Saturday, February 22, 2014

Feeling good about this....for about a minute

Have I mentioned I have dipped my toe back into the work world? Since doing so I have been fortunate to get to sub a time or two here and there. But this week was the Mother of all sub jobs - a whole week - well what constitutes a full week now here in the Polar Vortex - 4 days in the same place for the same Teacher's Aide.

It was invigorating and exhausting.  I was part of the 5th grade in the morning and the 6th grade in the afternoon and in between I did lunch duty.  Overall I feel very enlightened.  I am not quite ready for Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? because obviously I am not.  (Just ask the poor girl who got a big fat goose egg on her math assignment after asking me for help.)

By the way my teacher friends, What the #%$&$ happened to the Answer Key? I thought your book was suppose to have questions with the answers written in red type underneath! At least they did when I was cheating in school.  What? Who said cheating? I said meeting, meeting with my other good holy pals in our good little catholic where we never ever cheated one little bit.

Lunch duty was the biggest challenge this week. I remember lunch being the only time that we were more or less unsupervised.  You could let your knee socks down even if it was only 20 minutes. But now they are monitored (by me?) and they have to file into the tables in the order of their line, raise their hand for everything because they can not get out of their seat, and then be dismissed by table to file back out of the cafeteria.

So on my first day of duty I kinda took a Norma Rae approach to 6th grade lunch.  The kids would raise their hand and from across the room I would say "Whatever you need - get it! Your old enough to take care of yourself."  When an awkward girl who I am sure would have been the object of tortureress barbs sat down in the middle of the jock table I went over and said "Why don't you move over here, I think you would be - have, have a little more room." Her eyes wide with fear at my lack of respect for the lunch room rules and the jocks all staring in total disbelief, I picked up her tray and moved it to a more suitable location.

By the end of my first day as 6th grade lunch monitor, the cafeteria was in total chaos and pandemonium.  There was more food on the floor than the food fight scene from Animal House.  One child ate nothing but crushed Doritos off the floor and another drank two cans of smuggled in Mt. Dew.  It was so loud that I actually had a headache after it was all over.  The Janitor just lurks in the corner with a mop half in and half out of sight.  He doesn't talk, move or smile that I have seen. Maybe he is there for intimidation because he scares the hell out of me goodness knows the kids must be terrified.  He sorta looks like a cross between a serial killer and one of the guys from Duck Dynasty.  Or is that redundant?

Needless to say I was not alone the following day.  The school secretary who is no shrinking violet stood watch with a walkie-talkie. She is a very nice lady (so I don't want to make her mad) but she could definitely take you down without breaking a sweat.   I'm still not sure who she would talkie with since she's suppose to man the office and everyone but the nurse came out to help restore order to the cafeteria.  The Assistant Principal staked out a spot and the Principal and Guidance Counselor both made an appearance.  The Janitor came out of the shadows and stood there front and center staring us all down.

I felt bad.  The looks on the children's faces was, well, if looks could kill I surely would have been dead.  I could almost hear them saying things like, "Thanks a lot lady.", "Now look what you did.", "No taste of freedom would have been better than this!"  Actually, that's exactly what they were saying, out loud, to me.

I felt awful.  I wanted to apologize.  I did apologize quietly as I went around to those who raised their hands for help.  I would smile and say "How can I help you?" and then under my breath whisper,  "I am sooo sorry about all this, I didn't know!."  That warm wonderful feeling that I had the day before leaving the cafeteria was gone. Replaced by a gnawing in my gut, thanks a lot Sally Fields! Well so much for Lunch room liberation. Maybe I'll stick to cheating. I meant teaching!! (damn autocorrect)

All characters in this blog have been changed to ensure maximum humiliation of only the author and none of the staff or students of the wonderful elementary school that is willing to employ me, for actual money.

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