Last day at work today.

I--I'm just emotional. I can't even name everything I'm feeling--sad, and relieved, and gypped, and appreciated, and just a little bit hysterical because one of the biggest annoyances of that job (a manager with no clue what she's doing) was fired TODAY. Which makes me laugh at the sense of humor of the UNIVERSE, aight?

I won't miss most of the people I worked with, or the problems I had that nobody would address, or the constant beating my head against brick walls. I won't miss the ugly metal walls or the cheap apple juice concentrate.

But I'll miss my director, whose husband (when he came to pick her up today) told me that half her stories about work ended in, "but thank goodness for Lu, she..."; I'll miss the parents who made sure to stop by the classroom so I could get a last hug goodbye, who've taken the time over the years to include me in their childrens' lives and listen to my suggestions; I'll miss my bright, impossible children, with their twisty logic and determination and wholehearted living.

It's an ending, and I don't have a beginning to begin yet.

Wow.
Tonight I'm supposed to be writing my letters of leaving for my preschool job: requests for recommendations from a few select parents, my official resignation for my director, my thank-you letter to the general population of parents and kids...

but I'm sad. I'm sad and I'm tired and I love those children dearly and I. Don't. Wanna.

As much as I've whined and ranted and resented this job, as much as my coworkers have been incompetent or my management frustrating or the curriculum horrendously laughably bad, this is the end of a period of my life that will always be important to me. It's the time when I figured out what I want to do with my life; the time when I figured out the cause of my depression; the time when I learned about my flaws and my strengths. I've done a lot of living and a lot of loving in that building, with all those kids around me, and just--I'm going to miss them so, so much.

One little girl I've been caring for almost four years--she was six months old when I started. I've seen her learn to walk and talk, coached and coaxed her through her divorce tantrums, taught her to write her name and help others climb the ladder to the slide. She's bright and quick and lovely, and I'm a part of that--I helped to build the person she is, the person she's going to be. And she won't remember me at all--she's only four years old! Right now she runs to hug me and it's me she cries for when she falls and it's me they send her to when she can't be handled--but in another six months I'll pass her in the street and she won't even know me.

Her mother is one of the parents who've agreed to write me a formal recommendation, and I just...I can't make myself talk about how much I love that kid and how much I'm going to miss her. Not in the formal, bullshitting way I write my official letters.

All I really want to do is hold her close and cry.

It's sad, y'all, and I need time to wallow before I go all bright and cheery to say goodbye.
You know what I wish? I wish parents would stop bringing melon in for their kids' snack.

*itches vigorously*

I WORE GLOVES. I WASHED THEIR HANDS. ELKJLSJELFKJSzGHHHHHHHMELONS.
I had intended to post this pre-Supernatural, but got out of my meeting late, so had to run in and watch immediately.

But, see, I had a staff meeting tonight...probably a pretty important one, all things considered...and I totally couldn't concentrate. Between the fact that I got my Seanan's CD sampler, the finale was tonight and my stomach was all in knots, and--God help me--I was seized by a rabid Sorcery and Cecilia-verse fic bunny (which, hello, no one will read, because there is no fandom, and probably what fandom there is will not be interested in slash, but OMG James/Thomas OTP, and if you don't believe me go back and read that first section of Grand Tour.)

CLEARLY boring staff meetings would be greatly improved if everyone was, like me, focused on entirely different matters instead.
I pulled my third-in-a-row all-nighter last night (and, exhausted, accomplished basically nothing) and when I finally got home I was forced to give myself permission to take a nap. Which basically means this paper is irretrievably late, and also it will probably suck because I'm still hideously exhausted and can't process anything.

DREAM: )



Interpretation )
Today is [livejournal.com profile] kaalee-Appreciation Day, because she is awesome.

Kaalee is a mentor and a role model and a friend to me. On the day we "met" she gave me advice about handling one of my kids, and she hasn't stoppped being there for me every way she can since that day. Her faith and emotions about what we do shape my thoughts and actions every moment I am in a classroom.

EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TEACHING, I LEARNED FROM KAALEE )
This morning was less than auspicious.

I still don't have a key, and the girl who does have one was late, so I had to sit out in my car till she got there. (The heater kicked in two minutes before she showed up, natch.)

Everybody's mom had to work early, so we had twenty "big kids" and five infants before eight o'clock in the morning.

Then one of the three-yos stood on one end of the snack cart and it tilted up, dropping a gallon of apple juice to the floor, bumping his head, and drenching two other children.

Then the other teacher who was supposed to have taken over from me ten minutes previously came in, promised to handle snack so I could do clean-up, and promptly disappeared for a further ten minutes.

Then one of the children threw a hissy fit over what was available for snack.


I got out of there and the song playing on the radio was "If you're going through Hell, keep on going!" immediately followed by "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere."

