Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Update: the job front

Well...since I have promised so many people that I would keep them posted on the job happenings, I thought it might just be easier to post it all here. So, here goes:

North Carolina: I have officially been offered 2 jobs. One, I have turned down in favor of the other one. This one is currently my best offer but I would like to have as a backup. The principal and I have struck an agreement that I have until July 17 to make a decision. In the meantime, she has pulled out the big guns to help sway my mind. On the table so far: a job for Owen (he has been officially offered a TA position from a principal at another school), the ideal position for me (5th grade double block - I would teach only English and Social Studies), new technology (including a digital projector and a smart pad) and, a facility that was just built last year. Despite the fact that this school is the district's pride and joy, it remains an official backup for me because a.) I desperately want something in MI if at all possible, and b.) the pay is pretty pitiful - especially for Owen's job. On the other hand, the cost of living is much lower as well.

Florida: I have a couple of leads here. One is a job in Miramar that I have been called to set up an interview for. I will schedule that on Monday. They have agreed to accommodate me with a phone interview. The other is with a school district near Sam's godfather in Manatee County. I have applied but have had no word from them so far. We like these possibilities because the pay is better than in NC and, if we had to leave MI, we would at least still be near friends and family.

Kentucky: I have had a preliminary interview with Jefferson County Schools (Louisville) and am on hold until their staff return after the 4th of July from their summer holiday.

MI: Chances here remain somewhat slim. I have applied for jobs all over the state but have yet to hear anything encouraging from any of them. I am holding out hope for a junior high position in Marcellus that Owen's sister tipped me off about. But competition here is very stiff with the current state of our economy and its effects on public education. I am beginning to feel desperate.

That's all for now....bedtime!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

So...this is what hell must be like...

Sam has been sick since Friday. Sick with what was, until yesterday, some random, unidentifiable crud. He wouldn't eat, he wouldn't drink, he had a fever and was very lethargic. Also, when not asleep, he went into what I like to call "siren mode," continually shrieking and disrupting interplanetary communications as far away as Alpha Centauri (about 25.8 trillion miles away). Perhaps you heard him? (He is doing it at this very instant.)

On Sunday we took him to the walk-in clinic because we were beginning to worry and, frankly, we were worried about long-term hearing loss. The P.A. we saw was unable to determine the problem, but gave us a prescription for antibiotics and told us to make sure he saw his pediatrician soon.

Translation: "Um...I don't know. But here are some antibiotics so you don't feel like you wasted your money coming here and, since it could actually be something serious, you should make sure he sees somebody who actually knows what he's talking about."

Upon seeing the pediatrician yesterday, not our regular doctor but one of his partners, she informed us that, because of his symptoms and the time of year, she believes he has the Coxsackie Virus. I know...this sounds very strange and exotic. It is the more scientific name for Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. I have been telling everybody he has the Coxackie virus because nobody knows what it is and Hand, Foot and Mouth disease sounds too much like Hoof and Mouth disease that pigs and cows get and it just sounds dirty and unsanitary to me. (Actually, it is distantly related to Hoof and Mouth disease in the same viral family.)

Anyway, he has been home from daycare since then (except for half the day today at which point Owen called me and begged me to come get him) and we have been "bonding."

Translation: he cries and wants to be picked up, put down, picked up, put down, picked up until I finally put him in his bed and he sleeps for more than 3 hours at a go.

I'm not exaggerating and I would be lying if I didn't admit that I live for these moments of peace and quiet, rare as they are lately. Because of the ulcers in his throat, he is in pretty constant pain and is taking both Tylenol and ibuprofen on a staggered schedule. This makes the nights very, very long. At least his fever has broken, though.

Owen said these were the days that would remind us why we wanted to have a baby. At the risk of sounding like a horrible mother who deserves to lose her mother of the year award, I told him that, actually, these were the days that made me wonder what I was thinking in the first place. Also I told him that I was a damn fool if I ever thought I could make it as a stay-at-home mom.

Those women are freaking AMAZING...and I say that without the slightest hint of sarcasm.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

One of the best books I have ever read...

If I Am Missing or Dead
By Janine Latus

My mom bought and read this book and then gave it to me and told me that I had to read it and pass it on to my sister. I finished it last night night before bed, and just laid there, in my bed, crying for a little while after I'd finished. It is, perhaps, the saddest book I've ever read. Where this woman got the courage to share her story, I don't know. It's amazing...and it will blow your mind.

