I slept almost 10 hours last night, and woke up at the newly-late hour of 9am this morning. It was the first week of school for all teachers and staff members, and I had a really hard time falling asleep before midnight every night. Next year I'll make an effort to start going to bed early a couple of weeks prior to our start date, because I was increasingly tired as this week wore on. I slept like a log last night and felt so much better when I woke up today!
It was a fun week even though we all worked hard. The students in this district don't start school until this coming Monday. This week was devoted to late registration for office staff like me and the guidance counselors, and meetings, workshops, and classroom prep for the teachers and administrators. Our school has almost 1000 students, and we're one of three public middle schools in Florence, so the amount of work it takes to get everything ready for the new year is considerable. Still, we had fun. Our APT (parents' organization) provided us with a nice lunch one day, a nearby church (that some of our students are bused to for an elective religion class ) sent over a couple of sweet little old church ladies to cook us a wonderful breakfast in the school cafeteria one morning, and our new principal and a couple of the male teachers grilled out yesterday afternoon. We had a picnic of hotdogs, potato chips, baked beans, coleslaw, watermelon, and lemonade. New staff t shirts and collared shirts had been made for us all, and everyone was in a good mood and excited for the new year.
The last few days of this week the work really amped up for me and the rest of the office staff, as well as our two wonderful guidance counselors. So many parents waited until the last minute to come get their kids registered, and there's a lot of necessary paperwork to be dealt with, particularly if the student is new to the district or needs to be assigned to a bus route. Then there are the schedule change requests, which too many people waited until the last minute to address and must be a huge headache to the guidance department. Those ladies earn every cent that they make!
Speaking of guidance, the 8th grade counselor is my favorite of the two. She's been in education in this district for almost 40 years and she's really good at what she does. My major in college was Human Services, and I've always had an interest in social work. I've been watching Ms. Long for over a year now and I've been incredibly impressed by her skill in interacting with middle school kids. I also admire her compassion for them, even the troublesome ones, paired with a good dash of practicality and humor.
Yesterday afternoon, Ms. Long actually asked my advice about a situation with a student she was grappling with, citing my experience as a Guardian ad Litem. I was incredibly flattered! We sat in her office for a half hour at the end of the day and talked. It was a serious situation which involved her role as a mandated reporter, and she wanted another opinion about the course of action she was planning to take. It had never occurred to me that my experience in helping see minors through the family court process might be valuable at my job at the school! I'm really glad to know that I have something small to contribute beyond my role as receptionist.
Monday is going to be a busy, tiring day. I'm going in an hour early, because the first few days are always chaos. This weekend is going to be devoted to catching up on laundry, shopping for and prepping food for lunches next week, and a whole lot of relaxing.
One week down, thirty seven to go!