By Lauren Carufel-Wert — Well, my job as program leader for the Madison Public Schools Recreation Department didn’t last.
At the end of the first week — on that Thursday — I was done with all of it.
Earlier that day I had been punched in the knee from breaking up various fights and had a chair dropped on my foot. I couldn’t keep going back day after day knowing that there was no support for my co-leader and I and that things wouldn’t get better.
We — my co-leader and I — had tried to see if we could switch a student out from another class, but it would not have made a difference, as it was about 4-5 kids that were causing the most trouble in the classroom. I was not trained on how to break up fights, how to work with physically aggressive children, and felt that I couldn’t do it anymore. I left everyday drained and exhausted and would go home and vent to my parents and to my boyfriend over Skype. I knew that the program, although it was only 6 weeks, would no longer work for me anymore. I couldn’t go and snap at the kids or my co-leader and I felt that I was getting far too close to that point with little chance for a reprieve.
I made the decision to leave, and it was one of the hardest I ever had to do. I knew there was a chance that it was going to get better; but, considering it was only 6 weeks, I thought it would be easier to leave earlier on in the program than later.
However, reflecting on the experience has allowed me to realize some new things about myself.
For instance I discovered that I really enjoyed working one-on-one with the kids who did have the disabilities. I loved talking to them about what was making them angry and how I could help them. As a result, I’ve begun exploring the idea of becoming a counselor or child psychologist.
So, as taxing as this experience turned out to be, I am thankful that it allowed me a new perspective on my future and my skills.