Thursdays we have The Learning Kitchen, in which a very lovely woman from the local co-op comes to cook with the kids (instead of us walking to the free lunch at the elementary school), chat with me covertly about her brother’s webcomic projects, and take the wheel for me for a couple of hours.
I feel terrible saying it like that, but I work in an unstructured program with six-hour days in the summer, no breaks, and the need to constantly monitor and engage a constantly changing classroom-sized multi-age group of kids on a property that isn’t conducive to easy supervision (multiple rooms, a porch, and a front yard). This week it’s me, a junior staff who isn’t quite at that junior staff level yet, and a substitute adult staff from another program branch who spends a lot of time texting and seems to have absolutely no instincts for when to intervene, discipline, or at least come get me (in the case of, for examples, two verbal fights and a physical incident yesterday). He interacts with the kids in doses, and sometimes just stands there and watches. I was never given any clarity on whether I’m supervising him, left instead with the notion that he’s done this before and knows what he’s doing, but I guess not with our space and our group of kids.
This week I’d developed what is apparently just a cold. I had no idea colds were like this. I thought they were annoying little head things. I’m going to work with no voice, a fever, and a bottle of Dayquil tucked in my purse. In between, I’m still trying to clean out the rest of the apartment while I bounce between two bedrooms in a friend’s house and keep most of my things in my car. I had to beg my landlord into giving me a one-day extension on my lease because earlier in the week I was almost non-functional. I’m also trying to squeeze in some social interaction with the people I’ll soon be leaving so that I don’t completely fall apart.
I am so, so glad it’s Thursday. So glad. Two hours of not being essentially the only person leading the kids. So glad.