I sat at a traffic light and laughed till I nearly cried.





In other news I had a dream about a rape attempt last night (unsurprising, as Soulmate and I were discussing crimes against women in the media yesterday) but dream-me broke his nose and called the police. I'm proud of my subconscious.
I have to go to bed now.

Because I'm opening tomorrow. Read: showing up two hours earlier than I've signed up to.

HOW did this happen?

OMG they have to find us a new director. They have to. I am not going to put up with this shit for long. This is JUST LIKE THE DIRECTOR WHO JUST GOT FIRED, except with her about a month ago I finally figured out her levers and how to push 'em. So, what, three weeks later, she gets fired, and her CLONE takes her place, except I don't know how to manage her clone and her clone knows nothing about my kids or me or my colleagues.

OMG.

WHAT DID I DO TO THE GODDESS OF PRESCHOOL TEACHERS to make her HATE ME THIS MUCH??
OMG.

Work just exploded.

Yesterday, our regional manager--the director's boss, basically--came into town.

Today:

Our director "no longer works for us." (She may be coming back to be the assistant. I doubt it--she has some pride.)

Five people called in sick. Normally what happens is the first one to call in sick gets to stay sick, but everyone else has to come in and just go as soon as possible, because no matter how sick you are you can't have sixty kids alone in the building with two teachers (which, yeah, I know--and I don't exactly agree, but what can you do?)--but the RM told them not to come in, so...what? She's gonna take a class?

ARGH.

And I have a test today, so I couldn't even offer to stay and help...




The disadvantage of my career/the education for my career? You know when you're being manipulated. The RM came in and said "What a great job you're doing getting the kids to clean up! Keep doing exactly that! But keep in mind you should be using naptime to clean your classroom." (I'm not even there during naptime, so it was a waste of breath. But still.) And my reaction is to label this: "Positive reinforcement followed by non-negative phrasing. Man, she thinks I'm six."

Which, you know, I'm sure is not true, really--and it's a good thing to treat people in ways that they feel respected and that gets results, and those are great ways of doing it, which is why we use them on kids. But I recognise my own tricks too well, and it makes me feel cheap and patronised. It wouldn't if I couldn't label it as a classroom management technique...my education has its drawbacks.
In work news: I STOOD UP TO MY BOSS.

No, I did...I really did, it's true!!

I didn't do it particularly politely or maturely (I was rather snide)...which makes me a teeny bit ashamed of myself...but I did it. I SAID SOMETHING.



In school news: Going well this semester, please and thank you! The teacher in my Early Childhood Education courses is a doll...practically a [livejournal.com profile] kaalee clone.

I'm still annoyed I have to take the basic computer skills class, but hey, one ridiculously easy course can't hurt anything, can it?

And it's gloriously liberating to work for three hours in the morning, go to one or two classes, take a three-hour break, and go back for another two classes. I think I will keep this schedule, at least until I get to the next college. I know that three-hour break will fill up with work for my classes pretty quickly, but right now I feel licensed to laze and get things like form-filling-out done.

ETA: OMG, the computer course has more texts than ANY OF MY OTHER CLASSES. Save me.


In random news: Now have completely effusive crush on Cyrus Reed. Demand to be taken to Africa and called m'dear by a big man who used to be a lawyer. DEMAND, I say!
GAAAAAAAAAAAAH.


...I hate my job.

I love my work. I love my work. I love my kids, and I love what I do for and with them.

I HATE MY JOB. I hate incompetent management, I hate impractical and idiotic curriculuum.

Know what I really hate, though?

Being two people understaffed and being told that THE MOST EXPERIENCED PERSON WE HAVE, AFTER ME, GAVE HER NOTICE AND THAT ANOTHER GIRL IS PLANNING ON WALKING OUT ON US AFTER FRIDAY.

What are we going to do?

I ask you, what the hell are we going to do?



Also, I pulled a muscle in my back. I cannot bend over without pain. CAN YOU GUESS HOW MUCH FUN I'LL BE HAVING WITH THE CLASS OF TWO-YEAR-OLD KIDS TOMORROW?




GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.
Writing people birthday fic doesn't work when you keep losing your voice for that fandom and only regaining it in the middle of pushing toddlers on swings. It's not even her birthday month anymore.

CPR training is stupid. Not to say CPR is, I know it saves lives and all that, but if I don't know all the answers backwards and forwards after four years of re-certifying I don't deserve to be teaching kids their ABCs.

I adore my assistant. She is awesomeness.

I think I have blood-sugar issues.

I love Gordon Korman.

I want to make my classroom my classroom, and destroy for ever and all ways the effect of the previous "teacher."

I have Seanan's CD. My life is bliss.
OMG, I love the parents of my kids.

