Although today was my first official day, there was a 2-3 week process leading up to this particular milestone. Weeks prior to the end of the spring semester, like many college students, I wanted to make sure I had a summer job; something to put a little extra spending money in my pockets. I knew I didn't want to work retail again - it just wasn't for me - and I knew anything in the food industry was a no-go. I know that knocks out about 90% of jobs for college students huh lol? Well, I wanted something different!
On my 4 hour trip back to Dallas from school, I was thinking of other places I could possibly apply to. It wasn't until I was about 40 minutes away from home that I had an epiphany! I love children, so why not try to work at a daycare center?! Right then and there I pulled out my iPhone - I should have waited until I arrived home. I do not recommend, nor condone, internet surfing/texting and driving, however I just got to excited - and I Googled daycare jobs in my area. The first thing that popped up was a job opportunity as a teacher assistant with Bright Horizons at a location near my home. I didn't want to waste anytime filling out an application if the position was no longer available, so I ended up calling first to make sure the opportunity was still there.
Let me tell you... As soon as I called, the supervisor I talked to was so excited that I called in to inquire about the position that she wanted to set up an interview right away! At her request, I told her a little background knowledge about myself: being a nursing major, loving children, being CPR certified, etc. She was so excited she had to pump her breaks and make sure that she gave me all of the necessary info on how to fill out my application online, but she ensured me she would bump my application to the top of the list. Now mind you this is Friday, May 22nd when I called - the first job I inquired/applied to at that - and she scheduled me for an interview that following Wednesday! How crazy?!
Fast forward to Wednesday, May 28th, I had my interview. I made sure to pull out my Olivia Pope all-white attire and it was surely noticed by my interviewer (the same woman I spoke with on the phone). The questions were lengthy and detailed, but I answered them to the best of my ability. I left my interview a little nervous that I may not have been qualified for this job enough because the questions were really geared toward teachers! I am just a nursing student in college. I really started to doubt myself. This wasn't just your ordinary daycare, I had come to learn.
"Bright Horizons is leading provider of early education and preschools, employer-sponsored child care, back-up care, educational advisory services and other work/life solutions." Included on the "Forbes' 100 Best Companies to Work For" list, Bright Horizons has over 800 centers all over the world, including locations in Canada, the Netherlands, and India. Many people have the misconception that childcare providers are simply a fancier version of babysitters. This is so not the case. Bright Horizons strives to ensure that education and their H.E.A.R.T. principles drive their programs. This company has a dedication to promoting diversity as well as to providing service in the community with their Bright Spaces, College Coach, BUCA, and EdAssist programs.
With that being said, I was wondering how someone like me could just come into a program without prior teaching experience and a minimal amount of childcare experience (outside of all the babysitting I did throughout high school and my brief time spent at various daycare centers during my nursing clinical rotations) and scoop up a job like this. I mean, this center was located inside of the JC Penney corporate office!
I patiently waited until the following Monday, June 2nd and then I got the call. I landed the job! What a blessing! Then the tedious work of becoming a new employee began: fingerprint testing, CPR training, first aid training (both of which I already had because of nursing school, but it never hurts to brush up on your skills), background checks, an 8-hour orientation session, etc. However, today I was able to walk into the center as a new employee! Boy, was it a day.
There was so much to learn and so much to see. I was immediately led into the infant room. There were two teachers and 8 babies. They tried to the best of their ability to explain to me everything I needed to know: each child's name, preferences, center procedures, the whole shebang! My head was spinning but I tried to keep up. I cared for each baby following the lead of the teachers. I spent the first 5 hours working with the infants (which is where I found out today, I will be assigned to for the remainder of the summer) and the last 2 hours or so floating from room to room observing the other classrooms and filling out my orientation workbook. It was tough to say the least, but I think I held my own. Seven hours later I am finally home and ready to just go to bed.
Although I know my strengths are with children 3 years and older and not necessarily infants, I am up for the challenge. I expressed my concern with the supervisor who has been extremely helpful throughout the process, and she believes that with the right instruction I can succeed in the infant room as well. Now that I have accepted a full-time position (A decision I made right before I started because the hourly pay is pretty darn nice for a broke college student and I have nothing else to do during the day lol), I know my days will be long, yet rewarding. I pray that I quickly get into a routine and that caring for my classroom with the help of the other teachers, will become second nature to me. I'll pray about it and leave it with God. For now, I am just grateful for the opportunity.
I will try my best to update you all on how I do within the next few weeks! Wish me luck!
Kierra Nicole <3