Thursday, January 31, 2008


someone in my class has been caught reading this blog during class!

you really care, jessica marie.

dang. bear with it.

i am beginning -- or continuing -- to get frustrated with the whole babysitting thing. once i am in the house, with the kids, i'm so grateful for the opportunity to make money doing what i do, but the mothers are killin me up to that point!

i have one mother who has continuously underpaid me. for 6 months i left work early one day a week to pick her kids up from school, take them to my house, feed them, and then bring them BACK to their school to meet the mom. this was generally a 2-3 hour job. if she was 5 minutes early, she would only pay me for about half of that hour. if i was 5 minutes late picking them up from after school care (still arriving well before the program's pickup deadline) because i was in TRAFFIC, same thing with the pay. i really should start charging for the commute time, and god forbid anyone think to offer me gas money!

so all of this is nothing compared to what this same mom did almost every week: she insisted i take the kids to FAST FOOD instead of allowing me to make them something simple at my house. she refused to give them money in advance, but rather i would pay out of MY pocket and she would pay me back. firstly, i rarely have cash so i would have to put it on my debit card. secondly, she would never truly pay me back in full for it. example: she owes me $20 for babysitting and $7 for dinner, she gives me $25. one time, she didn't have change for a 10 so instead of going INTO the gas station where we had met up to get change, she says "i'll get you next week". i of course knew she wasn't going to remember the next week. so i emailed her the day before, and taking my opportunity to not get stiffed, i gave the amount: "please don't forget that extra $7". she had the NERVE to email me back and ask me how much she gave me last week and how i came up with $7!! i couldn't believe it.

so i of course am not doing that job this year because of school. well, she asks me to watch them on my one night off for a special meeting, last week. i agree to it. she cancels on me the day before and says she has to do it this week instead. this week, however, i was unavailable because of the orientation last night. i offer to do it tuesday night since my class was cancelled. she starts texting with me monday: things have changed and she will be with the kids instead of me picking them up at school. can i meet her by the STADIUM at 5:30?? mind you, i can't leave work earlier than 5 and the stadium is FAR from the kids' school. i tell her the best i could do is get there as quickly as possible, probably around 6. remember, i am driving way farther, not asking for gas money, and trying to bow to her whims. she responds with "that won't work. alright. i understand." (this implies i'm the one cancelling on her, doesn't it?) She concludes with "the kids will be disappointed, but maybe you'll babysit for them another time". maybe? MAYBE? is she freakin FIRING me?? unfortunately i will not be babysitting for them another time. never again.

the sad thing about this is that i really like the kids. you probably wonder where my backbone was during all of this wrongdoing. i get scared to speak up because the worst the parent can do is not use me as a sitter anymore. while it wouldn't be a problem financially since the majority of my issues are when they screw me on pay anyway, i just really miss the kids, especially when it ends a little negatively, making it inappropriate for me to check in on them from time to time. i love the fact that i still have relationships with some kids i babysat for when i was 14.

wow, the rant that originally made me write this post has been lost in that one! this one is not so bad: i commit to babysit for a particularly lovely family every other saturday. i arrange all babysitting around these dates. everyone wants me on saturday night, and it's my favorite night to babysit. people ask me ALL THE TIME to babysit on these people's night, and i have to turn them down. normally, it's not an issue because i am working a job for people i like, but lately, these regulars have been cancelling on me. for example, she just cancelled on me today for THIS saturday and the 16th. someone asked me about the 16th and i declined but i just emailed her to see if she still needs me -- she probably already has someone else. and how on earth am i going to find a job for this saturday?? i was counting on that money.

again i don't want to say anything because i don't want to lose the job. talk about a rock and a hard place. i try to view it as a blessing in disguise, as someone saying "take a night off, jamie". if anyone wants to take me out that night, please let me know :)

prayer works!

it's apparently true!

i got placed in grades k-2 at an elementary school in NORTH st. pete, perfectly halfway between my house and my job. in fact, it's almost sitting directly under a highway exit, which makes it that much more accessible.

