My First Job as a Teenager
My Very Fist Job I had as a teenager.
My very first paid job as a teenager was to work in a private preschool in an afternoon school program. I was fifteen years old, and it was through a school work program that they had. I recall having to go through this office and signing some papers, so that I could even apply for this job. There were some others at my school that worked at this local private school, and I was so excited for the opportunity to work and to make some money doing so!
I had worked and volunteered with children before, and done some babysitting. Other than that however, I was too young really to have much experience to offer. It was the sheer kindness of the woman that was director over the program, to allow a younger person like myself to have such an opportunity.
The First Day
I vividly recall my first day on the job, and it was both exciting and nervous. I was getting a ride after school with another girl that worked there. Actually, a few of us were all going to ride together. As things will go sometimes, our ride had something go wrong with her car, and we were stuck at the school, needing to get to the new job quickly. We all looked at each other, and decided quickly, we had better start walking! I remember feeling worried, as it was several blocks away, and we all had big backpacks full of books and homework! It didn't seem workable, yet the next thing I knew, we were on our way at a very brisk pace. It was exciting!
We got there, and were quickly shown where the time cards were. I didn't have a time card, and someone showed me how to write my name on it. A nice African American came over and talked with me, and had me sign some papers. Then said, "when you are all done with that, meet me in the library around the corner." I went to the library when I was done. She proceeded to tell me what was expected of me.
A Kind First Employer Can Make all the Difference
I recall feeling really excited and nervous both, as she went on. She made it clear I was in charge of my kids that were assigned to me. They were young, and we had a few hours to kill every afternoon. This was far from being just a babysitting job however. The director continued went on and showed me activity books, filled with everything from songs, to games, to recipes and more. She asked if I had ever done a lesson plan. I told her no, but that I could make plans every week with what we were going to do. She wanted certain things covered, and I found the challenge to be great!
We were told that for the cooking days, we could come up with suitable recipes for the kids to make and eat. That constituted the snack times for those days. I learned all about requisition forms. We could make lists of needed ingredients, and she would buy them for us. I was so young and naive, and thought this was just an amazing job. It actually was an amazing first teen job for me and others. So I learned what was to come, all on that first day. I was thrilled, and very thankful for my first job.
Unexpected Lessons I Learned
There was so much to learn and know and enjoy. We taught kids all kinds of crafts, and worked on different talents. We taught then new games and songs and all kinds of things including cooking and acting and thinking of others.
What I didn't quite anticipate was the love the children would come to have for us. That was just precious. Their parents came to love us as well. When people are in the thick of life, surviving and working and putting food on the table, they are grateful for those that help their kids in a very real way. It means the world to them to know they have a place that challenges the kids, encourages kindness and neat opportunities.
My coworkers and quickly learned that preschoolers are brutally honest at times! I had a friend that struggled with acne quite a bit. Poor thing had to answer a lot of questions about that from these children. You have to learn to both have thick skin, and also you can use these opportunities to train them in what is proper and decent and respectable. Teaching them in love to be kind and seek out the good is a great thing to share with these young minds.
One day, one of the sweetest little girls was crying, and I didn't know why. She had been lashing out, and not herself. She shared with me later that she was mad and sad about her long lost twin brother who died at birth. She needed help in understanding some things, and needed to vent. She cried a little and I could help in calming and comforting her. Once her mom came, could share with her what happened. It was things like this that made me feel like I was helping others
and creating fun on the one hand and really helping them in other areas.
The other lesson was helping in conflict resolution as needed. Then you would see them move on and get back to playing or whatever it was we were doing.
Thankful Then and Now
All in all, we had great fun together, and I am so thankful for that first opportunity to work in childcare. I loved seeing the children's eyes light up when we would be cooking or discovering something new together. Later in life, I worked as a sole pre kindergarten preschool teacher and it was a sheer joy. My first job and schooling in early childhood education helped in that job I held later.