Well, okay. Not all of them. But certainly this couple...who are just...the best ever.

As parents, they need a little work, but they have two dynamic, smart, stubborn kids who know every trick in the book and how to use them. I'd have a hard time keeping up...in fact, I do! And they are appreciative, funny people...I babysit for them, sometimes, and their kids both love me...the Blonde Brat, as their daughter is affectionately known on this LJ, prefers me above all her other teachers.

OMG, you guys. Tonight the quilt went up for auction...the final sale is on Friday. The quilt is already up to 125, and the parents of the KIDS WHO CONTRIBUTED didn't even attend the opening. Ah, well, I sighed to myself. It was a nice dream...

Apparently, the Brat's parents were planning on buying it for me. Just...to say thanks. For loving their kids, and all. *is so incredibly touched*

I mean--I can't let them, of course...I offered to babysit for them if they get it for me, which is actually an incredible deal for them, so I don't have to feel guilty about accepting--but still! OMG, you guys, they like me! *feels incredibly appreciated*



P.S. Total GIP.
You know, for three glorious weeks, we were fully staffed. For THREE WHOLE WEEKS I could call in sick without causing a crisis of enormously painful proportions. And now, naturally, we are four people short.

Which is unfortunate, because it is three o'clock in the morning and I cannot sleep due to pain. And I am reliably informed that no matter how much I rant about the fact that I am raising 112 children before I turn twenty-one and have no intention of giving birth to any, being fully satisfied as I am, the doctors will not take out the little round painful things in my abdomen any time soon. I realise that even if they would, they could not do it before work tomorrow, and even if they could do that, I would still not be caught up on sleep enough to be coherent. But at the moment I am still going to blame them, because I can.

I don't care how many stereotypes I am fulfilling at the moment, I am in pain and I can be irrational if I want.

Admittedly, Midol is shiny. Bless the person who came up with it, be it fellow sufferer or merely a man who was sick of being bitched at by angry females. But unfortunately it DOES NOT LAST LONG ENOUGH FOR ME TO TAKE ANOTHER DOSE.
Today. Was. MISERABLE. Like, scary, hide me, OMG I require chocolate/massages/hot baths/Vicodin/a beheading STAT, miserable.

But I shall not dwell on it. No, no, no...I shall not.

Instead I shall take deep cleansing breaths. I shall remember good things about life:

1) The recipient liked...really, truly, honestly liked the fic I wrote for her. Enough to (omg!) send me an invite to Skyehawke based on it...and only it. She is--awesomeness, really, and she liked what I wrote for her. This is a source of the happy.

2) I got to hold a bunny today! Jack's mom brought it in for me to meet (and OMG Jack asked her to. Jack asked her to. Jack has not had one hard day in two weeks and is actually excited to show me his rabbit and the award he got for good behaviour at school. Jack. I realise none of you know him and I've not been allowing myself to rant about how frustrating he has been, but trust me, this is so much with the awesomeness and he is SUCH a darling when he isn't trying your patience.)

3) Did you know you can get little mini-bars of Ghirardelli dark chocolate with raspberry? Not as good as Godiva, but they come in MINI.

4) The parents are out of town, so I got to take a long, long, LONG hot bath without worrying about their guilt waves.

5) OMG just finished new Hannah Swensen novel. And NO SHE DIDN'T PICK BETWEEN THEM, but she didn't do it in a dynamic and take-charge and Good Girl way that made me realise that no matter how stupid she may be about Norman, the reason I love these books is because she is teh Awesome.



And speaking of mystery series, one tiny rant which is not related to today's awfulness, so it does not count as dwelling. Currently I have here the latest in my ongoing plow through the Peter Wimsey novels in chronological order. And I am saddened. I am actually really liking the plot of this one, and the ideas behind it, and Peter as an ad man is just the richest thing I have ever read, but there is no Bunter at all. Like, he barely appears in the Helen novels, which is bad enough--I was cheered to find that this one didn't have any Helen in it, as I expected Bunterness to make up for it--but at least you have Helen, who when she isn't being melodramatic about gratitude is actually a great deal of fun in an "Ain't just a river in Egypt" way. (Still, the one with the accents and almost no Bunter AND no Helen AND no interesting philosophical ideas should be BURNED.) But my point is that what I am loving most is the relationship between Peter and Bunter, and now I see no Bunter PERIOD, and if he does not come back soon I shall cry.
My V-day?

Eh.

I spent the afternoon HATING it...the SS can't have outside food cause of allergies and stuff, so I had to chase around after them pulling lollipops out of their mouths...


Then I went to the parents' to watch House. To find it empty, except for my 18-yo brother and a table set for a double date. Whoops. We had a few minutes before he had to go pick her up, and he tried to tease me about not having a date.

