who let the….

10 Apr

So, I took a day off of work today and spent it at the elementary school volunteering as a “positive male role model” as part of the WATCH D.O.G.S. program. It’s the kind of thing I probably should have done sooner, as my youngest kid is but three months short of moving on from elementary school, and my oldest is in college, but hey, whatever. I’m not sure it’s even been around that long.

So, I gave an enthusiastic introduction the morning announcements as the strains of the titular Baha Men tune faded, gave a ton of high fives to the younger ones, and got kind of quizzical, amused looks from my youngest child’s friends. Oh well, she was proud I was there.

My duties according to the schedule they gave me had me helping out in 40 minute shifts in lots of, for whatever reason, 2nd grade classrooms. I ended up tutoring a bunch of math, worked out pretty well – I got a kid to understand “borrowing” in subtraction, so I nailed the good deed for the day. I also covered cafeteria duty, supervised recess, and helped out carrying some things.

Although I’ve been the father to three kids through elementary school (or nearly so) at this point, I shall never get used to the fact that I feel like a giant as I make my way through elementary school classrooms (the furniture is so small); and, I’d probably never have the patience to be a legit elementary school teacher; it’d be way to draining for not nearly the reward I get for managing adults working software projects, who are, honestly, not that different in terms of maturity or excessive dramatic license when it all comes down to it, but in the end, I’d rather make the low six figures that I do rather than a fifth that for what’s honestly more work.

Having spent some time on the teacher side of the “chalk line” myself, even if it was only a little less than a year, I have great respect for teachers, especially since I did it for just long enough to wash out. These folks are, frankly, heroes, for putting up with the crap they do for the little reward they do it for, and deserve our respect (I’m definitely buying a teacher a beer the next time I hit Castleburg) and appreciation. One of the second grade teachers I worked with today was having an extra hard day, and it was my pleasure and honor to spend a little while serving as a sympathetic ear for them this afternoon.

Anyway, that’s what I did today. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be back to dealing with the vagaries of program management.

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