My first day with kids in my new job, I was astounded by how easy my life was. We had done a lot of work ahead of time to prepare for the first day of summer school, and I figured the up-front planning was just going to make my life great. Everything went more or less as planned, teachers didn’t need any help, and for the first time in years, I didn’t have anything to do. I wandered from classroom to classroom, watching people teach and leaving positive sticky notes about whatever good thing I’d caught them doing. I realized that I could hypothetically be napping in an empty room and nobody would miss me. I felt very self-satisfied with my ability to get into every single classroom and I went home with no prep work to do for the next day.
It was amazing (or appalling, depending on your perspective)… but it turns out it was also ENTIRELY the universe’s version of a joke.
Since that day, my life has been a whirlwind of complete insanity, mostly because it looks like someone changed my job title to “Person Who Deals With All The Shit That Hits The Fan.” In just the last two days, I’ve had to handle the most random list of mini-crises ever. A kid’s mad that he got a consequence. There is a fire in the maintenance office. A teacher needs help dealing with a suicide threat. Parents need to be called to tell them their kids are staying late for detention. A kid hates school and is trying to escape from campus. A parent is mad that a teacher laughed at her kid. A new girl doesn’t speak a word of English and needs to know where to go. Parents need to be called to find out if their children are skipping school. A kid flipped off another kid and yelled rude things at her. A teacher needs help filing a child abuse report. A kid is having a family emergency and can’t do any homework ever. The list goes on… did I mention that was just two days?
I regularly manage to start a day with nothing on my calendar and end the day never having had the chance to eat, sit down, check my email, or accomplish everything. I also regularly have days where I’m scheduled to be in lots of meetings and miss every single one of them… or manage to be there only in 90-second stretches… or show up just in time for everyone to leave. Today, I really desperately wanted to sit in on a teacher’s observation debrief, so I left behind all methods of communication and literally ran, while no one was looking, to hide out in the teacher’s classroom before the meeting started. Despite that, someone still managed to find me (“I was looking everywhere for you!”) and drop an issue in my lap that I promptly had to leave to deal with. There went my thought that I could hide out and sleep.
We all know that I really do like being busy, and I wouldn’t have survived a week if my job actually looked like it looked on the first day. I’m just not yet used to having to Deal With so many things and not having any control at all over how my day plays out. I’m at the mercy of emergencies and children’s (and parents’) mood swings, which is both exciting (I’ll admit it… I might love this) and intensely frustrating. It’ll be interesting to see how this evolves as the school year plays out.