Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Things I Do Now that I Work at a Desk

I used to be a "classroom teacher" which means my day was like this:

5:45am roll out of bed and stagger in a state of exhausted delirium to the kitchen where I'd make a good deal of noise preparing cereal.  Get dressed in the dark and put my hair away in some sort of frizzy ponytail because I went to bed with it wet.  Go to work.

If it is post winter break, I will have gift cards to coffee establishments and, if I am running early and it is cold, I may get coffee or tea.  

7am: arrive at work and start up computer (Windows XP for the win).  Make tea if I did not already procure a hot beverage.  Usually this tea is throat coat because usually I am either sick, allergic to school, or vocally exhausted. 

7:15 computer is ready.  Kids start arriving for homeroom.  I make copies and generally stagger around with my winter coat on, getting ready for the day and "warming up."  Literally.  I have to go through my emails and permanently delete a bunch because my mailbox is probably full.  I try to respond to the various parent emails and hope there's no "crisis" (kid got a B).

7:45 school starts.  Interact with children.  Tell them to stop doing that.  Tell them to sit.  Tell them this or that anecdote.  Try to get them to look at me and not Fredrick the mouse who lives in my classroom.

9:30 prep/parent meetings/snack/gossip with fellow teachers.  Prep is THE BEST especially when there's a surprise snack of some kind.  It can be LIIIIIIKE one hershey kiss, I'll still be entralled.  My whole world is food.

Teaching and stuff.  We write poems.  Or read books.

12:45 lunch which I eat at my desk while various students wander in and out of my classroom.  I almost always have yogurt and carrot sticks because it was all I could grab at 5:45am.

Teaching and stuff.  We perform Shakespeare.  Or write dramatically ironic fables. We do plays about grammar.  

2:00 advisory: kids do hw while I try to do work such as grading and/or prep and/or administrative stuff one always seems to have to do.  Kids with no hw do my bidding.  This usually involves counting books or making snowflakes out of coffee filters (which are the best material for making snowflakes, fyi.  I'm sure this fact has changed your life).

3:00 rehearsal for the play (Dec-May).  Sometimes I have a snack if I thought of it or if MAGICAL SNACK MOM brings me one.  I yell things at children like "THE WATER LOOKS CLUMPY!"  "SMILE BIGGER!  YOU ARE IN LOVE!"  or "DIE CENTER!!!!"  A play happens.  There's singing and dancing.

5:30 shuffle in the darkness to my car and head home. This is the only time I am alone all day except during my drive in. 

6:00 So tired.  Eat peanut butter and maybe go to the gym.  Grunt to husband about my day when he prods for details and stories about awesome, nerdy children. Sing parodies of whatever play we're doing to Ruby. 

8:00 shower and become one with the couch. Watch TV until I become unconscious (9pm).  Get carried to bed (I love you, Doctor!).


Now I have these snippets of jobs scattered throughout the week.  8-16 hours of this involves me, in an empty classroom, at a desk, doing administrative work.  I generally interact with others 1-2 times a week and these others are never children.  So, here's my day:

7:10 am: wake up either because I've set and alarm or Doctor gently (suuure) wakes me after he showers.  Leisurely shower, make coffee, and breakfast, which is almost always oatmeal but, if I didn't preggo hate them so much, might be eggs and toast or something exciting like that.  Drink coffee
(one cup a day oooh livin' on the edge) and read the internet.  Get dressed and run a brush through my hair which looks fine because it's clean and/or recently blow dried.  Sing commercial indie pop to Ruby.  Have a conversation with the Doctor.  Look outside my window (it's LIGHT out).

8:10 leave for work.  Talk to Booberry in the car. Take instagram pics of Mt. Hood if it's a clear day while I'm at stop lights.  If I feel special and/or wealthy today, go to Starbucks and buy myself a tea and muffin.


9:00 arrive at work.  There is no one waiting at my door.  Children are safely in their own classrooms and not camping outside their lockers. My classroom is sometimes home to meetings or book fair, but generally is uninhabited.

