The previous post spoke to that which I will miss as summer vacation's door softly closes. Melancholy reigns. And, indeed, life goes on. What is waiting as the 2012/2013 school year comes creeping in?
For one thing, over 500 hundred children are waiting. Anyone who knows me, knows that I get a kick out of the kids at my school. There is some powerful connection between children and me. The little kids (say, grades K though 5) are easy for me. I'm not their teacher, I'm not their parent. Mostly, for little kids, I am the good cop. I am a friendly adult who smiles a lot and is uber enthusiastic about their accomplishments. I also really hammer my role as safe keeper. That is a powerful position to hold in the world of children. I take that responsibility seriously and am very public about it. I will follow up with any concern from any child, no matter how ludicrous it might seem. I like making the world feel safe for little kids.
One of my favorite responsibilities is as the staff advisor to the GSA (Gay/Straight Alliance). We have an active group of kids who want to make our campus comfortable for all students, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, athletic or scholastic abilities, "coolness", whatever. It is a blast to work with them. I mostly use my role to educate the group and to facilitate projects on which the kids want to focus. They have three goals: to educate themselves and others around issues of tolerance, to support all students but especially those who might feel disenfranchised, and to have fun. We meet at least weekly at lunchtime and I look forward to the new year with them.
These things with kids make sense but what else waits? There are political issues on the horizon (including a parcel tax on the November ballot). There are more funding issues and tricky concerns like the declining student population. There are committees that deal with drug and alcohol use among kids in our town or who address truancy issues for kids in this county. Clearly, there are lots of meetings ahead. These meetings can be interesting and they can feed my need for involvement and creating change. I get frustrated and discouraged with the world today but often meeting with like minded adults to work towards change can be uplifting. I look forward to that.
What else? There is something pleasing about having a scheduled work week. Each day has its own pluses and minuses (though not so many minuses come with Fridays). I have a cadre of pals among the office staff and the teaching staff is generally a friendly bunch. There is humor on the campus and support in times of stress. The give and take among the adults offers intelligent comment, laugher, warmth, and cheerfulness. It's not always like that but, overall, the balance always seems to come back to those places . I keep this reminder on the wall near my computer for the times when all hell is breaking lose: Amused Detachment. I do look forward to the banter and the discussions.
So goodbye, summer vacation, hello productive new school year. I am grateful that I have a job that satisfies me, that presents me with a monthly paycheck, one that allows me to indulge a few interests as well as pay the bills. I am grateful to have a job that also allows me some breaks, some opportunities to refresh and renew. Stepping off the solid ground of summer and onto the treadmill of productivity and responsibility, I remain