Some days, I feel like my job is not real. This has a lot less to do with its temporary status than with what I am doing at that given moment.
Yesterday, I thought, what the hey, I'll ride my bicycle (which was at Big Elementary, having been left there post-Autumn-festival by me upon being offered a car ride home with another JET) to Small Elementary. It's not really all that far up the valley from my other schools.
It is, however, uphill all the way. I have a lot of leeway when it comes to what time I arrive at Small Elementary, because it's so out of the way, and regular buses don't go up that road. If I make the connections the way I am supposed to, I hit the schoolyard about the time first period is starting. If I'm lucky, they will have left first period free, and I can teach the other five after taking a minute to get my materials in order and have a cup of coffee.
If I'm not lucky, I have to hit the ground running and dash off to third or fifth grade; hopefully I have all the materials in hand, but if I am hoping to dig flashcards out of the textbook flashcard box, I end up feeling lame for running late to class. The kicker is, they generally don't warn me, so I don't know until I walk in and look at the schedule on the front board whether I get 40 minutes of chill time or if I am already late.
If I drive myself there, which is against the rules (but come ON.. on the occasions when they DO warn me that I have a first period class, I can't just show up late, knowing that some of my materials are buried in boxes in their office), I kind of feel chagrined for obviously flouting the rules set down for me. If I get there at 8:20 instead of 8:35, I am clearly disobedient.
Anyway, there I was, red-faced and sweating in the cool October air, pushing my bike up the hill after whatever point I gave up trying to pedal. I couldn't help but enjoy the quaint view of persimmon trees and rice fields, wildflowers and lovely houses along the way. It was basically like taking a stroll when the other teachers are having their morning meeting. Kind of weird. Or awesome. Unprofessional? Maybe childish. But also special.
The weather yesterday resolved itself into perfection just in time for morning recess, so I ignored my physically demanding schedule and went outside to play. During my planning period, I took a walk up the hill behind the school and found the path to the little shrine at which I'm always staring when I use the stairwell. It's kind of like being in your own little world, but taking breaks from that to teach a bunch of classes. Or else, being in teaching world, but taking frequent forays out into something else.
Either way, it doesn't feel like a real job, days like that.
Today, Wednesday, which has rapidly become my get-shit-accomplished day (I generally have one or no classes on Wednesday... every other day I have four to six), my VP reminded me that these reports for CLAIR are due tomorrow. I made a halfhearted attempt to tell him that the reports are optional, and then sat down to do them in true I-went-to-college-and-can-bust-out-reports-like-whoa form. I'm at my desk, makin' outlines and mapping ideas and I feel like this is a lot more like what real office people do. Meaning, I feel like my job is "real." I've got a whole list of things to do. It sort of brings out the businessperson in me, though, and I don't dislike it.
I think the low pressure of yesterday would, were it every day, eventually cause me to explode. While the high pressure of today would, were it every day, eventually cause me to implode.