Today was a good day
Let me start with, yes I really enjoy my job, but at times it can be quite stressful (placing 60 refugee/immigrant children in one building tends to do this). I like going to work in the morning, but after I return from my lunch break and my role switches from facility manager to after-school program staff, I am not always as enthusiastic. If I'm tired or not feeling my best, I am not always up for the challenge, which makes the afternoon difficult. For example, I didn't feel so good at the end of last week and I returned home from work Thursday and Friday in a bad mood. Chaos erupted in the computer lab again on Thursday and Friday was just unorganized, which led to kids fighting, among other things. I was wiped out and felt like I had to force myself to be in a good mood again. I really needed this weekend to get a break and relax. I am feeling better today and started the week off optimistically, and today was a good day! Not that it was any less stressful. Today my position was at the desk in the library, where all the kids have to go first before they can get a pass to go elsewhere. On these days, I have to prepare myself to help someone with their homework while responding to ten questions at once. For example, "Miss Maria, I need a pass/this calculator doesn't work/ when will the gym open/I swear I did my homework/can you sign my reading sheet/I need a ruler/Alex hit me/I need help/where's Ms. Amy/you aren't listening to me!" all at once, all coming from different kids, while I am trying to help someone with their math. But as I said, today was a good day and I was up to the challenge. I can really have fun with these kids. Two sixth grade girls who usually give me major attitude were rather nice today. They actually did their homework, while taking breaks to style my hair and talk to me in a friendly way! How amazing (maybe it's because I gave them both $2.50 to help sponsor a school trip to Chicago - I guess they're cheap to win over!) And the two teenage boys who always give me hell were no different today, but I had fun with it. They complimented me on several features, from the color of my skin to my small mouth, and kept coming up with different scenarios to see if I would marry them in that situation. Salim admitted he likes to get under my skin, and at one point said "Miss Maria, you look like you want to slap me." And I simply told him, "I do." And he laughed. These boys are something else, and I keep trying to come up with new solutions for their behavior. This is my latest: I told them today that I do have a boyfriend (which I should have told them from the start!). They don't believe me and said they wanted to see a picture, so I am going to bring in one tomorrow of Adam and I from a few months ago. Maybe I should start wearing that fake diamond ring again and say I am engaged. I'll let you know how it goes. So anyways, although there will always be those crazy days, the good definitely outnumber the bad. I am discovering that a lot of it depends on my attitude. It's those days where I am tired or have a headache that make it difficult. I am learning every day how to balance being a friend, a mentor, and a disciplinarian. And I think the kids are learning that Ms. Maria doesn't take any crap, but I can also be fun and am always willing to help or listen (if I'm not busy with ten other things that is).
Nothing much to report from my weekend. It was good, but yet again not particularly exciting. I saw two plays back to back at Actors Theatre on Saturday. (I would not recommend this if you have a short attention span). The first one was "Intimate Apparel". It was pretty good, but definitely did not have a happy ending (a woman who doesn't find love until her thirties ends up alone after her husband cheats and then leaves her...wow, doesn't that give me hope!) And after we had just enough time to walk to the nearest fast food place and scarf down some food, we saw the play "I Am My Own Wife." Now that was an excellent, very well-written play, but yet again, not too uplifting! (it took place in Nazi Germany). It was a one-man show. The actor was very talented, playing around 40 different characters. The play has won many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for Best Play. I think this brings up the grand total to 9 plays I have seen at an outstanding theatre for absolutely free! (not counting the plays put on by the apprentices, which are free to the public). Thanks Ben!