Thursday, September 27, 2012

Doggone Tired

I am tired.  Doggone tired.  And I have a new level of respect for Elementary Librarians and Teachers in general.

Recently, I was blessed with a job change.  No longer would I be driving 45 minutes to work in a Middle School Library.  Now I drive 5 minutes to an Elementary School.  Super cool.  Super stoked.  Super tired!!!

"Are you alright?" my girlfriend, Claire, asked me last night as we were practicing our songs for next Sunday's service.  "Yeah!" I responded in surprise, wondering why she would ask.  Well, she can probably sense that I am maxed out.  I am daydreaming of parent-teacher conferences, when the Library will be closed and I can make sense of what I've been making sense of since the end of August.

Here's my schedule:  Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays I see classes about 4 hours of the day.  30 minutes a pop.  Mondays and Wednesdays I don't see classes, but I spend about 3 hours tutoring 2nd graders who are struggling with their reading.  I work a 6 1/2 hour shift.  On the books, I take a 30 minute break.  (Snicker, snicker, guffaw.)  In the "free" time I shelve books, repair books, read about books we need, compile a wish list of books to order (What???  We don't have a copy of Harold and the Purple Crayone???), help any of the staff members who need something from the Library, and work the AR program.  For those of you who don't know about AR, it's a reading program called Accelerated Reader.  Students are tested and placed in a reading zone, which helps them find which books are at their level so that they can feel successful and challenge themselves.  After they finish the book, they go online and take a short comprehension quiz, which gives them points.  The zones are distinguished by color.  In theory, if a student is reading at orange level, any book in the Library with an orange sticker is in their range.  Sounds pretty good, but the problem is that AR was only introduced to our school a few years back and less than half of the books are stickered.  I have put out the call for help and the PTA goddess crew stepped in overtime last week, pulling books, looking them up online, stickering them if they were in the program, writing the level, quiz # and point value inside each book.  (I came up with the brilliant idea of putting a small check mark in the upper corner inside the book if it is not currently in the AR system, so we don't spend time backtracking and looking up books more than once.  This is not a fool-proof plan, as AR is constantly creating quizzes, but it works for me right now.)  As the books come in from student checkouts, I am looking up those books before shelving them.  Needless to say, I'm behind on my shelving.  There is a back table in the Library that held about 150 or so non-fiction books that I wasn't able to shelve before the class visits resumed last Tuesday.  I now have the entire table shelved, except for the 50ish that have no AR sticker.  That's not counting the books that were returned today or tomorrow.  The cart is full.  I think I might be sneaking some books back onto that table early in the morning.  At least the ones that don't have stickers.)

So, with AR, I am hosting a race between classes.  The classes with the most points get to go to a party with the Principal at the end of the year.  There is also an AR Wall of Fame, for the students who have 100 points +.  (They also get to go to the party.)  I am also going to order lanyards for all the students who reach 25 points by the first trimester, whenever that is . . .)  I asked around, got the website and some pricing.  Now to spend some time on the order.  Also, every Monday, I run a report and track the points of every classroom, and move their Vehicle tokens up on the AR Raceboard wall.  Oh.  And each winning class gets to keep a stuffed wolf (our mascot) for the week. The highest point students will also get to be "Staff for the day", working as the Principal, Secretary, Custodian, Computer Tech and Librarian for a day.

Did I mention lesson plans!?!  Yeah, I get to do those now.  I was so scared of this that I put off doing the first ones until about 4 days before class visits first came.  Now I'm getting a little better, but I definitely need to get more ahead on these.  Luckily I have a huge stack of books in the back room that I think are awesome, and when I'm panicky about what to read or promote, I go check the piles


Let's see . . . what else have I got going on?  Last summer I was approached by the Board president of my church if I could head the "Conscious Giving" dinners this year.  Well, my summer was pretty kick-back so I agreed.  Too bad none of the work was to take place in the summer!!!  I now have a gigantic paper hanging on my laundry wall which is methodically filled with sticky-notes of hosts and guests and dates.  (And I have threatened Jake's life if he moves any more sticky notes.  NOT FUNNY!!!)  I have the task of inviting every single member of the congregation to a dinner, hosted by another member.  I have only been attending this church for a year, so I am unfamiliar with most of the names as of yet (but I'm getting to know them pretty quickly!)  Two church goddesses came over last Sunday and helped me identify and organize the attendees.  I told them I felt like a White House intern who has been charged with setting up a diplomatic dinner.  Yikes.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I'm above the water, or at least breathing through a long and wide tube at this point.  I'll be able to calm down once the invites are officially out and the ball is rolling.

Today I attended a GATE meeting at my son's school.  It was pretty informative and they've got some great stuff planned for the students this year.  I apologize to the woman who ran the meeting for not making eye-contact when she asked for parent volunteers.  My plate's full and overflowing.  I send love and light out to the parents who step forward.  I stare down the guilt that I feel about not helping the program and I shush the voice that says that I could probably squeeze it in.  BOUNDARIES is the name of this game.  Sanity and contentment and peace.

Thanks for listening.
And thanks to coffee for being my pal.