Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Week of Sick of Work

Though I was sick and probably should have been resting all week, I ended up working as a sub for a day program.

Because it is mainly an after school program, the usual group leaders weren't available for the morning hours.  So, I was called in to sub for a group of 1st Graders.  For the most part, there are supposed to be at least 2 people who are leading a group, and the groups are separated by age and grade going up to middle school.

Let me tell you.  I only worked 4 days for 4 hours a day, and I'm pretty over it all.  Mainly, I got pretty tired of waking up early to get into a packed subway with people shoving and pushing to get to work.

Here's some highlights from my work week.

Working with the kids was really what you would expect with kids.  I mean, they're going to be rambunctious especially considering that they are on vacation and have a full day of playing.

But, being that I was a sub, and a sub with a cold, there was a lot of redirection that the kids needed.  By the end of the week, my poor throat felt like some creature had clawed around it.  To add to that, I was by myself for most of the morning on Friday, with a group of 13 kids.

I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have been by myself.  But I get that tons of places are often understaffed.

To top it all off, the usual group leader told me right before I ended my week that she had realized that no one had told the subs that she had planned a week of activities.  Yes, there was a schedule, like Group 2 would be in the gym at a certain time.  But for the most part, the other sub and I would just have to make up some activities.

By the time my shift was ending, the kids had already eaten lunch and were settled in to watch a movie.  Being kids, they don't necessarily know much about quality movies.  But I do think that adults have a role to play in guiding the type of entertainment they watch.

Well, they opted for the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" on Tuesday and the "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel" on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, I joked with the other sub that I've done pretty well with avoiding these movies.  She didn't seem to get the joke because she said the first one was pretty funny and she hadn't seen the second one yet.

I kind of had to take a mental step back.  I said that I was really more used to the classic kids movies, especially "The Chipmunk Adventure."
If you haven't seen it...you really should :)
She then said, "Oh...I've never heard of that.  I've only seen the first movie."

*internal gasp*

Wow.  I realized she probably had never even seen the t.v. cartoons!  I was definitely of a different generation than her!  But I would rather be old because at least I know the awesomeness of "The Chipmunk Adventure."

Things Heard From the Mouths of Kids
In the gym, I heard this almost ever 5 minutes:  "Teacher!  Play with me!"

One little chubby kid was often the one who would get his toy taken from him by another kid.  He probably gets bullied quite a bit, and yet I have the feeling that he also got what he wanted from the adults in his life.  Well, this kid had the audacity to look me in the eyes, with a big smile on his face as we prepared to go to the auditorium for the movie, and say, "Hi Fat Teacher."

As I'm playing catch or tennis with this one particularly behaviorally disobedient kid who's great one-on-one, and another student is trying to get my attention, he says, "I'm waiting!!!"  What??  You know that's something he hears a lot from an adult.

This tiny skinny girl would approach me all throughout gym, moaning about how hungry she was.  Seriously, though, she was ALWAYS hungry.

Glorified Babysitter?
Honestly, while I feel like the after school and day programs and the community centers are a god-send, I do feel like it is just a way to ensure that the kids are engaged in some activity outside of hanging on the streets. 

But they get to provide a place for the kids to do their homework or other activities that would build up their academic education.  They also get to work a lot on their social skills.

I kind of felt like I struggled a bit though.  Kind of like I was more of a glorified babysitter than anything else.

I don't really mean to sound like I'm better than anyone.  In fact, if that week has taught me anything, I don't hold a candle to the folks who do that job full-time.

I don't hold a candle to teachers, to child care workers, to after school staff, to day care staff.

As a social worker, I had the absolute luxury of being able to close my door.

So, thank goodness this is just a part-time position.  I'm going to keep looking for my office with a door.

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