My Real Life

August 26, 2009

Real Job

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:08 am

I’m sure you all have been dying with curiosity about what I do with my day. Where does she go? What does she do? More importantly, what does her workspace look like?

Well, here ya go.

walk 001

This is my desk, in my office, in my school. Yes, it’s usually this neat and tidy. (Forgive the piles of books in the background…the woman with whom I share my office is the Instructional Leader for Language Arts and so all of the book orders get sent to our office. Once school starts, they’ll be distributed to the classrooms and then what you’d see in front of my desk is a long, clean, shining conference table.)

So, let’s look at the desk of me.

First and foremost, you see the computer. This is where I create Excel spreadsheets out the wazoo. I use that computer to create matrices, rubrics, analyze test scores, create and analyze surveys, send work-related e-mails, create permission slips, create schedules, and do a gajillion other things that an Instructional Leader for Math and Science must do.

Then, you see the pictures of the kids. These are my favorite things on my desk. I love to just look at the pictures and try to imagine what they are doing at right that moment. Are they working hard at their little desks at school? Playing with friends? Thinking about how much they miss their wonderful Mommy?

It’s hard to miss the ginormous container of hand sanitizer. The school district put one on every desk last year when the whole swine flu thing hit. Our area was affected a great deal. The absentee lists were crazy in our town and the surrounding towns. So, even though I don’t teach children in my office, both my partner and I have these on our desks and we make sure to use them frequently.

Tape and stapler, pretty standard in a school. Don’t think they need an explanation.

However, I’d like to point out the Looney Toons pen/pencil holder. I bought that 15 years ago when I got my first, full-time teaching job. It was at a residential school for girls with emotional and psychological disorders. It was a heavy, heavy job. These girls had the roughest lives I had ever heard about. I couldn’t read their files without sobbing. It was the saddest job I’ve ever had. So, one day, I was shopping and I saw this Looney Toons pen/pencil holder on the clearance shelf for $1.00. I bought it and brought it to school. I had one student, Elizabeth. She never smiled. Never. I wouldn’t have ever smiled either, if I had lived the life she had lived. She was only 15. When she walked in the classroom, she saw the pencil holder, looked at me, smiled, and gave me a thumbs up. It was the first, and last, time I saw her smile for that entire year. I will never throw that container away.

The little glass jar that is on the desk was a gift from two students I had in my first year at the school where I currently work. On one side, it has my name. On the other is engraved “#1 Teacher.” I love that jar. 

You may also notice a picture of a dog. We don’t have a dog. Anymore. We did have a dog. Bennie. We bought Ben the year we got married; 1998. He was a puppy. Ben was…interesting. Ben had separation anxiety. We had Ben in doggie daycare, had him on an anti-anxiety medication, had a dog trainer, and spent more money on Ben in 5 years than we’ve spent on three kids in 8 years. Ben was a love. A real love. He was protective of Monkey Girl when she was a baby. She and he were best friends.

Eventually, however, Ben bit Real Man. It was a completely situational thing and probably never would have happened in a different situation, but we realized that if he ever bit one of the kids, we’d never forgive ourselves. So, we found a new family for Bennie. Now, Ben actually lives on a farm in Virginia with acres and acres to play on. I get e-mails from his new owner and he is doing great. I miss that guy, and that’s why, five years later, I still have his picture on my desk.

Then there are the Pop-Up Post It Notes, the tissues, the pile of papers I need to go through, my calculator, my To-Do List book with the orange cover, my water, the rolled up picture of the 8th grade class and chaperones (including me) from our DC trip last May, and my cell phone.

This is my desk. This is where I sit during the day and instructionally lead. These are the things I look at while I’m in my office.

Aren’t you glad you asked? (Yeah, yeah…I know. No one asked. But you wanted to.)


  1. I thought you just had a really, really messy office mate. I’ve done social work stuff. Tough first job you had. I’d keep the pencil holder too.

    Comment by Lisa — August 28, 2009 @ 6:02 am | Reply

  2. My desk at school never looked like that! You are very neat. 🙂

    Comment by Debbie — August 29, 2009 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

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