, and the way my position is staffed if I am sick or gone is in line with those who are para-professionals or teacher’s aides, but my responsibilities and obligations regarding professional development and my response to students and the community is more like a teacher. I attend staff meetings and am expected to participate in district directed learning at my grade level or whatever the kindergarten or primary teachers are doing.
Except for the part about the money, (and sometimes that is hard to forget,) I like having the flexibility of serving in different ways. Sometimes I do things that are in line with the teachers, sometimes my duties are more similar to an aide, sometimes I do work that is in a category all by itself. Such is my work this summer at our summer school program. I worked with the principal to come up with an outline for the program, sort out the responsibilities of the staff that signed up to work, established systems to support the flow of the week and purchased supplies. I showed up the first two days to help with tie-dying t-shirts and problem solve with bus issues, the serving of snack and using our 6th grade helpers, but now I get to let it go – and go on vacation.
I plan on going out each week to touch base and will work the last week to interview each student and compile photos or other memorabilia, but my responsibilities are minimal now that the program is up and going. I feel honored that my principal valued my interest, ability and previous knowledge about our past summer school efforts to figure out a way to create this minimal position for me in the program this summer.