A week of training

FreeImageWorks.comDay 1. Planning. I don’t really do it. But sometimes I have to. For example, this week, I have to be in Lansing for a training. Every day. 8-5. A few nights I will spend there, a few others I will commute home (1.5 hours each way). So because of my lack of time at home, and the mandate to dress professionally at the training, I decided to lay out everything I was going to wear for the week. I figured out what would be good for each day and rotate my black/grey/neutral outfits with a few of my bright colorful ones. So Monday morning, 6:15 am, I load up the car and am ready to hit the road. I run back in for my cup of coffee set aside in a travel mug and as I climb into the car, spill coffee all over myself. I had planned the exact outfit to wear, the exact time to leave, the exact amount of coffee to keep me awake but not shaky and one small move changes everything.

swearing-at-workDay 2: Our day was broken up into 2 sections. Morning ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) and the afternoon, Legal. The legal piece was lead by an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney who has been a lawyer for 15 years (she reminded us often) and she looked the part. Navy blue suit, nylons, mega heals, perfect make up and hair, brief case, etc. One of the points she was drilling into us early in the afternoon was professionalism. DON’T let your workers wear flip flops to court. (She said 10 million times). Don’t let them role their eyes at the judge or come unprepared and make sure their non verbal’s are respectful. Got it. Check. (I am a pretty casual person. The dressier someone is, the more intimidated I am. I like to put my feet up, wear jeans and usually don’t iron, but I know when I need to be professional. And I can do it well) But here is the thing. She spent the entire 4 hours swearing like a sailor. Like the really big ones and combinations of them. She even said “huha” a few times. She might has well have been wearing flip flops as “professional” as she sounded.

Day 3: Rain man. Remember that movie? His ability to memorize numbers and repeat them over and over again? This is what training was like. Or even a better example…

Testing-anxiety-copyDay 4: Test anxiety. This training had a test at the end. If you fail, no job. I don’t take tests well. I got an 18 on my ACTS (that’s not good) I did not even pass the MEAP. (that goodness it was a trial year and scores did not count). And I was so anxious about passing this test and knowing the right information that I think I learned less than if there was no test. Plus, tests just prove you can regurgitate knowledge. Not that you can apply it. Everything I memorized and was tested on are answers I can find in a manual. I may be able to tell you what number form needs to be sent in to determine the tribe of an Indian child who has ancestors in Canada, but we never looked at the form, practiced filling out the form or knew what happened when the form was submitted…

fostercare18Day 5: I realize that I know so little of what I need to know I am afraid to go to work on Monday! I also learned that I learn much better in a shadowing, doing environment and am excited to go to work on Monday so I remember that it is possible for me to learn and to do this job. And finally I learned that despite the hundreds of pages of law and policy, and the dozens of people involved in one foster child’s case, and the amount of money and resources available to help children and families, we still see children suffering. And I am so proud of my staff and my agency who fights hard for these kids. Who see solutions and find resources. Who build relationships and go the extra mile. In despite the learning curve I am going through, I am thrilled to be a part of this system. I am honored to fight for these kids, and I am humbled to learn from the best.
fostercare photo


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