BRO: Just couldn't get somebody handsome enough, or are they all scared of your brilliance and beauty?
LU: Hey, you may have a date, but today I was asked to be the valentine of eight people, was told "I love you" six times, got twelve hugs and three kisses, and a marriage proposal.
BRO: *gives a Look*
LU: Admittedly they were all under twelve, but STILL...

I was telling the truth, btw. *loves her kids*

I escaped upstairs to watch House. (And I liked this one, yesyes indeedy. But not as much as some others.) Then I came home to chat with Flatmate and make her watch The First Wives' Club, which is my personal "everyone else has a date and f-them" movie, and which she had not seen (travesty!)
I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of children who behaved angellically...no, scratch that, the number of children who managed to avoid behaving archdemonically for me today. I was driven to actually screaming like a fishwife on the playground and then imprisoning eighteen schoolagers in chairs at the tables without speaking privileges. I came home ashamed of myself and my kids, with a monumental headache and back so stiff you could use it to cross rivers. I was so frustrated and ashmaed and tired and streesed that I cried on the way home...not to mention twice in the twos room, with MacKenzie and Savannah petting my head and telling me not to.

Since then, I have had a long, LONG soak in green-tea scented hot water, and am now letting a massage chair work on my back while I watch old Cary Grant movies. I have on my most exhausted nightgown and very thick fluffy socks. My feet are being rubbed by the ottoman.

How am I going to live when I have to leave this house?
Long day.

Woke up to TC's telling me that I hadn't told her about the two-rooms thing. Um...*several minutes of swearing later* Okay, we'll have to work it out somehow.

Remembered to book the car for fixin' (it will have to be dropped off before my school tomorrow, so *several minutes of swearing go by*)

Remembered to get an appointment with the optometrist so that when I go to TWH I will have stylish new frames and will not have to squint at Tamora Pierce when I gush and make her sign EVERYTHING.

Spent most of today with the beebees, which is fun, especially as I like the head teacher in there. But one of my precious fours was sick. And sick. And sick. As in "I think I'm gonna be." And his mother couldn't be reached. And he broke my tender mothering heart, my tough boy did, crying with fever and stomach-ache and abandonment.

Spent forty minutes being ranted at by my director on the subject of the stupidity of the Corporation. (They truly are stupid.)

And now I've got to go and run several thousand errands because I've suddenly realised TWH is in ONE WEEK OMGWTFWHENDIDTHATHAPPEN???

And tomorrow and until then, I belong to my books and my roundtable. *whimpers* Save me!
Okay, so on the way out the door tonight, I remind my director, "You're gonna need a substitute the first week in October, I won't be here."

The tods teacher, next door to my classroom, asked, "Really? Why? Where will you be?"

ME: I'm going to Salem, Massachusettes.

TODS: What for?

ME: I'm going to a Harry Potter convention

TODS: REALLY? Do you, like, dress up and stuff? I've always wanted to know one of those people who dress up and stuff.

ME: Well, there's a dressing-up ball on Sunday, but mostly I'll just wear T-shirts with obscure inside jokes on them...

TODS: So do you have, like, a wand and stuff?

Seriously, spent half an hour answering questions like, "So will you dye your hair green?" (Answer: No. Many people will dye their hair pink, but I am not among them.) and "So where do all these freaks come from? Like, all over the world?" (Answer: Yes, they do. And I call many of them friends.) and "Do you have a broomstick? You could like, borrow one of ours, or something..." (Answer: Yes. Because since witches were modernising, rather than go with something that can be sleek and modern-looking, like a vacuum or something, we decided to go with cheap, dust-clogged plastic imitations of the original aesthetically pleasing vehicle. No, I didn't say it. But I was thinking it.)

She was fascinated. It was hysterical.

I felt like some kind of specimen in a petting zoo, being gently poked by a child who thought I was really cool but had no clue what I was.
Oh, how I envy Molly Weasley. And her ability to glue children to park benches.

OMGHOWAMIGOINGTOSURVIVETHISDAYWAHWAHWAHHELPMEIMDYINGOFHYPERACTIVECHILDREN

I am clinging to my copious amounts of caffiene and mentally slapping myself every time I start thinking longingly of the ability to put the full Body-Bind on them.

I woke up this morning with one of my OMGHOWCANANYBODYACHETHISMUCH Elephantlandedonme achinesses, which is not helping either. I hate the woman who is being flippy about showing up to work and making me do this. All I wanted to do was curl up in my chair with thousands of chick flicks and DIE, and I might have too, but NO, we couldn't spare me...*groan*


In other news: we just enrolled a new kid who is going to grow up to be Greasy Johnson. Like, seriously, this boy? Will so totally collect tropical fish in a couple of years.

And I think Redheaded Sweetheart is getting the flu. (Yes, I'm going to start coding the people in my life. It seems to work better.)

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