The Jobs I Have Had

What jobs have you had through the years? Here are mine:

My first job was babysitting. I was well qualified, being the oldest of four and frequently called on to help out with my siblings. So on my first paid babysitting jobs, of course I was paid well. I got a whopping fifty cents an hour!

I moved up on the pay scale in high school. During my junior high school years (whoever heard of middle school back then?), I learned American Sign Language at my church. By high school, I had enough practice to get jobs as an interpreter for the deaf. I made an unbelievable $15 an hour. I mostly was an interpreter for college classes. What a great experience! The most eye-opening assignment was to interpret for a union meeting. My hands shook to try and convey the rough language. Thankfully, the person I was signing for quickly told me to leave out the bad words!

I had a job as a secretary for the Community Service Agency for the Deaf. It was a salary position- $6,000 a year. A lot of the phone calls I answered involved using the TTY, a phone on which deaf people could type. Spelling was not always a strength of the person calling, so it could take a lot of detective work to figure out some messages. My boss grew up as the hearing child of deaf parents. I learned a lot from his unique perspective of both the hearing and deaf worlds.

In college I worked in several professor’s offices through the work study program. I had to use the ditto machine- you typed the notes, syllabus, or whatever on a double sheet that had purple on the back of the top sheet. Then you pulled it off and attached the sheet to the drum of the machine and used a handle to spin it around and spit out the copies. Purple hands were a common result of that job. One semester I worked in the admissions office. They had an amazing new typewriter, the selectric (computers were not yet heard of in homes and offices). You could program in a form letter, and it would start typing, then pause for you to type in the part that was different, like the name of the person the letter was going to.

I worked in three schools before I got my teaching license. In Valdosta, Georgia, I was an aide in a Title I program, teaching phonics and doing comprehension assessments with kids who answered questions like “Where do pork chops come from?” with one word- “Uptown.” I was a substitute teacher for the Indiana School for the Deaf. I missed a day or two of working before someone explained to me that the person who made the calls for subs was deaf. He would state the job available, then put his kid on the phone to see if you said yes or no. I was living at home, and my parents had been hanging up on the calls. I was an aide in the DODDS elementary school at Yokota Air Force Base in Japan. I worked a split shift- 2 hours in the morning, home for lunch, then 2 hours in the afternoon.

I had one restaurant job. I think that is the hardest job I had! I was the main food prep person- not cook, just food prep. Cutting and plating cakes and pies, washing and wrapping potatoes to be baked, washing heads of lettuce, banging them on the counter to loosen the core and pull it out, chopping the lettuce for salads, peeling and chopping the other ingredients, and making the “fresh-brewed” tea which was really made from powder. On occasion, I had to run the dishwasher, too.

For many years, my main jobs were wife and mom (first as foster mom, then adoptive mom). I did a lot of volunteer work during those years. I was a tutor in school programs and community adult education programs, and I taught English as a Second Language to adults in church and community programs. I was the coordinator of the ESL programs in two churches, one with more than twenty-five classes.

I started my current teaching career as a full-time sub in my first year with the district. I taught in more than 40 schools, K-12. I wonder how I did it! Now I am in my 14th year as an ESL teacher. I was in the district office, ready to sign a contract for another position, when someone came in and said, “Wait, the ESL Director wants to speak to you again.” I had interviewed for ESL, but there were no openings. Then someone had resigned unexpectedly. I got my dream job!!

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This entry was posted in memories, SOLSC March 2015, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Jobs I Have Had

  1. Jennifer says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. It was so much fun to read. And you have such a body of work, what lucky students you have!

  2. BSoltero says:

    Sounds like you have had such an adventure!!!! It got me to thinking of the jobs I have had over the years, not near as many as you but each still holds a special place in my heart! Thanks for the post!!

  3. What an awesome collection of jobs! I loved working in a restaurant! Do you still do anything with sign language? I would love to learn!

  4. newtreemom says:

    I sometimes still sign at church.(We have a couple of members who are deaf. Years ago, we had a large group. Our church bus went to the state school for the deaf to bring kids to Sunday School.) At school, I do a read-aloud of the picture book Handtalk and help kids learn the manual alphabet and some signs.

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