Poem: I Survived Kindergarten


Today I was a sub

and lived to tell the tale

Teaching little kiddies

Some were happy, some sad

and some who simply wailed

Since they are only five or six

new are they to this game

Some are quiet as a mouse

but some simply have no shame

Their fingers end up places

where they really shouldn’t be

sadly in holes in faces

plugging noses running free

For their tiny little sizes

their voices are quite big

And they never just stand still

instead they do a jig

Whenever asked to get in line

please don’t ask them to chill!

But the hugs they give are priceless

I couldn’t ask for more

It’s a joy to go to work

because it’s not a chore

Even though I’m sixty-two

it’s like I’m back in time

thanks to my classroom

I feel like I’m in my prime!!

 

 

 

 

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Let The Games Begin…


And so it begins again. Tomorrow is the first day of school here where I live and I will be working again, but in a more random capacity. I’ve worked there all summer, helping wherever I was needed. It was fun actually: with the halls quiet and peaceful.

But tomorrow they will be filled with the excited (and loud) voices of our returning students and the nervous, tiny Kindergarten kids. Lucky for them we will all be there to help them all handle the first day and rein in their jitters.

There are some new teachers this year too–including a man! Whoop whoop. That place needs a balance of testosterone if you ask me, so it will be interesting to see how the kids feel about him. And there is an older (like me) new long-term sub also, which I am happy to see.

All in all, it will be an interesting year. No more full-time lunchroom duty for me! Hooray!! And I also offered to sub in the classrooms, which could turn out to be a total disaster, but we’ll give it a try. Mostly, I actually enjoy the administrative, boring stuff. It’s funny because the teachers keep telling me I’m a hero for helping them laminate, staple and collate. And I think to myself: from saving lives as a paramedic to saving these teachers… hmmm?

They assure me they would have a heart attack without me. But….

I’m not so sure.

Poem: Failing


Young boy young boy

how we fail you

Blurry world blows by

brushing busy nonsense

between dark-colored lines

What do you see

when you look off into air

giant pink butterflies

fluttering near

whispering closely into your ear

please listen please listen

I’ve got something to say

But teachers just get angry

so it flies away

Why can’t you sit and be quiet

you twitch and squirm

and touch other kids

waving your arms

run around run around

you’ll never learn

Pupils are huge

you don’t seem to care

you’re sitting all wrong

with your feet through the chair

you talk too much

or you sit and stare

Young boy young boy

what will we do

we’re tired of trying

but it doesn’t seem fair

If we can’t help you

then how will you grow

Into a man

facing issues

I know

 

 

Reality Check


It is always interesting when we can have a moment where we can look at ourselves and see some aspect differently.

At work it feels like I am surrounded by many disgruntled co-workers. Or at least folks who are not really into what they are doing; or maybe they are just exhausted? They work with kids in a school, which can be tiring, especially these days for sure–but somehow I figured there would be more passion in the people there.

Instead I find a group of (mostly) frustrated, cranky, unhappy people who seem like they would rather be anywhere be where they are…and I suddenly realized yesterday, after hearing my immediate co-worker complain and whine, that oh my goodness: this was me for so many years in my last career!

How miserable it must have been to be around me! To hear me complain all the time and see my grouchy face. And to hardly ever hear anything nice come out of my mouth. Yikes. It stopped me cold when I realized how it must have been to be work with me all the time.

Because I know what it’s like to be around these folks day in and out. It’s a downer. And how must it be for the kids? We’re suppose to be models for them after all, eh? Was I able to fake it for my patients on the ambulance, because I know these educators aren’t hiding anything from these children.

It really made me ashamed of myself, that I had put everyone I worked with through all my stuff. Honestly, it doesn’t even matter if it had cause or not; I should have left it at home. Work is not a place to drag your baggage. It’s not fair to anyone around you, yet I did it for a long, long time.

These folks may have what they feel are ‘good excuses’, but really none are when you get down to it. If you’re unhappy, find something else to do. It’s hard to find other work, yes that’s true. But if you’re heart not in what you’re doing, we all can tell.

If you can fix the things at work that’s the best solution. Or maybe you can learn to suck it up and push your way through things (not let things bother you as much)…but the ultimate solution may simply be to move on…. That’s the sad truth. I finally left a career I loved because of the extraneous stuff that bugged me too much.

So, in the end, I am very regretful for all those I drove crazy with my unhappiness. It’s clear now as I can see it in others (and it’s hard to take). In payment, I’m trying to be as upbeat as I can to make this place a little brighter…

And I know at least the kids appreciate it.

Just A Wee One


 

Finally I have landed a wee job that fits in perfectly with the criteria I had listed in my head (I hope). It’s been a long and interesting year experimenting with various things while waiting to find something, but hopefully this will work.

It’s nothing much really, but that’s part of my plan. Just a little PT position in a very small Charter school working as a lunch monitor.

