Monday, March 5, 2012

a recess lady

I have a great job. I work with kids who need a little extra help reading, at a fantastic school, just a couple miles from my home. I work three hours a day, from nine to noon, which is a perfect shift for my current life.

Most days I have no complaints, except for a few about recess duty. It gets especially bad in the winter...

Last week we got hit with a big snow storm, leaving at least four inches of snow on the ground, which translates to snowbanks about 4 feet high on the playground.  I hate these snow banks.  They take forever to melt, and cause a myriad of problems: cold hands, wet pants, bloody noses, missing teeth, fights, and long recesses spent reminding the kids to "be careful" (yeah, right).   

I could elaborate here on how annoying it is that the snow removal people pile the snow up into these banks right on the edge of the blacktop so as to create a hard, gravelly landing pad at the end of a solid mound of ice, but they have obviously never had to spend an entire recess trying to keep hundreds of kids between the ages 6 and 12 "safe" while sliding down an ice-mound before, so it's probably a moot point. 

So I will skip ahead to how bothersome it is to watch kids wearing shorts and t-shirts sliding on the ice. I know sometimes it isn't worth a fight, but honestly, when the weather app says "27, feels like 12" it might be a good day for a coat, or at least pants.

Throwing snow is strictly prohibited on the playground, but the prohibition of snowballs reminds me a lot of The Prohibition of alcohol; it's only really off-limits when someone is watching. Also like alcohol, irresponsible use of snow tends to lead to a lot of problems. Several weeks ago, someone came and told me another kid had thrown snow at him. In an attempt to talk to the guilty party and remind him of the rule, he started screaming at me that he hates school and smacked me upside the head. Of course I felt this was somehow all my fault. 

My final woe is this: although it is super amazing and fun to build a giant snowball, or -man, or -fort, not all the recess ladies in the world can keep other kids from tearing it apart.  Even if I am asked by a hundred different kids who I really, really like, I cannot guarantee it will be there when you come back out. It's a sad truth in life: "If you build it, [they] will come [to knock that sucker down]."

So chin up, and carry on. Your life could always be worse. You could be a recess lady. ;)

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