I cashed my first paycheck today, suggesting to me that I am now an official staff member of the New York Center for Child Development, and that is now officially time for me to blog again. My fellowship at NYCCD got off to a somewhat slow start. I immediately felt the relatively small amount of supervision, as compared to my position at the Character Education Partnership last year, where the two fellows make up a significant part of the full time staff who are there on a daily basis. NYCCD is a much larger organization--it oversees an early intervention program for children birth to age 3 in need of therapeutic services, as well as a special needs preschool with all of the related service providers--and as such the fellow makes less of a splash when he or she arrives and is less central to the functioning of the organization. At first, this was a little bit of an adjustment for me--who would help me set up my computer, or answer all of my most basic questions, or assign me with random tasks when my workload was light?! Would I feel as valuable of a contributor to my new organization without consistent supervision and feedback--without someone always being there to affirm my work and to tell me, "job well done"?
These are still questions that I am continuing to grapple with at times, but they have certainly subsided since those first couple of days. I am now excited by the amount of freedom I have in my new position. I have already had multiple opportunities to think about my job description as Parent/Community Outreach Coordinator and brainstorm and implement my own ideas on how to better connect the families we serve to their children's education and development. Tomorrow I am going to a meeting with my supervisor and some of our psychologists on staff to discuss our developing partnership with Weill Cornell, through which I will be serving as the primary care assistant for a psychologist screening young children for emerging mental health problems. So, the nature of my work is changing every day, and I have a certain measure of control over that--pretty exciting!