It has been two months since I accepted a position with one of Minneapolis’ middle schools. During that time, I have played my role as librarian, technical repair, maintenance and troubleshooting, and taught my first class on media technology.
All-in-all, it’s been good, but the obstacles and hurdles… Oy!
From what I have heard, this school’s library and computer labs I run used to be staffed with five full-time people. Today, after four to five years of budget cuts, there are two: my assistant and myself. We are both, technically, part-time. In reality, however, we each put in a full-time effort. Although I am listed as a “point eight,” which means thirty-two hours a week, I can’t recall a week where I have worked less than forty. I am not complaining. My work is at a place where I can do good and I sleep well each night knowing that what I do will have benefits for our society somewhere down the road.
If I have any complaint, it is that my poor library and media center have been stuck in a time bubble. With year after year of budget cuts, we have lost our ability to keep our book stacks and magazine racks — the latter is a meager selection at best, these days — updated. Our computers are between three and five generations old; some are beginning to fail after years of intense use.
On my drive home, I flip through the radio dials and, all too frequently, wind up hearing some ignorant, bombastic blowhard railing against my school district in particular or against public schools in general. Of these mooks, our semi-homegrown resident right-winger Jason Lewis tends to raise my blood pressure the most. To him, I am a some kind of socialistic, lazy, inept, wheedler of his and Minnesota’s tax dollars. Well, to address his concerns, I am most certainly not lazy (I think I’ve lost five pounds since I started this job), nor inept (heck, I feel like an army cook who can make Spam look and taste like it came out of the kitchen of a five-star restaurant). Hell, Minneapolis is getting one heck of a deal with me on their payroll; paying me for thirty-two hours when I easily put in forty to fifty each week. Technical assistance from the private sector runs anywhere between fifty and one-hundred and fifty dollars an hour. My school gets my know-how for a song in comparison.
(What’s that? I didn’t address the “socialistic” part? Well, you can figure it out for yourself.)
Now that I have settled into a general pattern of my varied and constantly shifting responsibilities… maybe “pattern” isn’t the best term to describe things… I should be able to carve out a little time to put some life into my poor, little, comatose blog. Please hang in there, all three of my dear readers. Yowling should be yowling away soon.