6:30 Wake up to the blaring sound of Jack FM. Hit the snooze. 6:40 Roll over, Hit the snooze again. 6:50 Turn alarm off. Reluctantly get up, get dressed and take care of other morning duties. 7:25 Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go. 7:30 Decision Time: freeway or surface streets? I take a chance and hit the on ramp. The 210 freeway’s a parking lot as usual, an endless cram of commuters backed up to the San Dimas Curve. Oh well… 7:31 Switch on the CD player to help pass the time. Listen to the sounds of the 60’s. Each song evoking sweet memories of my youth. It doesn’t take long for those sweet tunes to begin taunting me, laughing at me for believing for even one second that I could ever capture even one single moment of the days of my youth. 7:40 Nearly to the Sunflower Ave off-ramp. Think about getting off and turn on my signal to switch lanes. 7:42 Still unable to change lanes. 7:43 Missed off-ramp. Stuck on the freeway. 7:52 Able to exit the freeway at Grand Ave. Took surface streets the rest of the way to work. 8:02 Arrive at work. Late!
And so it goes, 5 days a week, 38 weeks a year, rain or shine. That’s right I only work 38 weeks a year. 38.2 to be exact, 191 contract days. Summers off, a week at Thanksgiving, two weeks at Christmas, a week in the Spring, and all those state holidays! Ah, the benefits of Academia!
Yes, I am an educator, at the high school level. I work at a wonderland of delightfully pleasant, industrious, inquisitive students, benevolent, supportive parents and overtly, appreciative administrators. Yeah right! Maybe on some perfect world in an alternate galaxy, far, far, away, but not at my school, not in most schools for that matter.
In this lifetime I find myself working at my alma mater, as a guidance counselor. Several people I know think I’m nuts for working at a high school and would rather do just about anything else than to work with teenagers, but I can honestly say I truly enjoy what I do. I feel very fortunate to be doing what I do. There is a fair amount of paperwork and other clerical duties, and an occasional upset parent or two, but for the most part I work with students, counseling them on academic and personal matters. We are very fortunate to have an administrator who deals with all the discipline. We help her out, but only occasionally, giving us more time to work with our caseload.
Sometimes when I’m working with my seniors discussing graduation, college or simply offering encouragement when they’re overwhelmed or worried, I find myself feeling like a cheerleader minus the pom poms! “You can do this!” I hear myself telling them, “you’ve still got plenty of time to get your grades up. Just focus on getting it done so come June your mom and dad can watch you walk across that stage on graduation night! You can do it!” Then I think to myself, God, they pay me for this! Just call me Mr. Lucky.
3:00 My workday ends. Another pleasant day at the office. Head for home. It all begins again tomorrow! God willing…