You will be horrified and appalled...and you will wish you could have done something to help too. When you finish reading it, you will think to yourself that you have to find away to help combat the epidemic of domestic abuse millions of women and children face every day, even if it's something small...take a bad of groceries to your local shelter...donate a gift card for a salon...volunteer your time to help with household improvements or staffing a crisis line.

Everybody should read this book...if you are a mother or father, a brother or sister, teacher, social worker, a woman in a relationship...even a man in a relationship.

Friday, June 01, 2007

A day in the life of a P.E. teacher

Because I am a stunning specimen of health and physical fitness...

Since finishing my student teaching and returning from Florida, I have been working as a substitute teacher. It has been interesting and I have learned a lot. Like, for example, I would rather chew off my own arm than teach kindergarten...or first grade. I love kids, and if all I had to do was play and make art projects, I would be there in a heartbeat. But teach? Meet benchmarks? Those people deserve sainthood, as far as I'm concerned.

Today I subbed for the P.E. teacher. This was also an interesting experience. I had 2 groups of 3rd graders in the morning and then 2 groups of 2nd graders and one group of 5th graders in the afternoon. I think, maybe, by the time the second group of second graders rolled through, I had finally perfected how to give them directions to correctly play my version of dodge ball and I had also finally found the balls that wouldn't send them home missing more teeth than they came in with. It only took me 4 classes! Also, I have never in my life told more kids that no, they did not need to go to the office for ice/band aids/TLC unless they were risking life and/or limb by remaining with us in the gym. In my world, "but I think I can feel the blood pulsating and pushing and trying to break through my skin" means slightly less than "my toe itches." Come on, guys, the secretaries have more important jobs to do than kissing boo-boos. I am such a hard ass...

But my biggest experience of the day had to be dealing with my first physical altercation resulting in a suspension. The 5th grade class was playing soccer - a bad choice on my part. The no-personal-contact game of dodge ball was MUCH better. Anyway, a young man informed me upon walking into the gym that he had been gone for so long he didn't remember which squad to line up with. And I kind of blew it off because kids are always trying to screw with subs and because before I could even address his question, his classmates reminded him where he should sit. I thought it odd that somebody would be gone for that long, but, well...whatever.

So then we began our "friendly" game of soccer. Which, as it turns out, was not so friendly. As I was on my way to speak to the same young man (the same one who did not know where his seat was) about the fact that he was receiving his one and only warning against calling his classmates "whore" (the next time, you're out of here, man), when he went after her, kicking at her shins with such force that both of her legs flew backwards and she landed, head-first, on the floor. He then kicked her again and in my abject terror, I did not see exactly where the second kick landed. I am not exaggerating. And the thing that was so horrific was not that he had just kicked her harder than anyone I have ever seen kick another person outside of the Sopranos. What was so shocking to me was the absolute calmness and placidity with which he executed his maneuver. It reminds me of that scene in Silence of the Lambs when Hannibal Lechter attacks the guards in Memphis (allowing him to escape) and literally beats one of them to death without so much as a facial expression, good, bad or otherwise.

After I had told him to go to the principal's office, he chuckled and smirked as he moseyed his way along. I, in the meantime, was seriously worried we were going to have to call an ambulance. But the young lady seemed to be pretty much okay other than being a little banged up. She went to the principal's office as well, and stayed there for the rest of the class period.

When I was finally able to dismiss the class, I immediately went to the office myself. One, because I was worried about the poor girl (and the office staff, for that matter. For all I know, I could have found him eating their livers with fava beans and a nice chianti.), and two, because I was mortified that such a thing had happened on my watch. I apologized profusely to the secretary (while also looking around for the principal so I could apologize to him too) and told her that I was horrified that this had happened. But she just smiled and waved it off.

"Oh, don't worry," she said. "This is the first time he's been allowed back into gym class in months. He's E.I. (emotionally impaired - and I could have diagnosed him myself. E.I. with a side of sociopathic tendencies), you know, and he does this kind of thing all the time. The normal gym teacher won't even take him if the principal isn't here to come get him when he gets kicked out." GREAT....I think to myself. This is the kid the ex football hero/gym teacher refuses to deal with and you send him back to gym for the first time with a freaking SUB???

In retrospect, I think I am quite lucky that he actually left the gym when I told him to. I wonder how my liver tastes...