Monday, December 29, 2008

Mama Monday #45.1

Theme: Last

Phew! I made it! Sorry this is "late". I'm working feverishly around my house, trying to get many random things all wrapped up and completed. I tell ya - it not only is the last few days of 2008, it also feels like it's the last few days of life as I've come to know (and love) it.

Due to a huge ice storm that our state endured mid month, and now the regular "holiday break" Sweetie's enjoying from school, Sweetie has not had school since Wednesday, Dec. 10th. The 10! It's like summer vacation but with snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. 

I'm glad Sweetie is only in Kindergarten and doesn't realize how these many days off - and still more snow days yet to come this season, I'm sure - will negatively impact the start date of her summer vacation. Similarly, I'm glad Sweetie likes school so much and will be nothing but thrilled to return next September after a (presumably) very short vacation. But I do feel badly for all those Juniors and Seniors who totally got the short end of the stick due to good ol' Mother Nature. No graduating early this year, that's for sure!

Anyway, Sweetie finally goes back to school next Monday, Jan. 5th. That is, if a big snow storm doesn't hit then, thus canceling school for yet another day (bite my tongue!). And I'm already feeling selfishly sad about sending her away from me once again to resume her school days with her teacher and friends. I've enjoyed these days with her. We've all had a great, fun, exciting Holiday time. We've relaxed a little in terms of certain family rules (bedtime and wake up time, specifically). And I know it will be hard for both Sweetie and myself to jump back into the school days routine. Up early, out the door, brief time to myself to start everything - but yet not complete anything, back to pick her up, etc., etc., etc.

Routine and rules. Yuck.

And then there's a big change in my life that's literally right around the corner.

I'm starting some regular tutoring opportunities at the end of next week. As of right now, I know I have 2 children to tutor 2 times a week - pretty much until the end of the school year. Two more students are still pending. And my tutoring center director is fully aware that I'll take any and all tutoring opportunities that she'd like to send my way. From what I've been told, there is simply no end to the number of students waiting for tutors in this center's system. I hope to keep myself busy 4 afternoons per week, at least.

I've tutored for years. Over 15, to be exact. I've tutored at an adult learning center, as a peer tutor in college, and many, many junior and senior H.S. students either in their homes or at tutoring center locations. I know what I'm doing. I'm a good tutor and I thoroughly enjoy the work. In fact, it hardly even feels like work to me at all.

But this time around, I'll specifically be working with children in the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program in my state. These are, unfortunately, the types of students I'm talking about when I say there's "no end to the number of students waiting for tutors." But I've not worked with NCLB students before. And I'm currently feeling very overwhelmed.

Mind you, I'm not anxious or overwhelmed about the students. That part is "easy" and familiar to me. Working with kids is what I love best about the job.

What I am anxious and overwhelmed about is all the paperwork attached to NCLB tutoring. Individual Student Learning Plans (ISLP) to create. Testing to be done. Monthly progress reports to write. Etc., etc., etc. It's a whole new ball game working with these kids and it's very daunting. Tutors working with NCLB students get an extra stipend per hour because of the extra work involved. I know I'll come to understand what I'm doing with the paperwork in time. But right now it all looks like foreign mumbo jumbo, with coding to learn and abbreviations to master and incorporate into my forms. I have 2 ISLPs due within the next few days. Excuse me while I bury my head in paperwork examples in order to find my way out of this - and create my own - maze of data...

And so - this week - this last week of 2008 - I'm finding myself clearing out clutter from my home; tackling mounds of laundry and stacks of dishes; making sure Sweetie is not feeling overlooked; keeping the home fires burning; struggling over, learning about, and creating needed documents for my upcoming new part time (ha!) work; and - finally - trying to relax as much as possible, enjoy some of the new books and "toys" I got for Christmas (while helping Sweetie enjoy some of her new games and projects she received which happen to require - or at least desire - parental participation), placing long-overdue calls to businesses and establishments I've ignored until now. Pay bills. Ironing out my bank register. Basically, just wrapping up the last of life's details before the school year "begins" (again) and my new professional duties kick in (ahem - they already have!).

This year certainly hasn't been the best of years. In many ways, as you can imagine, I'm glad to see it go. But on the other hand, this has been a completely wonderful year. Time with my Sweetie, time being a "housewife" who's easily able to get household duties done during the week instead of stressing each weekend to get things squared away. It's all been great. Really. And for that, I wish these experiences of the year could last forever.

As Hubby and I agreed, after my recent bout of "will they hire me/won't they hire me/do I really want to be hired anyway" stresses - he and I both, honestly, like having me home. And I believe Sweetie has enjoyed it too. So, for that, I'm thrilled that my tutoring opportunities will meaningfully fill part of my time professionally (and personally), while being home for Sweetie, Hubby and the house will meaningfully fill the rest of my time on a family (and personal) level. 

On to a new year. On to new professional pathways, duties and dreams. On to a new and better life for us all.

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