One of the Baptist blue-hairs from the church we share marched up to one of the teachers and me. Hands on her hips, she pointedly asked the teacher what we were doing in the fellowship hall. New Student Luncheon. She then turned her wrath on me, and hoping to deflect it, I smiled and asked how she was doing today.
“Are you a new student?” She asked
I looked her straight in the eye and waited for her to laugh. Or say she was joking. Or something. Surely she didn’t think that… we were surrounded by sixty kids all wearing navy blue or white polos, khakis, and plaid skirts. I was wearing black pants and a striped top. Shoot, I was wearing eyeliner. If I was a new student, I would have been in the corner trying to hide the fact that I didn’t look like anyone else.
After ten seconds of silence and an intense stare down, I pasted on my sweetest southern smile and said “No, I’m the guidance counselor.”
I’ve been back at work for roughly two weeks now. My kids came back last Thursday and it’s been a whirlwind of activity since then. I’ve made more of a conscious effort to get to know the teachers in my building… on average, they are all about twenty years old than me. Most of them are in their sixties. They all eat lunch in the teacher’s lounge, and last year, there were only enough seats at the table for the teachers. So if I ate in there with them, it meant that I was taking someone’s seat at the table (and I thought lunches were only nerve wracking as a student). I spent 98% of my lunches last year in my office with a book or a TV show on Netflix.
This year, I’m changing my game plan. Some of the teachers have left and been replaced by men. The male teachers rarely eat with the group in the lounge…honestly I don’t know where they eat, maybe outside? In the gym? That’s a manly place to eat, I geuss. Regardless, there’s a spot at the table for me and I’ve come to look forward to lunch alot more.
I really thought I would be bored stiff, working with all these “older” ladies. But I’m not. I’ve found that I’m actually kindred spirits with most of them. The teachers at my school love their families and their kids, and want to spend time with them; but they also are professional and have a career as a teacher. It’s the balance that I never really thought about until I started working in a school. If this past summer has taught me anything, it’s shown me that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop working (in some way, shape or form). I find too much fulfillment in having a purpose outside of my duties as a wife and (eventually) a mom to let me do just those things. Now, will I stop working when I have kids? Yes, at least while they’re young. But I’ve already begun thinking about contract work involving home schooled kids which will allow me to have my own hours and work from home. I’m getting ahead of myself though… and I’m way too happy at my current school to think deeply about much else. To round out my discussion on my coworkers: they’re cool cats. And they have really awesome pasta salad recipes.
Lastly, and completely unrelated (Monty Python: And now for something completely different!), I have found yet another incredibly entertaining event at my school to take part of: drug testing. It joins the live action Oregon Trail game and the Egg Babies as one of the best parts about my job.
We do the pee-in-the-cup test. I offered to help this week because our office administrator hates it and I’ve always found this stuff fascinating because I’m twisted. Plus, I wanted to hear all the crazy stories from the drug tester dude. What I wasn’t expecting was how embarrassed the kids would be about it. Guess it’s the super high threshold of bodily function awkwardness that comes from being married to a surgeon and talking about abscesses at the dinner table. Realizing that they were miserable, I jumped on the bandwagon and proceeded to make it even more so. Greeting the kids as they walked in with a big smile and a very loud, “Good morning!!!! Welcome to drug testing!!!! Aren’t you glad to be back in school?!”
The kid have to remove everything from their pockets so we know they don’t sneak someone else’s urine into the bathroom. Bless his heart, one of the boys thought it was like going through the airport scanners and asked me if he needed to remove his watch. I told him that if he had managed to hide two ounces of someone else’s urine in his watch, that he deserved an A for effort.
Per usual, the kids were great and there weren’t any issues. It makes the job and the teasing alot more fun when there are good kids that you don’t have to worry about.
Next up? Homecoming week is at the end of next month, and we have a field trip scheduled for November. But before that, we have a week at the beach to celebrate our one year anniversary. Maybe I’ll ask the teachers for some beach tips.