Not Quitting My Other Day Job

 I have been covering the school office quite a bit over the past month because they've been down a person and Covid means everything that was simple is now much less so. It's very different from working in the library, especially right now when I don't have classes coming in. I really like having the human contact, getting to know more of the students, problem-solving and the fast pace. I also find it utterly draining. Yesterday was almost comically crazy - the office administrator was out sick so it was just two of us dealing with everything - parents coming to pick up their kids, parents calling because they couldn't access their kids' report cards, four bumped heads, one bleeding mouth and one bleeding nose of mythical proportions, and no fewer than eight stomach complaints - which under Covid means the student has to go into an isolation room, any siblings have to be pulled out of class, and they all have to be picked up and can't come back until after a negative Covid test or ten days isolating.

I feel bad for so many people during all of this, obviously, but the past couple of days have made me think of Angus, who has always had a very nervous stomach, and frequently called to be picked up from school when there was nothing wrong other than anxiety. If he had an understanding teacher (which was often), they would tell him to have a snack, go to the washroom, put his head down on his desk. If he didn't, they'd send him to the office to be picked up, and I would try not to act exasperated even if I was. Now any kid who has this happen is off school for at least a few days, possibly two weeks, and it affects their siblings and parents also. That, not to put too fine a point on it, sucks cube-shaped wombat poop. 

The kids who bled all over me were really freaking cute. The little boy with the nosebleed said, with great equanimity, "it doesn't hurt. It's just bleeding a lot" (me, mopping his face and hands and jacket and pants and shoes off with a bale of paper towels: "you don't say"). I took the little girl with the bleeding mouth into the staff bathroom to rinse out and assess the damage (it was minimal) and she looked in the mirror and said "my lips are really red!" I said "yeah, it looks like you're wearing lipstick" and she declared earnestly "I'm not! I think it's just the blood!" I'm not sure what to say about the kid who came at eleven for ice for a bump on the back of his head and came back at one for ice for the bump on the front of his head - maybe he was going for symmetry.

The first few days were an exercise is constant terror, because I knew so little about the policies and procedures. I'm getting better, but I keep forgetting things like making sure I ask for teachers' names when they bring a student down or need to see the principal or v.p. This culminated in the truly epic moment when I approached the vice principal's door and said "do you have a moment for..... uh, Dude with the British Accent?" I mean, what are they gonna do, fire me? 

And now I'm very tired and need to take a bleach bath and put a gallon of moisturizer on my poor hands. 


I forgot how hilarious kids that age are "I think it's the blood!" Yeah, maybe? I feel for all the kids now who have one small thing happen and bam, everyone's in quarantine.
Ernie said…
Oh my gosh, between the wombat poop and going for symmetry, I found this very entertaining. I used to substitute teach and my kids LOVED it when that was my job (they probably love my babysitting during covid now more since they get in on the action of snuggles and funny faces, etc). At dinner they would ask me, after I subbed for little kids, if anyone said anything funny. ALWAYS there was something quite hilarious. A favorite was when a 7 yr old boy passed a note to his friend calling me dumb or something along those lines. When I caught him with the note, he was quick enough on his feet to claim that he was writing a note to his friend about his little sister.

I immediately thought about the kids who just have a gassy gut or might be constipated or nervous. The current climate does not really have space for that, and they end up taking so many down with them. So sucky.
Maggie said…
Oh man I hadn't even thought about the kids (and there is at least one in every grade) who go to the office all the time with stomach issues/headaches/just anxiety and needing not to be in class during COVID. Neither of my kids have been at school in person in nearly a year so these things hadn't occurred to me but MAN it's going to be a wild ride for some families when we do go back and COVID in still in the picture. Yikes.
StephLove said…
It is always interesting to read stories that take place in schools these days. North may be going back in mid-April. The school system here is doing a slow roll opening, starting next week with special ed students. 9th graders are near the end of the pack.
Shawna said…
So this is weird: I followed a link here from Swistle... only to read your description of the Covid protocols your school is following, leading me to think "huh, that sounds like the same protocols we'd have to follow", leading me to click on your profile and find out we live in the same Ottawa suburb!
Suz said…
Lordy. Aren't kids funny as hell? Never-ending drama or hilarity. I'm sure you are doing a fine job just the same.
Don't bleach too long or we'll not recognize you.

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