Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Health Report, Year 2: Week 19

If this economy gets worse, I'm going to become a 'bo and ride the rails. I need to save up to buy a laptop so I can blog about it. Kind of a mobile Grapes of Wrath, I guess.

Yeah, money was my big problem this week. I only get paid twice a month and it's hard when you don't always get a lot of work in a couple of weeks. All the work I did over the last couple of weeks doesn't translate into dollars until the end of this month. Some days, that seems like a long time...

About that sub job I was doing; I met with the school's principal on Wednesday, and we talked about me staying on longer (Thursday and Friday were conferences, so Wednesday would've been my last day). She talked to me right after I started and said that she was trying to get subs assigned just to her school, but was having no luck. I had hoped they'd be desperate for people and let me stay, and that's the way it's worked out. She asked if I could do it for two more weeks; I said I'd stay until the end of the year, and she was very pleasantly surprised by that. She put me in the system and I'm there until the last day of school, 30 May (or the week after; there were a couple of snow days, so it might be 4 June by the time they're actually released for the summer furlough. And I'm thrilled to be there; I love the job and I love the kids and the kids actually like me. In fact, one kid (it was Augie) found out I might be leaving and yelled "Noooooo!" on the playground. Kind of gratifying, I admit. I'm glad I'm getting along with most of them.

They also put me in the first grade for my first hour. I've been scheduled to come in at the time when the teacher I'm subbing for would normally be on break, so I had nothing to do for 50 minutes. Now I'm in one of the first grade class, and that's kind of interesting. One of the problem kids I'm with, Muttley, is a real troublemaker and something of a born liar; when I discovered he had something that had been taken from another student, he said "Someone must've put that there to make it look like I did it." And when I found something else he'd taken from the classroom, I asked him how he got it. "I just found it," he said. "Where did you find it?" I asked. "Around," he said. Ouch. First grade and he's already got his path; I'm being as firm as I can be and making sure he gives things back and apologizes. He's got an answer for everything, though, and he thinks he's really clever. So far it's been a matter of knowing he's done something and gently undermining his explanation of "finding" things. I hope by the end of next month he at least understands the difference between finding things and stealing them.

There's another girl, I'll call her Pebbles, who is practically following me around, which is both off-putting and adorable. We do something called Book in a Bag, where the students take home one of the books from the classroom (it makes me happy to see this overcrowded, under-resourced school has a ton of books in every classroom). They read the book, then bring it back and explain the plot to the teacher and read a few pages. I was doing Book in a Bag yesterday, and Pebbles read her whole book to me (it was exceedingly short), then went to check out her next one. She wanted to read it to me right then and there; I told her she'd have to wait because it was someone else's turn. "Will you be here tomorrow?" she asked. "Yes," I told her. "Will you be doing Book in a Bag tomorrow?" "Maybe," I answered. That made me feel good. A whole lifetime of people not wanting me around very much, and now a lot of the kids want me to work with them, give them attention, sit by them, etc. It's pretty cool.

Also, this experience is giving me a refresher course in first through third grade math. That's a nice side effect.

So, there's my health. Again, I'm doing the best I can with the eating and the walking. It's spring, so all of a sudden everything seems wonderful and beautiful, so that helps. A change in mood is very important. I've been thinking a little about the placebo effect (thank you, Dr. Tony Hill) and how a lot of my depression is brought on by me genuinely believing I'm not a worthwhile person. That I'll always be unsuccessful and in debt and overweight and in poor health and unhappy because, somehow, it's what's meant to be. Which is ironic, because I don't put any stock in "meant to be" or fate or any of that garbage. I'd much rather be happy, successful, and healthy than anything else. So I'm willing myself to look at the positive aspects as credits and everything else as something that can change instead of something negative. Is my health good? No. So I need to change it instead of dwelling on it. Action, not reflection.

Action, not reflection.

Action, not reflection.

I'm optimistic about it working. Hey, it's spring. Spring is my thing.

Besides, I'll need my strength and health if I'm going to survive being a 'bo.


flasputnik said...

Lee Marvin. Emporer Of The North Pole. Great overlooked 70's film.
Wouldn't last three seconds in the theaters today.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Those kids know what some of us already do, that even with your sometimes cranky attitude people still like you.

Megan said...

Glad you get to stay on until the end of the year!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on getting some stability into both your life, and the life of the kids. I am sure that they, like many of us here, know that you're a good bloke at heart.

SamuraiFrog said...

Flasputnik: Not only that, but they'd want Ryan Gosling in the lead.

Dr. Monkey: Grumble grumble grumble...

Megan: Me too. Thanks!

Phillip: I hope so. They were a little hard to keep in line yesterday (literally; they had to get in a line but ended up in more of a clump).

Royalcyclops said...

Strength and health are good, but you need Class, Kid. CLASS.

It seems you've got that part covered; at least until the end of May. Good for you.

Also, you might consider a good, strong leather belt and one of those little boards with a groove in it for straddling the brake line.

Otherwise, I think you've got the title of "Emperor of the Mid-West" totally sewn up.

Flasputnik, I think you are confusing your movies here; "Emperor Of The North Pole" was the bio-pic about Kris Kringle waging a constant battle to keep Liberty Valance off the rails underneath his sleigh. (Also known by it's European title, "The Big Red One Paints His Sleigh Cat Blue")

Wacka - Wacka!!

Anonymous said...

I'm really happy for you that you've been put on for the rest of the year. If it's anything like here, subs make almost twice as much as us regular salaried teachers - plus you miss out on all of the crap like meetings and in-service days. Good on you!

It's nice to have a 2nd grade "Pebbles". I miss the one that I had a few years ago. This past year, I had a couple of 6th grade ones - and that is the very definition of uncomfortable.

SamuraiFrog said...

Cyke: For a second I thought you were referring to a different movie, "Paint Your Wagon with Elf Brains," but that's something different.

Dane: Missing the in-service days has been nice; I have at least one more until the end of the year, plus the fifth grade is on a field trip on Tuesday so I may be able to leave early; they'll be gone before I even arrive.

I haven't gone higher than 5th grade yet; I'm not sure I want to.