I just dropped my resignation in the mailbox and I feel like a ton of bricks fell off of my shoulders.
But it’s a mixture of relief and grief…
I’ve had a grand 8 years as a school nurse. Looking back, the very first year was the toughest. Nobody, I mean nobody, showed me what to do. I had a thick handbook of guidelines and policies that was supposed to prepare me. I didn’t know about hall passes, bell schedules, and (worst of all) I had no idea how to use the computer–no password, no training. The 8th-graders could smell blood and a certain group of boys would duck into my office during passing period, constantly skipping class, pretending to be sick so they could take a nap. There was a contingent of girls who were always angry and always on their periods, showing up every hour to beg me to send them home. This was nursing??? Lunchtime always attracted a group of misfits who were just too awkward to enjoy recess, and those were the ones who really touched me. It was enough to make me try it one more year.
The next year my mission was to get the teachers on board to send passes with the kids, but I think many of them took it as a challenge and would let 2-3 go to my office at a time, same pass, none of them sick. Others just sent them on, too busy to write a pass, so there was often standing-room-only in my office. I just gave up and started feeding them crackers for their belly aches, their headaches, or because they were there, and I tell you, those crackers magically cured whatever ailed them. I began to listen to their stories. Most of it was a load of crap, honestly. It takes a special kind of patience to listen to adolescent problems and I developed that skill. Occasionally, there would be someone who I genuinely touched, someone who I was able to help through a tough time. Even though the job was maddening, and the pay was shitty, I felt like I needed to stay… just in case there was one more someone out there who I could help. 6 years flew by…
I became the Manager of the Misfit Cafe, where the crackers are Magic. I gave out hugs and advice, scoldings and praise, comfort and safety. Yes, there were plenty of bloody noses, head lice, broken bones, and a rash of concussions, as well. There was a smattering of complaining parents and teachers, but for the most part, I loved it.
This year, though, the kids seemed more like manipulators than misfits, and the crackers lost their Magic. Parents were harder to please, teachers touchier, and I was overwhelmed by the paperwork. My patience wore thin, blew out, broke down.
There are 6 co-workers who I call friend and will remember fondly. I made many kid-friends who I remember with love.
… I’m turning out the lights, hanging the CLOSED sign on the door, and moving on..