Benefits of Being Back at Work (Temporarily)

I had wanted to get a suitably Gaelic green post up for Thursday, but events and work prevented. (Instead this one appears quite late the next day.) My ongoing spate of substitute teaching sadly continues,* meaning that I now have assignments to evaluate and grades to record (in addition to merely being present in a classroom from 8:00 AM until 3:15 PM — a sub’s normal routine). That effort adds some time at the beginnings and ends of my days, but not academic activity alone.

Intriguing how things change and yet remain unaltered. The old classroom at Andrew Community School — so different and yet… (with one of the sophomore boys, Friday, March 18).

Although the speech practices ended with the glorious state contest results I mentioned already,** play rehearsals continue (and finding times that the entire cast is available has become apparently impossible). I even succumbed to student persistence and scheduled a morning practice (which we used to require every week for the fall productions and which I dreaded, perhaps nonsensically as I otherwise might arise at the nearly same time to run, but the prospect of which dismayed me nonetheless). We, ah, “enjoyed” that practice this morning.

I arose at my usual get-up-and-go-running time (roughly 4:40 AM), but no run today (nor has there been for two weeks now, my daily exhaustion from the once-again regular work schedule has been telling on my vivacity and dedication to exercise). Instead I quickly showered and dressed, gobbled down my half a grapefruit, skipping even the coffee which I had neglected to start brewing earlier than usual. Even with the quarter-hour drive to school,*** I arrived in time to welcome even the early arising among the cast and start the runthrough of Act Two promptly at 6:20 (although it turned out that we could have started twenty minutes later than we did, as that act runs more quickly than I had realized). So even leaving school at a pretty reasonable and early time in the afternoon, I still put in an almost ten-hour day.

One benefit, I suppose, from sort of teaching again, for what may become three weeks solidly, is an income. I discovered last week that when a sub at Andrew goes ten days in a row, the pay scale increases from the standard $85 a day to 1/180th of the contractual base salary, nearly doubling one’s earnings. I kicked over ten days Thursday, and today was payday, so we add a touch of green to my life after St. Patrick’s Day.

I celebrated that good news (a tad in advance, yesterday — my sole celebratory act for the Celtic holiday) by purchasing myself a little iPod Nano (the eight-gig model was the only one available at our local Walmart, where I had for Christmas bought The Lovely One a Shuffle). Yes, I had realized that my old Classic had died**** and it was time to find a replacement, even one that could only hold a measly 4000 “songs.” But one that with flash memory instead of a fragile hard drive could withstand the rigors of my running (okay, barely jogging) regimen (although the old Classic did endure three good years before it failed). And the new device wasn’t hideously expensive (yeah, okay, it’s an Apple product, true, so it cost noticeably more than it might).

I didn’t get it set up and formatted, nor any music loaded as a playlist, yesterday (and I will explain why not tomorrow) because I knew that the tiny new player would have no function even if I did get that preliminary job done: I had play practice to direct rather than a moonlit morning run. But once I do, I hope tomorrow, perhaps the utility of the new device will lure me from bed with renewed regularity to resume my currently interrupted fat-man-jogging tours of the town.

The mental stress of being called to substitute at my former endeavors in education may have combined with the untimely but coincident demise of the old iPod to break my resolve at running. But one benefit of working (let’s hope it’s not the only one) is the financial reward, however skimpy, and that may have permitted me to acquire what I hope I need to get back on track.

* (not so unhappily for me, actually readjusting to fulltime work, at least somewhat, periodically, but with melancholy for the teacher in whose shoes I have temped with such unerring mediocrity)

** …and the ex-speech coach in me wishes I could claim some of that credit… But that would be a lie. The success all belongs to the wonderful teacher I have but briefly usurped. (At least they didn’t quite break all the records kids and teams I had coached had set!)

*** During which drive I got to enjoy the waxing gibbous, nearly full mega-moon in all its immense glory (resembling, strangely, the logo for my second full-length play, Magick).

**** (or perhaps not… That’s tomorrow’s tale.)

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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