Saturday, May 19, 2007


It's a little past noon, the fella is napping, I'm making coffee, and...

(that and was the Balabusta realizing that she should have heard the little teapot whistling from the stove some time back, and going to check it out, only to find that she had turned on the wrong burner on the stove. Ah well. Fixed now.)

...and the universe has momentarily stopped. Happy for it to be Shabbos.

I'm still job hunting, and I am hating it, hating it, hating it. I did this last summer, and then two summers before that, and I am tired. I am stressed. I know that as soon as I find something, the angst will go away, but until then I am angsty. And the angst is not helped by the fact that this is the year of work that emphatically got it through to me that teaching middle school in a disfunctional school environment is not for me. And I am ashamed--I should have been perfect, damn it!--and also resentful, and, well, it's not so great.

Interlude: Yesterday, I am standing on the yard doing my recess duty, when Mrs. Ukrainian Teacher, who has my angels for Social Studies, comes up to me and says "So, do you want to hear a story about Dovidl?"

Stories about Dovidl are never good news, but of course I nod, and she tells me that Dovidl, in her class, took off his shoes, then his socks, and then trimmed the nail on his big toe with his teeth.

This kid is in the seventh grade.

I am, of course, trying not scream with laughter, and failing. "What did you do?" I asked.

"I picked up the toenail in a kleenex," says Mrs. Ukrainian Teacher, "and I sent him out of my class."

Well, what else COULD a person have done at that point?

Well, according to our good-for-nothing administration, she should have dealt with it herself by calling his mother. What did she expect the principal to do about this?

The office lady and I are worried about hoof and mouth disease, or athlete's foot of the tongue, or something.

In English, Dovidl took off his shoes again. "No way, Dovid," I said. "I heard about what you did to poor Mrs. Ukrainian Teacher. You're not pulling that here."

In a classroom management book, that would have been that, but this ain't a classroom management book. His eyes glaze over, and he begins to do the fake street slang patter he does when he's being disrespectful. "Hey, hey, hey bro, yeah, uh-huh..." blah blah blah...but eventually the shoes go back on.

Note: I have had to tell more boys this year that I am not their 'bro', their 'bre-bre', their 'homie'...

Anyway, I'm glad it's the weekend.

This job was a serious mistake. The job before it was worse, technically speaking, but I was actually doing a pretty good job there, and would have gotten better, it was just that the administration didn't care for me, and refused to back up teachers with disciplinary problems. (At the VP's insistence, I had this goddamn poster up saying that the first offense was a verbal warning, second, name on board, third, lunch detention, 4th, something else, and fifth you go to the office. The problem was that going to the office meant that you promised the principal you'd behave better in dumb Ms. Bluejeans' class, and then you were released with no consequences. Whoo-hoo!)

But this one was Mission Impossible. I am teaching: seventh grade religion, seventh grade homeroom, which includes PE and all kinds of personalized classroom stuff like you get in elementary school, which I can't do because I'm a zombie, and grades 5 through 8 of English/Literature. No prep period.

I am beating myself up a lot for how badly it turned out.

The second grade teacher tells me that she thinks that the big thing in education is finding your niche. She told me about a friend of hers who taught everything--all the elementary grades, high school, middle school--and finally discovered that kindergarten was the way to go for her.

I'm trying to believe this. I'm thinking that high school might work--or even a middle school setting where I could teach one or two grades, not three in one room, or four through the day.

I'm also thinking about going back to office work for a couple of years, and going after a credential in school counseling.

All this sounds fine, except that I'm broke as hell, tired, and feel like a failure. Also, I'm turning thirty-four in a couple of months, and would like to be getting into some kind of stable position that might allow me to raise a family and put some money in the bank. And for those of you who are about to tell me that thirty-four is an absolute toddler--shut up. I don't mean to be rude, but shut your traps and don't go there. Thirty-four is old enough that I would like some kind of stability, some kind of professional reputation, and enough money to have a baby and start socking away for retirement. Smile a kindly "Oh, you'll know how stupid this sounds when you're fifty-six" smile at me, and I will go RABID.

On the plus sides--I get out of this rat trap. Mrs. Ukrainian Teacher is stuck in place for now, and not too happy about it. Also, I have a bunch of half-written novels, and maybe if I'm in a less horrible job I'll have time to write--and I think I might be a really good school counselor. Or maybe an MFT. We'll see.

I am so glad the week is over.

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