I have now been at the New Center since July 28th.  I have had some time to adjust to the quirks, the differences, the way of the world, so to speak.  Well, the way of the world is going along swimmingly, the majority of the time.  I do have some complaints, like the one computer with word processing for all teachers and therapy staff to use.  None of the kid computers have MS Word, so the teachers have to write IEPs in the therapy office.  I’m not being territorial; it’s one computer for 14 teachers and 3 therapists.  It seems a little weird. 

It’s very dangerous to begin my next gripe, because, in the scheme of things, it’s not so bad.  Some might argue it’s a blessing, or might tell me just to suck it up and be content with the way things are.  Here’s the situation: at my old center, I arrived promptly at 7:52am, or thereabouts, for the day to start at 8:00am.  The administrative assistant was always there early, and some teachers were, too, having caught an early bus.  Children arrived around 8:30am (even the bus was getting there more or less on time), and therapy could begin. Here, the day begins at 8:30am.  The teachers are straggling in at 8:30am.  The kids are also scheduled to arrive at 8:30am, but the buses don’t often arrive till 9:00am.  So I can’t begin therapy till then.  But I still technically have to be able to see as many kids.  It’s not only my eagerness to do my work.  Oh, no.  It’s my eagerness to be let into the building.  The therapy office (where I stow my gear, stash my lunch, and do my paperwork) is separate from the classrooms, and operates on a different key, different alarm, different everything.  So even if teachers and secretary are there, my building may be still Fort Knox’d up.  As it was this morning.  The social worker arrived at 9:00am, as she is supposed to, and we were waiting in the blazing heat until then.  Of course, the secretary came in late, or not at all.  The program director (the only other person with a key) was nowhere to be found.  At 9:00am, we were let in.  Barely enough time to crank up the A/C, having been sweating our brains out on the hot porch for a half-hour.  Then we went into therapy marathon.  At least I had high absenteeism today, or I never would have seen my kids. 

I’m used to promptness being rewarded.  Mr. Apron has schooled me in this way of thinking, and he’s usually right.  Show up early to a job interview, and they think you’re conscientous and dependable.  Show up early for a doctor’s appointment, and you may get seen early.  Mr. Apron has many times been seen by the doctor and left the building before his actual scheduled time.  Yet in this case, showing up early means either standing on the sweltering porch while the engine from the food truck idles diesel fumes 2 feet away, or burn gasoline sitting in the air-conditioned car for anywhere from 10-40 minutes.  Neither is very appealing.  On a day without children, it’s not so bad, since there’s no rush on therapy, and those days have a more relaxed atmosphere anyway.  But on a day when school is in session, it’s very inconvenient, not to mention unprofessional. 

I’ve been told we’re getting keys.  I’m not sure if we’re getting the magic deadbolt key that opens the shop, or just the bottom lock that opens it during business hours.  And as for alarm codes, a part of me doesn’t want to know those sacred numbers.  Ever.  Because then one can be called upon to open, to close, to take on increased responsibility.  I can do that in therapy.  I’d be happy to take on a student in speech pathology, or to train people in something I’m good at (like creating Excel schedules, or making sock monkeys).  I just don’t want extra accountability with the facility itself. 

It’s a toss-up.  Am I rewarded for my promptness if it means I get a key and a code and can let the whole world into the building, or am I content with the facility’s excuse as to why I didn’t see my first kid until 9:15 am today?  With great power comes great responsibility, and I’m not sure I want that.

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