So here’s how it fit the bill and my way of thinking:

  • It’s Part time: It’s in the middle of the day so allows me my workout in the am and the ability to get home for the pets in the afternoon or any chores/appointments.
  • It’s a no-brainer: After 20 years of the stress of being a paramedic, I didn’t want to do anything too difficult. Yes, I know, maybe I’m being lazy, but for now, this is the case.
  • It’s NOT in healthcare: I had made a distinct decision that I was pulling out of working in healthcare altogether. This is why I’ve had such a hard time finding something I reckon. With my resume reflecting 20 years in the business, not many folks were interested in taking a chance on me for something new.
  • It’s something new!: This is the very reason it seemed cool. While it’s not some deep, difficult task, at least it’s different.
  • It’s fun: The kids are great (albeit VERY noisy) and it will be a great new challenge to work closely with this population for a change. I’ve had my own of course, but now I have 300!
  • It has potential for more: I’ve been assured it has growth potential should I want it at some point. But for now I am quite content with the hours.
  • It’s close to home: After commuting 40 minutes each way (in ice storms) for so many years, having a job very close is a blessing.
  • I’m in ‘the system’: Once I’m within the public school system (yes, Charter schools are publicly funded), there can be potential for movement.
  • I can handle just about anything for a few hours: Even if there are difficulties, it’s only a few hours a day and plenty of vacations!

So all in all, I hope this works out. My fellow employees in the lunch room seem nice too. I have no idea how I will begin to memorize the names of all these children, but hey, I’ll figure it out.

And I’ve already ordered special ear plugs that will hopefully block out some of the major noise, but allow me to still hear them when they talk to me. (I mean it is REALLY loud in this tiny room!)

But I have to say, we never lose parts of ourselves… Because as I look around at all these kids eating and talking, and eating and laughing, and eating and being silly— the paramedic in me can’t help but think:

Just keep chewing, swallowing and breathing… NO CHOKING allowed!!

 

If People Were More Like Dogs


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They would take the time to play more

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They would spend less time gossiping and more time listening

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When they were afraid, they would just go hide for a bit instead of becoming bullies

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They would take lots of naps so they would always be well rested and not stressed out all the time

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They would love other species like family

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They would smile more

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They’d be OK with their bodies

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They would learn to wait patiently and to trust

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And to forgive and forget

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They would learn to love those different from themselves

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And that love is unconditional

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That you just walk away, rather than fight if you get angry

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And that territories are defined by sniffs and pee not walls or bombs

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That most of us aren’t purebred anyway, but we are just as wonderful

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That everyone just wants a home

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That we should save our voice only for the important things

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If when we were frustrated, we took it out on our own stuff, not other’s….

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That tongues are not for lashing, but for kisses and we are each unique in our own crazy way

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And if our lives were as short and precious as theirs, maybe, just maybe we would live more fully, play harder, rest more deeply, love more expansively, trust more easily, be careful not to destroy stuff and even share all we had…. For they are gone so quickly, but leave with us lessons that we carry forever.

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So they will continue to play

And we will continue to struggle

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But maybe one day we’ll tip our head close enough to theirs so we can really listen to what they’ve been trying to tell us all along.

 

The Playground


So I’m taking this class–I’ve been in for three days and have three to go. It’s a refresher class for my paramedic. Normally it’s pretty relaxing and I don’t mind doing it, but this year it’s been stressful and pretty awful. Most of the other people in the class know each other and are from the same department. And sadly, they are very clicky and not mature enough to know how to blend in with others in a group.

Have you ever been in a situation with a bunch of adults where you can tell what kind of kids they were when they were in school? Which ones bullied other kids, which ones followed the bullies just to fit in, which ones had to be funny all the time and have all the attention focused on them, which ones sat quietly with the click but were part of it non-the-less, the young ones lapping at the heels and all the rest that would just follow the leaders in the group?

Well the guys in my class (because they are all men) are pretty much the above mentioned group. And they make sure no-one else squeezes into their circle, even if you try to be nice. It confounds me that adults continue to act like children in these situations. And the interesting thing is that the teachers of this class get sucked right in and play along. The male teacher just wants to fit in with ‘the boys’ and stands around joking with them and pretty much ignores the few of us that aren’t a part of this group. The female teacher giggles and goofs around with these guys as though they are the funniest people she’s ever heard. It’s pretty nauseating.

Meanwhile, they make sure the rest of us are uncomfortable, don’t get a word in edgewise, look bad, make mistakes, get distracted while they are talking during class and generally disrupt things. It’s lovely. You can almost picture them lurking the hallways of seventh grade….

Anyway, only three more days next week and I’ll be done. And I hope this is the last time I ever have to do this if I have my way. Unfortunately, I feel it’s people like these that give my profession a bad name. People call them heroes, but when you get up close and personal, all I see is children.