I am writing on a Wednesday and I have no idea why because I'm utterly knackered, as they say across the pond. Teaching small children in a poor, urban setting is very similar to running one's self repeatedly through a meat grinder all day, then getting up at 5:15 AM to do it all over again the next day. All for the low, low price of a few doughnuts, some paper clips, and a donated pack of copy paper which has been opened and has 25 sheets left.
Are you interested at all? Do you care what I go through from the second my alarm goes off til I lay back down and close my eyes to do it all over again? If you do, please. Allow me to enlighten you.
5:15 AM. My iPhone goes off. I bought a $5 alarm at Target to get myself up on time, but now I just like the iPhone's alarm. Since I charge it on my nightstand at night. So it goes off, and I grab it and try to remember if I'm supposed to tap or swipe it to get it shut up for about 8 minutes. It shuts up for about 8 minutes. Then it goes off again and I make it shut up for 8 more minutes.
I think there's possibly some human evolutionary reason for why people don't just set their alarm for the time they absolutely need to jump out of bed and get going, but I'm sure the 1%ers who run evil Corporate America are behind this.
5:45 AM (because after I wake up, I check the following, in this order: email, texts, facebook, twitter): I finally drag myself into the shower, and mourn my life as the water pours over my aching, nude body. I mourn, for the 10 billionth time since summer vacation ended, my choice in careers. I think about shaving my legs, but nobody cares and so why should I? I do shave my armpits, though, because I think armpit hair is just unnecessary. Ditto for you, gentlemen. Really, why homo sapiens haven't evolved themselves out of it at this point, I don't understand.
6:00-7:15 AM: a bleary blur of coffee, a banana, a mind-numbing drive to work, the Dunkin Doughnuts drive-thru for a bagel/coffee, and sitting in my work parking lot, willing myself to get out of my car and just do it, just DO it, go in and get the day started and over with. Rip the band-aid off and Go. In. The Building.
7:20 AM: I do it. I get out of the car. I go into the building.
7:20-7:45 AM: 25 minutes of sheer panic about all the shit I needed to get done the afternoon before but didn't have to energy to do. And now that I'm fresher with more energy, I have only 25 minutes to get it all done, but it's at least an hour's amount of work. I kick myself in the ass again, for not being born with the Time Management gene.
7:45-2:45 Teaching. Acting. Singing. Dancing. Going to meetings that talk about meetings we're going to have later. Teaching. Acting. Singing. Dancing. Cutting and pasting. Dealing with the one kid who uses every mere scratch for all the attention he's not been given since exiting a womb. Teaching. Acting. Singing. Taking children to lunch and getting them ready to eat, then having about 15 minutes to inhale my own lunch and possibly remember to pee, which I have not done since 5:45 AM. Then teaching, singing, acting, playing games, cutting/pasting, giving three boys very firm looks, saying, "Are you serious??" about 200 times because I just gave those directions 10 other times, telling the one kid to stop asking me to spell words because I'm not a dictionary; go ask some neighbors or use your phonics. Teaching, acting, singing...then out to a playground to stand, exhausted, under a hot and humid Georgia sun that beats down on my head making me wonder if this is exactly what life was like for someone who had to pick cotton and not because they wanted to.
....did you know teachers are essentially all actors on stage, for 8 hours a day, Monday through Friday? For children's entertainment, encouragement, and enlightenment. Some years, like this one, you get a mostly attentive, mature audience; 99% of them know to keep their cell phones off and listen politely even if the monologue isn't really their taste. Other years, like last one, you get an audience of peasants, who throw rotten tomatoes and fecal matter at you as soon as you open your mouth to say your first line. Teaching is not for the weak.
2:45 PM: Meetings. I probably already had a meeting during the brief 45 minutes they give us each day to get stuff done except since Education "Reform" took over, they've decided teachers shouldn't be getting stuff done - they need to meet more and talk about what to talk about when they meet again. And then, at least one or two days a week, they have a 2nd meeting in the afternoon to talk about what they talked about meeting about when they talked about meeting about what they're going to talk about meeting about the next time they meet.
Or I'm sitting and trying to gather my exhausted wits about me and figure out what to do the next day, and how to prepare for it. Gathering up all the materials we didn't have time to get to that day because some meeting interrupted something or I had to give a state-mandated test and it took 35 minutes longer than I was told it would, or I had to manage that one girl who threw up all over her neighbor's desk because her mom decided to send her to school with a stomach virus and a temperature of 101.5 F.
