Today I had a job interview for an assistant position at a different kind of school. It is a school program that is provided in a children's hospital to the patients, and also to their siblings. Sometimes families travel from far away in order for their children to be treated at this hospital, and if the ill child has siblings, it would be a difficult choice to either leave them behind so they can attend school, or bring them along and have them miss a lot of school... and this way they can be with their families, and also keep up with schooling.
I thought it was a very interesting position that would bring me some new challenges and experiences. It is just for an assistant, but it sounds like the position would give me a lot of opportunities to be working with kids. The only thing that I sort of don't like about it is that it means working with kids up through high school. Not that I don't like kids in high school. It is their school work that I don't like! I can do algebra. I am pretty sure I can even do geometry, if I brush up on it. But once you get kids who are taking Trigonometry and Calculus... Uh-uh, I am not the one! I am hoping that won't count against me.
I think I did pretty well on most of the interview questions, which were pretty standard for an assistant position. But there was one that was harder than others.
The question was, "Would you be able to accept and tolerate the death of a child as part of the job?"
I have no idea if I would be able to accept and tolerate a child dying. It has never happened to me. I assume if I do get this job, it will be inevitable. In a children's hospital, no matter how great it is, children occasionally die.
But how can you say, "Yes, I would be able to accept and tolerate a child dying." How can anyone accept and tolerate a child dying? It seems jaded and sort of cold-hearted to be able to say, "Yes, I would be fine with that. That would not be a problem."
On the other hand, would I want to avoid working with certain children just because they could die? That seems sort of cruel, as well. Anywhere I might end up working, a child could die. A child could get hit by a car, or get a serious illness, or even be the victim of severe child abuse. It could happen. Anyone who works with children is taking the chance that a child they care about could die.
You also guarantee yourself the experience of caring about a child who is going through some other sort of horrible experience... neglect, poverty, abuse, etc... and not being able to do anything about it. You get to know a child, you try so hard to make a difference in their lives. And more often than not, they eventually disappear. They get whisked into foster care, or they go with their mother to a domestic violence shelter in an undisclosed location, or the parents just suddenly, randomly decide to move to a different town. You don't get to say goodbye. No, they're not dead, but in some ways that can be just as bad, because they are out there somewhere, and what if their next teacher doesn't keep a secret stash of snack in the closet so they can have something to eat at the end of the school day because that is probably the last thing they'll get to eat until school breakfast the next day, or what if she punishes him for not finishing his homework and she doesn't care that the reason is because he had to watch his little brothers and sisters until his mom came home from work at midnight, or what if she doesn't know to check him for weird cuts and bruises on Monday mornings because weekends tend to be dangerous? And there's nothing you can do. That is hard. I've gone through that plenty of times, in each and every place that I've worked with kids.
So no, I don't think I will be able to accept and tolerate the death of a child. But I will deal with it. I'm not going to avoid a job because of it. If I actually get hired for this job, I will take it, and I will care about all of the children, and if some of them die I will be very sad. But I'll still go back the next day, and I'll find a way to be alright.
Aaaaaaannnyyyywaaaaaaayyyyssss... The only thing I have going against me for this job is the fact that I live far away and will have to get there quickly. I told them I will need at least a week to pack up my stuff and go out there. I would be able to stay with my Auntie Em and Uncle J for a week or two until I found an apartment, if need be. But we'll see what happens.
Third day of NaBloPoMo! So far I'm on a roll!