I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ve subconsciously checked out because I know I only have (at the time of this posting) two days left of work at camp, or if it’s the kids sending me off with one last barbaric yawp, but I am exhausted. Mentally, physically, emotionally, everything.
It’s even worse because there were a few weeks there at the end when things had begun to improve. The kids were generally behaving, the few incidents we had were easily manageable, and several of them even latched onto me as their “favorite counselor”. Which means that this week comes at the end of a beautiful demonstration of how things should and could be.
I’m going to be honest, this job has sent me running into the open arms of my graduate program. It’s opened my eyes to the ugly, frequently brutal world that is childcare work, and I don’t know that I’m cut out for it. AmeriCorps left me with warm fuzzy feelings of making the world a better place, one educated child at a time. Summer camp has left me with nightmares and far too many days when the best I can do is keep crises at bay.
Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned this summer. I’ve become an excellent multi-tasker (I know everyone my age says that, but seriously, when you have five kids demanding your attention at once, you quickly learn how to deal with each person well enough to get everything under control as quickly as possible), I’m very good at conflict resolution (I constantly feel like King Solomon dividing the disputed baby between its two mothers), and I’ve learned how to work under pressure and how to think on my feet. Also, if I’m going to come to terms with my lack of desire to make a career out of managing large groups of children, I’m glad it happened now and not three months into my first year of teaching in a classroom.
And this was the perfect real-world experience that so many people advised me to get before going to grad school. When the readings are at their most confusing, and the papers are at their longest, and the professors are at their most frustrating, I can look back on this summer, and know that I soundly ruled out my best second option. The what-ifs, those dangerous poisoners of grad school commitment, are gone, at least for right now.
I’m not saying that, in the future, a career in the classroom is out of the question. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I honestly have no idea where I’ll be after my Master’s program, and I’m slowly becoming more and more okay with that idea (I’ve bought myself two years, I can almost guarantee I’ll be panicking in a year and a half). I’m trying to learn to grow from every situation I find myself in, and I’ve done a lot of growing this summer. But I’m tired, and I’m sore, and I’d be lying if I said I weren’t ecstatic about having a job for the first time in a year that lets me dress like a big kid.
With that jumbled mess of a confessional post, I’m going to bed. Tomorrow is another day.