Wilder in Real Life: The First Job

Lauren Wilder

As a new contributor to The P3 Power Boost , I would like to introduce myself; my name is Lauren Wilder and I like go by my last name. I am a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a degree in English. Currently I am located in Kinston, a small town on the eastern part of the state, with hopes of escaping the nest. My installment will be about me venturing out into real world, first job, the dating scene, friendships etc. I hope you find it insightful, entertaining, or maybe even heartfelt. Welcome to my life.

It’s been a little over five months since I’ve graduated from school and I’ve already been through two jobs, you’re probably already thinking ‘is this girl out of her mind to go through jobs in this economy?’ Well let me give you a rundown to my road of unemployment. Some recent graduates keep their current jobs or go back to old jobs at home until something better comes along. That’s pretty much what I did; I came back to waiting tables.

I found my first job at a charter school to be a kindergarten teacher. I didn’t have a teacher’s license, so I became a permanent substitute to learn the ropes and to see if I could rule out a teaching career. Guess what? It was reaffirmed that I did not want to be a teacher. At the time it was a step up from gravy stained uniform and late night Epsom Salt soaks. It was what I felt I deserved since I busted my hump 4 ½ years, great pay and promise of benefits. What I didn’t deserve was the way I was treated at the school. I was the youngest teacher and I had big shoes to fill with the passing of the teacher. I had a drive for a challenge, but this wasn’t what I bargained for.

I didn’t receive proper training, had an inattentive mentor, and poor communication from administration. My training consisted of preparing report cards and doing assessments, that’s it. No matter how hard of a time I received, none were the fault of my students, but I wouldn’t leave. So, they fired me. What did I do to get fired? Simply put, I stood up for whom/what I believed in, myself.

 My mentor lacked tact, professionalism and organization, and was flat out disrespectful; she addressed me like I was 5 years old. For example, in the middle of a math lesson she yelled out suggestions from her chair or got up and took over. I understand I was learning and I had to have a mentor, but are you really going to stop my lesson because you don’t like it? She never held a comment until the end of the day; it was always in the moment.

Now I can take criticism, but my problem was she did it in front of the students and what were they thinking? ‘Miss Wilder is just like us.’ Sometimes you have to just agree or just don’t say anything, no matter what. I’m 22 years old and my generation was brought up to stand up for ourselves. I had an advisor in administration who I saw twice the whole time I was there. Maybe I should’ve made the effort or maybe they should’ve kept their promise of what the presented to me in the interview.

I was told I’d be entering in a nurturing environment (good for new teachers) and that I would be receiving training before entering the class. All of this seemed like it would be scheduled, printed out with a time line. Let’s say we played everything by ear…everyday.

When I was fired, I was sent home in the middle of the school day after I stepped aside and let her take the reins. While giving myself a minute outside after I had been disrespected for the umpteenth time, this time in front of a parent, my mentor came outside to tell me to come back in. I asked politely for a moment and she persisted with bashing me for leaving the scene, but again I asked for a moment. She didn’t like it and said, “I am giving you a moment.” I told her she wasn’t and then she hissed, “Why don’t you just go home for the day, just go home.”

Later I got called back and that’s when they broke the news. They felt my mentor and I couldn’t work together. I defended myself saying it was possible we just had to have strong communication and I was more than willing to make it work. I have scheduled meetings with my mentor, but they didn’t work. A mentor is supposed to guide and I didn’t receive that. I kept trying to recount to see what I did wrong, but now I’m leaving it alone. I was the person who I presented in the interview and I made sure I tried my very best not only for the sake of my job, but for children who lost their teacher.

 Everything is a learning experience so I’d like to share. First, I need to do research on the company that I want to work for, talk to employees and people in the community. Secondly, never go for a job that sees you as a new car that they can’t afford (bad budgeting), but they buy (hire) anyway. Third, I deserve respect period, but I need to pick and choose my battles. Fourth, something I already knew, you can’t change someone’s mind of what they think of you. Lastly, it’s not the end of the world.

The administration decided to use an alternative termination, budget cuts, with a letter to prove it; I guess the administration felt that there would be some backlash if I was unable to find a job. Smart choice, however I’m not easily hushed. So here I am sitting at my computer with multiple windows for job searches and I’m thinking this has to be a blessing in disguise.

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