4:50: Give up. You win, Defeat. I've been sitting here answering emails, trying to pull this information together for that person, trying to get that piece of teaching in place finally but I don't have to the energy to, and I still haven't even started teaching Word Study; how the hell are they supposed to learn to spell if I never have time to start teaching Word Study?? Fuck this, I'm going home. Thanks for the paycheck and stuff, but seriously. ...What Fortune 500 VP who manages a team of 25+ people has no time to pee all day? Because the last time I did that was 5 hours ago after inhaling some type of over-processed bit of carbohydrates in about 10 minutes.
6:00 PM: if Miss M is with me, we go home and I make some sort of...dinner? And then I insist she does these foot exercises - she has stiff Achilles heels, and one thigh muscle is weaker than the other, so it's causing running gait issues and C wants her to run the Boston Marathon when she's 18 or whatever. I took her to a Children's hospital on recommendation of her pediatrician, and I won't name the hospital, but I will say they usually serve the indigent so when they see people like me coming who aren't indigent and actually have insurance, their eyes light up in delight and they begin rubbing their hands together in eager, evil glee and their name rhymes with Children's Shmelthspare of Badlanna. But that's all I'll say.
Two hour physical therapy consultation that lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes and consisted of a bunch of questions M answered with infuriatingly flippant answers and some running down a hallway. At the end, I was told she'll probably have to wear big moon boots for 6 weeks, followed by leg braces for 6 MONTHS, and then steel inserts for god knows how long. Or, here, you can take this sheet I just printed off the Internet for you that I Googled and maybe try this for about 6-8 weeks, bring her back, and we'll see if she can bend her feet back 1/2 an inch or so. Oh, and here's your bill for $1100 and by the way, your insurance only pays 1/2 of that. We'll charge you that again when we see you in 6-8 weeks. Hope you don't have to eat or anything. Have fun!
8:00 PM: bath for M, wine for me.
8:30 PM: Miss M makes me watch Full House for 30 minutes, and then she's out.
9:00 PM-11:00 PM: I try to get some of my own writing done, but my brain won't function now. So I head over to social media and enjoy other people's far more interesting dramas and lives.
Rinse and repeat.
I'm sure there are other ways to go about doing this. I'm sure I could take a time management skills class and they'd tell me I'm just not making enough lists or setting my alarm frequently enough, which would cause my blood pressure to rise to near-death levels as I imagined punching them repeatedly in the stomach. I'm sure I could get better at delegating, but then I'd have to grit my teeth when everything turned out fucked up. Or I could take a course on focus. One of my favorite actors likes to play tennis - he says it makes you focus, which he needs. Maybe I could take up tennis (except then I'd have to manage fitting that in somewhere in my crazy life).
I'm just so tired. And disorganized-feeling. People walk into my classroom and my house and go, "Amy, you're so together here!" And I always tell them: "But you can't see inside my BRAIN!" Inside my brain is frightening place to be. Also, I'm a Pisces. We are notorious for shoving shit into closets, corners, under beds, etc. Don't look in our crevices; you will see shit in there from 1985 that will make you question everything (EVERYTHING) that is good and innocent.
I also don't have a lot of time to manage other people. When I start managing 20+ people all day? Plus my own kid at night? Listen, I don't have time to help you figure you out. Man/Woman up and make it work yourself or go find someone else to beg, whine, plead with. I am EXHAUSTED. Please do not bring me one single thing that will exhaust me more; I will hurl myself off a precipice.
But you know what I'm about to do right now? Finish this pizza with green peppers and olives and this Corona Light I'm drinking. And then I'm going to go pop open another Corona Light and get in the shower. Because I saw on the Internet the other day that there's this whole concept called a "Beer Shower," which at first I thought was when you stand in your shower and pour lots of beers over yourself, which I GET why someone would want to...but it just seems like an awful waste of good hops and all that. But then I discovered NO! It's starting a hot, steamy shower and standing under the water with a cold brewski in your hand, enjoying not being environmentally conscious and encouraging your own alcoholism, all at once.
I'm fitting that in between folding laundry and paying some bills. Because time management.