I really wanted to participate in the Blog Blast for Education, since my other single mom bloggers are all over it, but I’ve spent this last week going from gastrointestinal toddler hell to “maybe I could handle this whole stay-at-home mom thing”, to a delicious social splurge that was months…maybe even years overdue.
I was scouring my former posts, wondering when I outed myself as a school district employee, when I realized, I’ve been blogging for A YEAR NOW! And yeah, I outed myself in my very first post. Oops.
When you work for the school district and you aren’t a teacher/educator/counselor/someone who works directly with children, you aren’t well liked, and in a town as small as mine, you are often front page news. Let me spell it out for you:
The Superindent = The Devil.
School Board = Legion of the Undead.
Administration = Sadistic Cult of Banshees.
Principals = The right hand of Satan.
Ok, of course this is
gross generalization complete exaggeration, but after a year of reading seething letters to the editor by very unhappy parents, I can understand how the Roman Empire was eventually burned to the ground.
It is my constant struggle to keep people happy. Because my job is of little importance in the bigger picture of their child’s education. My daily goal is to help one lessparent think the school district is a thoughtless, uncaring, screwed-up bureaucracy. If I can hear a thank you from a parent after I’ve tried to help them, then I’m happy at the end of the day. If I can move a mountain of paperwork off a teacher’s desk, so they can have more time to focus on the kids, then I’m happy at the end of the day. If I can return 30 calls, answer 30 emails, and talk to 30 people for my bosses, so they can finish writing a grant for an much-needed, amazing program (which would never receive the funding it needs from our government), then I’m happy at the end of the day.
My job is to make other people’s job easier. Its tiring and emotional and mentally draining, but it could be a lot worse. I see how hard teachers work, how much effort and care they put into their horribly underpaid workdays. I see my bosses’ pain and frustration, having to make decisions based on laws, rules, regulations and finances, when all they want to do is make the best decision for the kids.
The biggest reason I stay at my job is because I’m behind the scenes. I hear the gossip, and I know before most of the other parents what is going to happen to their kid’s education. LB may only be 2 years old, but I’m thinking my the time she starts preschool, I’ll know exactly where I want to put her. I’ll know exactly what to expect, and I’ll be able to prepare her the best way I can. If there’s any fringe benefits to working a job, I have to say, this one is a pretty sweet deal for a single mom. I’m lucky that I work in a “child-oriented” atmosphere, even if I stare at a computer all day long. I’m lucky that my boss lets me bring LB by the office on my days off. I’m lucky that when daycare is closed, school is usually closed, and holidays and breaks fit neatly into my schedule. I’m lucky that I have the option of working 4 ten hour shifts, and that I get all the early childhood development research flowing through my ears all day at no cost.
Every day that my daughter grows, I worry about what lies in store for her in this broken education system. I worry about underfunded programs, and stressed out employees. I worrry about families strapped for cash, and stressed out siblings. Having seen a lot of crap in my job, I also worry about the other things. The unspeakables, the things you didn’t worry about before Colorado became synonamous with Columbine High School.
There is a lot of work to do in the education system, and I hope I am adding my two measly cents everyday. Even if I’m just filing application, ordering school supplies, or processing work orders, I hope that change is coming, and with enough people willing to work for that change, then my daughter may successfully navigate the shark-infested waters that is the American public education system.
Cause I got her back.