Intrepid Girl Reporter

Sunday, 20 September: fanfare for the common reporter
September 20, 2009, 5:02 pm
Filed under: life progress

O Best Beloved! How I have neglected you.

But I’m back in the game, tentatively, for several reasons. You probably need an update for what’s happened in my life since March (short version: a lot). Being inspired in no small part by Rooms, who has just taken a position as an au pair in Geneva with a family that is Just! Like! Mine!, I have decided to resume writing in part so that she knows what is going on in case I sleep through the times I am supposed to call her – which, realistically, is probably going to happen. I would like to establish at this juncture that I was in favor of her other choice, Helveticana (get it? like Americana? also, this alludes to our mutual love of typefaces), but that, as usual, I responded too late. Go look at the other blog titles she tried, and failed, to get – is particularly offensive.*

So here, without further ado, is what has happened to me: I have been sucked back into the world of the 공부방, one that never fails to seduce me with its siren songs of late parents and inadequate snacks and kids who wet their pants. Which is to say that I am now running an after-school program, just like I did in college, except that this one houses two hundred children and I get paid to ensure that it functions smoothly. Things that I do get: money. Things that I do not get: school supplies – at least not yet. Our program has been running since the 24th of August, and they told us this week – nearly a month after program start – that we would have $3500 for school supplies to order, and then they changed it to $1000 and told us that if we didn’t want to order that day, we’d have to wait until the 1st of October. They also reminded us, helpfully, that $1000 is still more than after-school coordinators got last year, which is a whole lot of cold comfort if you ask me. I’m working for DC Public Schools, which is trying pretty hard, I guess. I work at a school in this neighborhood, so basically we’re looking at a lot more of the same from last year (and from the rest of my life, if anyone’s counting). I am much happier doing this than teaching special education, because after a bad day as a sped teacher, I would be consumed with an overwhelming sense of failure, whereas a bad day running afterschool never gives me that feeling. I also have a lot more autonomy, which is nice. I am trying to infuse the program with a sense of mission and also with some fun: we have Community Meetings, modeled after Summerbridge, and we also have a Spirit Stick that is given out every week. I was using Aaron Copland to announce recess, but it turns out that no one could hear it. Still working on it.

What happened with the other jobs was this: I was laid off from my school in the spring. I suspect that they always knew they would not be able to keep me and hired me to fill a gap without telling me. Thanks, peeps. I was hired to run a high school program for Asian high school students, which was mad fun but also really stressful, and there was the possibility that that job would extend into the fall, but then they didn’t get the grant money to keep it as a full-time job. Fortunately, DCPS came in and saved the day, and by “saved the day” I mean they allowed me to keep living in the city. Thank God. Things have been a bit ridiculous, which they really shouldn’t be, because I work from 11-7:30; in other words, I ought to have more time than I know what to do with, but somehow I still manage to run out. I need to get back to volunteering with Capitol Letters, and I’m writing more now here. Overall, I’m pretty proud of myself.

Of course, there is another reason that I am trying to get back to blogging, and that reason is the addition of an extra person in my life, a person who shall hereafter be known as IGR-Boo (IGRB). IGRB and I have been spending a lot of time together over the past couple of months, and while it’s been lovely, I’ve started to realize that I’ve been neglecting certain aspects of myself – in other words, I’ve been too reliant on the idea of myself + someone else and not working to develop just me. Writing is one of those areas. I like blogging, and I intend to return to it. So there. I’ve also been listening to the Weakerthans. I wonder if it is possible for me to return to one element of my life without returning to all the others by necessity.