9:05 fire up Macbook which I hate because, as the manual says, "it's just like a PC except everything is slightly the opposite." Read facebook on my phone.

9:06 computer is ready to go and all my emails/docs are open!  Read the one or two emails I have.  Look at the to do list on my google calendar.

9:30  Have completed to do list.  NOW, I have the following options:

1.  read files: there are three file drawers full of various things my predecessor printed out.  Some of it is research on gifted education that EXPLAINS MY CHILDHOOD TO ME (oooooh I was such a cry baby because I was SMAAARRRT) which I kinda like reading.  And also obsolete records of past kids and A LOT of prints outs on none other than Harold Bloom, who wrote about educational philosophy and who most people don't reference any more (with notable exceptions).  Usually this is what I do for most of the day.

2.  Listen to music: I like to listen to my "solo piano" station on Pandora because it makes me feel smart and dramatic, like I'm in a Victorian novel or I'm Emily Dickenson or someone, but I also like to listen to my "John Williams" station which makes me feel like a JEDI.  Sometimes it stresses me out, though, especially when Hans Zimmer starts BROOOOOOOMing.

3.  Try to gather information about my job.  If it's not in the files, this involves emailing various people I've never met.  They are all very friendly and helpful in their responses and I feel guilty for being such a clueless freak who doesn't know anything about this school district.  I also need to do things like count books and don't have any minions to do it for me which makes me sad.  I want to make some snowflakes but there doesn't seem to be an audience for them. 

4.  Eat.  My whole world is food.  Today I had a precious Starbucks muffin which I placed on the heater to keep warm and dutifully waited a full hour before consuming it.   I'm not even hungry!  I'm just bored snacking.  The plus side is I can pack healthy snacks that are good for fetuses.  The negative is that I pack spagetti o's and goldfish crackers along with apples and yogurt and fill up on those awesome orange foods first.  Orange foods are the best foods (orange cheese, orange juice, mac and cheese, those candies that are little orange slices).

5.  Desk Exercises.  So much fun.  The problem is I have this window by my door across from my computer which people are constantly walking past, so when I want to do embarrassing exercises like squatting (butts are never bigger than when they are squatting...and my butt is bigger than usual due to my loose hips and excess snacking), I go over in this little corner where I don't think people can see me.  If someone were to come in, it would be WEIRD.

6.  Internet "research" (#5 took a bit of sleuthing), and general email upkeep.  I used to NEVER answer personal emails or manage my junk mail.  Now, my inbox is SQUEAKY CLEAN!

7.  Come up with reasons to leave the room.  Technically, this counts as "desk exercise."  But, I try to make sure that I do not combine bathroom, printer, microwave, and trolling for surprise snacks in the teacher's lounge errands.  These are now individual errands to be spaced out throughout the day.

4:00 pm: Congratulations, self!  You have now worked an 8 hour day!  You are now done for the day and are free to go.  No homework, grading, or panicked emails from twelve year olds to answer.  Just go home and live your life.  Like most people do. IS THIS REAL LIFE?

Does my new job sound amazing?  I suppose it does to many folk.  But I'm used to NEVER BEING ALONE and never having time to be organized.  As a result, I am highly efficient and tend to either rush through tasks or just plain complete them before my allotted time is up.  And when I get home now, all I want to do is chat and interact with people as opposed to grunt and curl in a ball and sleep, which means that I have to leave my house sometimes or people have to come over and I have to wear pants.  Somehow I'm still tired at the end of the day and look forward to becoming one with the couch.  Funny how that works.  Do I miss my glamorous teacher gig?  Yes, quite.  Even Fredrick.  Do I concede that my life right now is pretty cushy?  Sure, the two peppermint patties I just peacefully ate without any children asking me to give them candy can attest to that if they weren't inanimate and in my belly. 

And that, my friends, is the perfect way to end this post.  DEAD PEPPERMINT PATTY!

Sorry, didn't mean you...