i'm not going to name the school since i need to start practicing teacher confidentiality, but let's just say the name would make twisted, perverted middle schoolers (aka all of them) snicker. luckily it's an elementary school and i'm hoping these kids aren't that damaged yet.

i found info on the school from a website called greatschools dot net, which must be a good sign. in standards, it looks like overall they are about at average for the state in meeting grade standards (which doesn't say much, this FL education sucks), but the minorities at the school seem to be well above the average which is a great sign. 68% of students receive free or reduced lunch isn't that crazy?

i can't wait to get in there and hopefully reinforce my confidence, because the night courses certainly aren't doing much.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

orientation and disorientation

tonight i have my "practicum orientation", where i will find out which school i am student teaching at, and i'll meet my supervisor. i'm so nervous about this whole program, and about being a teacher in general, but the good thing is that so are all of my classmates. we're all really hoping that we will feel much better once we get into the classroom. all i know about my student teaching so far is that i won't be in hillsborough county (tampa, where i live), but i will be in south pinellas county. at this point it doesn't surprise me that the school let me down with that. the professors at st. pete college are great, but the administrative side of it all has so far been nothing short of a nightmare. i've been told by graduating students that i should not expect this to get any better over the year. we've all just got to learn to move past it and focus on succeeding despite the obstacles.

anyway south pinellas includes st. petersburg, where i work. there are really good parts of st. pete, including northeast st. pete, kenwood, and snell isle. however, the majority of st. pete (i.e., south st. pete) is dangerous and rather scary. so i'm really praying today to at least be put somewhere i'm comfortable. i don't necessarily NOT want to be in a "scary school", it might be where i'm meant to be. but i know i'll be placed where i'm meant to be and i'm just really hoping that's in a nicer school :)

the disorientation lies in my phyiscal body. i have been nauseated and have had a headache for almost a week now. no, there is no chance i'm pregnant, and i don't have a flu or something because it doesn't get significantly worse or better over time. my mom is telling me it's stress and all the things i'm involved in and all the big decisions i'm facing in the near future. i'm also praying that i learn to cope with it all and just trust myself, so that i can feel better physically if nothing else! Gabby really epitomizes how I feel here:

if anyone's reading, thank you :) i already feel that this blog was a really good idea.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

jamie p: an introduction

while this is certainly not my first blog, i am going to consider it my first "big-girl" blog, seeing as there is officially no denying that i am nearly a grown up. ok, apparently there's still a little denial but that certainly is not a detriment to my character.

i am 25 and i work in the non-profit "industry". i work for the fundraising department of the largest grassroots environmental organization in the country. i enjoy the atmosphere, the motives, and the work enough, but let's face it, i barely make enough money to live by.

ergo, i babysit 15 or so hours a week to supplement my income. i babysit some really great kids!

i have a bachelor's degree in cultural anthropology from an honor's college in baltimore. i live in tampa, fl and have for the last two years. in that time, i have moved four times. in the last seven years, i have moved at least 15 times through four different states. i enjoy the transient life in many ways but would like to find it in my heart to settle rather soon. the irony is that i don't want to be in tampa forever so "soon" most likely means at least four years from now.
i am currently in school at night to acquire my teaching certification for grades k-5. it's rigorous and stressful but i'm planning on it being well worth it. i have always known i will teach. i got my fill of it through nannying and now through babysitting, but it's time to make it a career. i am counting the weeks until graduation -- only 47 to go!
i have two beautiful boxer pups and a lump-o-love cat named fish. they are the focus of my few free hours. my other obsessions include singing and playing my tinwhistles, decorating my house, LOST, kayaking, collecting kitschy unicorn iconography, Yankee Candles, Indian food, and key lime pie. i am a vegetarian and have been slowly moving toward this lifestyle since the age of 10 when i stopped eating ground beef. i haven't eaten red meat since 14 and have cut out all meat about 5 years ago. i really just don't like the way it makes me feel.
i admit that my life is not nearly as exciting as it has been in the past, but i am proud of what i am accomplishing. i am taking the time to reflect on my life and make the best decisions for the future. ew, i guess i really am growing up.