Today outside, the same two cute little girls from my Lesbian Nemesis' class came running up to me gleefully. One wanted to be picked up, so I swung her in the air. I didn't hold her, just swung her up briefly. Instantly, ol' L-Nem comes running up and tells the girls to go play, saying again "He's not there to play with you. Mr. Chance needs to watch all the children." Now, teachers giving kids extra attention may be her pet peeve or something, but I doubt it. One, I've seen her giving total attention to one or two kids briefly and appropriately, as I was doing. Two, it's not like I was walking around with the kid. I picked her up briefly. I really do think L-Nem is jealous that two of "her" kids happen to find me amusing. Three, I'd literally just arrived; L-Nem had no idea what I was out there for.
Second thing that got me down today: the school's having an auction in a couple of months, where parents bid on donated prizes to raise money for Prestigious. Teachers are strongly expected to donate time or projects. Not knowing at all what to do, I asked my fellow reserve team members about it, and they said that they donate as a group. I was relieved for about half a second, until they said they were going to do a "makeup party." Obviously, I can't be part of that. So much for team unity. Like last year when they had a different male reserve teacher, they've left me to find my own project to donate. My ninth day on the job. Fantastic.
This event exemplifies the atmosphere in general. I've worked with women all my life, and never have I been surrounded by so much girl talk as I have here. It's nothing but kittens and weddings and pregnancies and makeup and shoes and on and on. I understand a little female excitement at such things, but all the time? Where are the, shall we say, more earthy women who don't natter away about babies and marriage bouquets and rings? I've worked with them before. They're not at Prestigious, I guess.
The third thing that's bringing me down is the downtime. Quite a lot of the day, I'm just walking around seeing if there's anything for me to do, and almost always, the answer is no. I know most teachers (overworked and underpaid) would guffaw derisively at this "problem" (especially considering my paycheck), but really, it makes me uncomfortable. I like to be busy, or at least look busy. Being a reserve teacher, I don't have a set group of kids to track the progress of, or plans to make, so my downtime can't be filled with planning or long-term projects. I end up, as I say, trolling the halls, and I feel like I look useless out there. Or perhaps worse, unwanted.
If it weren't for some kind words from a couple of sympathetic teachers (one said that being new at Prestigious was one of the hardest things she'd ever done), I might have been very depressed at the end of today.
This is a terrific job and a huge notch in my belt career-wise, but I'm not so sure I fit in. At Brown, even though I wasn't getting paid, and the work was much harder and the hours unforgivable, I went home satisfied and happy with what I'd done that day, and nearly everyone raved about me, and I had a great time laughing with the other teachers. This has not been the case at Prestigious, yet. Obviously, it's too early to decide that I may not be happy here, but it's a possible gnat in the ointment at this point.
I've been at this job nine days. Am I hysterically over-reacting to a couple of bad moments? I am such a girl.