Saturday, September 20, 2008

10 percent fun!

Here is the absolute truth, and you might not be ready for it: I have the greatest job in the world. I know that four out of five days next week I'm going to have to remind myself of that in really cheesy ways (maybe I'll have to write it on the inside of my palms, or spell it out in maple syrup on my stress-food-chocolate-chip-pancakes), but today the reality is crystal clear. There is absolutely nothing better than teaching Special Education at L. E. Rabouin Senior High School (by the way -- I Wikipediaed Rabouin the day I got hired, and I found nothing about him. I have no idea who that guy was. He was EXTREMELY white, from what I can tell from the brass sculpture of him in the hallway by the metal detectors. But why can't they name high schools after people who were actually important enough to have Wikipedia entries? Like Salim Muwakkil [my Chicago seminar leader and personal mentor] or my first band the Esplanades?).

I started building rapport with a few really hard-to-crack kids today, and it felt really, really good. Crayton, who is usually running around Environmental Science class like it's Discovery Zone (that would be cool, actually, but it's just not the reality), worked with me through the entire class and when I said "Thank you so much for your hard work," he said, "Yeah, Ms. Johnson, you aight. You a cool teacher." It was basically a whole day like that. And let me tell you the secret to this success.

Starbursts. In ABUNDANCE.

I don't know what it is, but something about Starburst candy makes even GEE science equations seem fascinating. I had incredible management in all my classes. And the icing on the cake was this: A TON of Gen. Ed. kids not only know my name, but call me by it. Frequently. In a respectful tone. For a SpEd inclusion teacher at a school like Rabouin, that's like winning a gold medal.

Of course, I'll lose all this ground on Monday, and I'll probably feel really shitty again. But right now, it feels like the coolest thing I could possibly be doing to have it be my JOB to sit with tremendously funny, street-smart kids and help them graduate from high school.

Also, there was a cool lab in Biology today where Ms. Amundson had them extract DNA from pea soup, which was BADASS. DNA looks disgusting! If someone had told me a year ago that my job this year would involve extracting DNA, I would have laughed to the point of tears.

After I posted yesterday, I set out to reverse the downward plunge of the evening. Alexis, Marianne and I walked to the gelato shop on Magazine and bought (can you guess?) gelato. I was a gelato virgin, so that was a pretty exciting development. And when we got there, I decided it was time to get to know people outside TFA, so I introduced myself to the two gelato guys behind the counter, who are 22-year-old musicians who just moved from (wait for it) CHICAGO -- second greatest city in the UNIVERSE (Portland will always hold the number one spot in my heart). And I know where they work, so if they don't call, I'll just track them down.

We also so a cake that was made to look like a pot of LOBSTERS at Sucre, and that was obviously AWESOME.

Tonight I spent some time with some absolutely Refreshing (note the capital 'R') women from TFA. We had Vietnamese food and drove out to the Marigny. It's amazing how incredible it feels to get an honest-to-God friendship vibe with the people you're hanging out with. I have had trouble adjusting, but I think I actually found a group of people who I can really get behind. Get behind? That sounds sexual.

Now, tomorrow is Saturday. That means it has the most potential of all days for BIG FUN INCREASES. These are my tentatively planned fun-increasing activities:
  • Make four or five batches of vegan cupcakes and distribute with fervor to anyone and everyone who I admire, owe something, or have a big crush on. Tomorrow I'll leave you my recipe and maybe snap a few pictures... Do you like vanilla or chocolate versions of cupcakes better?
  • Go to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
  • Take the St. Charles Streetcar all the way to the Carrollton side and explore the College Towny part of GNO. Maybe I'll even go to Audubon Park! I haven't done that yet.
  • WWII Museum? My real fascination here is that I think they have Swing Dancing classes once a week and that's an investment I'd love to get back into.
  • Plan BOARD GAME NIGHT (next Thursday. It's going down.)
  • Make dinner with the girls (I like that --"the girls." I'm going to go with that.) and go to the arthouse cinema on Prytania. They're showing "Burn After Reading," and I absolutely want to see that. We might go to the bar, too. Lesbian bar? I'm definitely interested.
  • Listen to the new MILEY CYRUS CD I bought. How cool am I? How much am I lost on 20-year-olds?
  • Clean the house. It's out of control. Too many working groups means that basically everything else goes to shit.
It's an ambitious weekend plan, but I'm not going to spend another Saturday in bed thinking, "maybe I'll do this, maybe I'll do that," and then end up actually vegging out and watching bad syndicated television with the "I deserve this, I work sooo hard excuse." The funness quota is way more important.

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