I've been subbing at both Escuela and Bloom for several months, and as the summer sidles up it's getting closer and closer to the time to make a formal choice. I can't sub forever. (Not if I want to make rent.)
I'm choosing Escuela.
Even though Bloom's teaching philosophies really resonate with me, there are a lot of other factors that make it a less than ideal workplace. The main factor that pushed me over to the Escuela side of the fence is that Bloom is uncomfortably understaffed. It's an inclusive school, meaning children with disabilities are integrated into all classrooms, which is great -- but to be successful, an inclusive program requires adequate adult support. I have had a number of hellish days subbing in Bloom's 2-3 year old room where five of the ten children have behavioral challenges (ranging in severity) and there are only two teachers. We just can't keep kids safe with those odds. There have been some sort of fairly major child-on-child violence every time I've been there, from metal shovels thrown at heads to throttling to dragging other children off high places. It's really stressful, and it's not fair to the kids. I've started to dread my shifts at Bloom. I often find myself wishing I could be at Escuela instead.
Escuela's ratios are lower than the legal requirements. It makes an incredible amount of difference to have three teachers with ten or twelve 2-3 year olds rather than just two teachers. Escuela has an assortment of children with behavioral challenges too, but it's so much more manageable with that one extra teacher around.
The position that I'm angling for with Escuela is in the infant/toddler program. It's funny, I consider the 3-4 year olds to be the most stimulating and inspiring age group to work with for me personally (with 2-3 year olds as a close second). While I always enjoy my shifts in the infant room, I definitely wouldn't want to be trapped in an infant teacher position year after year. But the position I will (hopefully) be taking is a cohort model, meaning I start with a batch of infants and then continue with them for the next two or three years as they grow up. And that sounds rad.
I've already started fantasizing about curriculum and classroom traditions.
And as a bonus, Ezra is at Escuela, so I get to keep being involved in his life for the next few years at least. I started taking care of him when he was six months old, a mere larva wriggling on the floor. Now he walks and speaks and has a sense of humor and big beautiful butterfly wings. Human growth is such a strange and magical thing. I'm so happy I get to spend my days watching that unfurling.