C is for cat … children … chaos.

My first day of work …

After 2-1/2 years of unemployment, I salivate to say and write those words. Over and over and over.

How was my first day back on the payroll yesterday?! It’s a scene, man!

The after-school tutoring is held in the cafeteria. My employer is, I discovered, one of two tutoring providers. So imagine if you dare some 30 energized kids from kindergarten to grade 5/6 descending on the cafeteria at 3:30 p.m. It is scary! I’ve got the stamina. After all, I’ve been at the mall at Christmas time and survived.

Our slice of the tutoring pie is the smaller, with some 11 kids overseen by we three tutors, including the lead. Though she seems nice enough, the lead really didn’t have it together. Didn’t give us much in the way of guidance, direction or instruction. Tossed us into the pool.

Fortunately I’m a strong swimmer; the other tutor seems to have a level head on her shoulders. So we winged it as we went, with tutor 2, C., setting up with the older bunch, including one uber-active lad who really needs to be on the sports field, not at the cafeteria table, and I with the lone kindergartner. Which is how I like it because I’m a very one-on-one oriented person.

Day 1 consisted of administrating evaluative tests. I’m working with little Marcos, the kindergartner with minimal reading skills. Pictures … sounding out … simple spellings and new words rule. Caaaaaaat. Sounds like haaaaaaat. What’s that? That’s a roof. R-o-o-f. What’s this picture? A pan. {writing} p-a-n. I’ve tutored and taught English before. From toddlers to seniors, I’ve worked with ’em all.

Any age, I don’t pay it no mind. What I pay mind to is intent to learn and focus. I’m happiest paired up with someone who has focus. Perhaps it’s because I have it in spades. As a matter of small interest, through my life others have marveled at my ability to focus in settings of tremendous activity, noise, disruptions. I think nothing of it because it comes naturally; however, many is the occasion when for example I’ve sat writing or reading a book in a noisy bar, been approached by a stranger and asked: “How can you read with all this noise?” My standard reply is: “Bombs could be going off and I could still sit and write (or read).”

So a couple dozen little ones in a cafeteria was sometimes chaotic and a challenge — not for me but them. They’re loud. They run around. They’re not supposed to. That means some adults aren’t supervising properly. They want to play on the stage. Hop around on the bleachers.

And amongst children, one activity and distraction leads to another, in a chain of nuclear fusion. So I felt doubly fortunate not only to be tucked beside the wall working with lone Marcos but with a lad who was able to stay reasonably focused amid that.

Things’ll settle down once we get the students assigned to their appropriate texts. In the meantime, yesterday was something of a free fall. I’m not complaining! My fancy’s tickled to work with kids learning and growing their ABC’s. And two hours was about right. Kids by the batches are a handful.

I go in for Day 2 tomorrow.

In closing, many thanks to all who left congratulatory sentiments upon yesterday’s news of employment. They’re appreciated. Though the hours be scant and the fiscal situation severe, it feels fantastic to be back in the workforce doing something with meaning and value.

Yes, 2011 will be a year of hard work and meaningful gains. Yesterday my toes were wetted in pleasing waters. Millimeter by millimeter, the light is returning, the grounded ship is turning …


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mkirkd
    Jan 26, 2011 @ 16:46:35

    I’m so behind in reading posts and have over 255 emails to sort through..saw yours and it made me smile…I’m so happy you have found a job and that it is one that you like! May more and more good things come your way!


  2. Country Cinderella
    Jan 26, 2011 @ 21:32:54

    Sounds like your first day was a good one.

    I believe that once word of your tutoring skills gets around, you may get offers to do more one on one tutoring, besides the time your scheduled for already.

    I will keep hoping that this is sign of more good things to come for you, me and all the rest of us that have been struggling thru these tough economic times.


    • allycatadventures
      Jan 27, 2011 @ 11:23:25

      @countryc – Thanks for the good wishes! For a few reasons, I can’t realistically anticipate one-on-one offers to come of this gig, one being that this tutoring is free to the parents in this economically-challenged area; for private one-on-ones, I’d need to look elsewhere (i.e., where the money is!). Because of the change in the political landscape brought by the elections, 2011 is the year that things will begin looking up for many people and some, but not all, parts of the country.


  3. ladywise
    Jan 27, 2011 @ 09:40:16

    Congratulations Ally! I’m so glad you found a job that will make you happy.


  4. fatcatfromvox
    Jan 27, 2011 @ 13:41:16

    *yay!* That’s great news!


  5. kloppenmum
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 15:02:53

    Interesting you mention about being able to shut out the noise. When I taught (mumble years ago) I was known for having noisy classrooms, whoever I was working with was my focus – I didn’t hear the rest of them. (Unless violence was involved.)


  6. longeyesamurai
    Jan 29, 2011 @ 06:19:06

    Congrats on this wonderful news… Hope it’s one of many days…


  7. inaformerlifeanexpat
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 03:41:29

    Sorry for the belated congrats, but congrats…being employed does do wonders for everything.


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