Car duty, the one thing I can easily write about because I do it every day at work and it doesn’t involve keeping anything confidential.
I am new to this school so I hesitate to do most things on my own, and instead wait for someone to tell me what to do or how to do it. Maybe not the greatest quality, but whatever. I am the opposite of controlling, which I see as a good thing. Anyways, I do car duty with 1-2 other school employees. One of them has been at the school for a long time, so she has definite ideas and opinions about how to do things. Since we work together, I have learned to defer to her. She likes to be in a certain location at car duty – fine. She likes to have the cones in a certain spot – whatever. I see how she wants it and I try to do it that way because it is clearly important to her.
However, there is one thing that I do that is all mine. I wave. I wave to every single person who drops a child off, even if the other car duty folks do not. Again, I don’t care. The way I see it is this: each morning, parents are placing their kids, ages 5-10 years, in our care. Most of the parents dropping off have no idea who I am or what I do at the school. I figure the least I can do is wave to them, acknowledge them and make sure they know I see them leaving all that they hold dear in the world on the curb in front of me.
It’s not just a drop-off. It’s an exchange of trust.
We were all uneasy on the Monday after the Newton, CT shootings. At car duty, most parents chose to park their cars and walked their kids into the building instead of just leaving them out front. There was little else they could do, other than keep their kids home (and some parents did that, too). I tried to enthusiastically greet every.single.student. who was dropped off. I made sure to make eye contact with every driver I could see. I needed them to know that I got it, that I knew what an enormous amount of trust it took for them to close the door and pull away from the curb, waving goodbye to those they held closest in their hearts. I needed them to see that even though this awful unimaginable thing had happened, I was still showing up if they were still showing up. There was nothing else that I could do.
So I wave. I look at every driver and wave, and hope they understand the unspoken promise I am making to each of them.