Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Greg/Priya: First Day of school

So today was my first day of teaching Kindergarten, but it wasnt just, as Alia described it, "fingerpainting and naptime", we also had recess and story time. ;)

I woke up at 5am, because school started at 8 and I wanted to be there at 7 to make sure everything was set up and I could talk to parents who had any questions and wanted to meet me. It doesnt take 2 hours to get ready in Priya's body, I just over estimated because I wanted to err on the side of caution. Certain things need to be shaved or washed or applied, and it seems like theres something new everyday to worry about and I didnt want to be caught off guard.

Dressing was a bit of trick because I had to pick an appropriate outfit. As a man I always wore a suit to work and If i were teaching high school or something Id probably do the same. But I took into account the comments on my last entry warning me about the kids saying It would be like the movie "kindergarten cop" (which i re watched over the past week)and I figured I'd need something easier to move around in. I found a simple green dress that went to the knee and covered up most of the top. Add in a blouse underneath and some stockings and a pair of flats, and I looked every bit like a stereotypical kindergarten teacher.

The drive to Stevenson Elementary was longer than it shouldve been because of city traffic. It took an hour to get from Priya's loft in the theater district to the school in Wrigleyville. Im sure construction had something to do with it, but I might start taking the Ltrain to work just to spare myself the stress. Altho it was fun driving Priya's car, a 2001 BMW that she got for her HS graduation and has had ever since.

I got to school at 7:10 and settled into my classroom, which I spent the last 3 days decorating with inspirational and educational posters, most of which contained cartoon characters. Around 7:40 the first kids started to come in with their parents. Almost all of them had to be talked into staying and a few threw tantrums. This led me to realize one thing that made my day extremely easier: I was the only one in class who had been to kindergarten before. Unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie, I wasnt being thrown into a room full of kids who are used to a routine and knew how to manipulate it, I was here with children who had never been to school at ALL before. So despite being in a foreign occupation, gender, race,and countless other things, I still had a leg up on the kids.

I greeted most of them as they came in and introduced myself as "Ms. Priya" (which sounds a lot more familiar and fun to say then "Ms Patel"). Most of the kids settled down when I got on their level (something I read in a book) and told them about all the fun things we got to do here for a little while until their parents came back. This assuaged most of the tension, but a few kids had crying fits that lasted until the bell rang. And some kids were totally fine with it and I assumed that they had gone to preschool or something. This one kid, Lloyd, shook my hand and told me if i needed any help I should ask him. I told him it was very nice of him and smiled brightly, which made him smile proudly.

When the bell rang I asked everyone loudly but nicely to please sit on the carpet ("learning rug" is its "official" name). Most of the kids obliged and I had to go around and comfort the stragglers but I finally got all of their attention.

Most of the first day was spent laying down ground rules and going through each of the day's activities and explaining them. I think it helped that Priya is the most non-threatening looking person in the world and her high pitched voice seems to work well with the kids as most of them seemed to like me and I didnt have any major incidents besides the usual messiness (thats what "cleanup time' is for).

The day flew by. I stuck to the curriculum and actually had fun doing it. Its not like I was teaching them anything super complicated or difficult, I was just instilling basic skills in a way thats really very enjoyable. The kids seemed to react well too, as nobody said they wanted to go home, although they were all pleasantly surprised to see their parents at 230.

I stuck around until after 4 and made it back to Priya's place around five. I put on a tank top and pajama bottoms and poured myself a glass of wine and called Dee (which i haven't mentioned, is what Dolores goes by) , since it was her first day of work too.

I reconciled my differences with Dee over the past week. I told her I was sorry about being mad at her and I overreacted. She apologized but I told her that the longterm consequences of not having sex with amber would be much worse and I reluctantly "gave her the green light" but told her to be safe. I also figured that being at odds with Dolores would make her much less receptive to my advice about how to be me, and I dont want her to screw anything up.

I spent the weekend giving her a crash course in how to run a hotel. I didnt expect her to be perfect, although she does have a college degree and was an office manager before going into Insurance, so I figured she couldnt screw up monumentally. I told her if all else fails to lean on my assistant, Heather, and she would know what to do.

Which is what she did, apparently. My crash course didnt help much at all, it seems. Fortunately she was able to chalk it up to the month off and Heather made excuses like a pro. Good 'ol Heather. I gotta remember to give her a raise.

Hopefully the next week goes as well as today did. A solid work life would make things a lot easier on me, allowing me to try and sort out a personal life that isnt mine. Amber's been saying we should hang out more, so i'll probably have to bite the bullet and do girly things with the love of my life.

Wish me luck


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