It's the word Spock used on Star Trek to express a certain degree of incredulity or bafflement.
As you know, I began my new job. I am the library aide at two different urban elementary schools. Each school in the district has a librarian on site for nine weeks of the year. The rest of the time the aides run the library. At my two schools there has been no librarian there yet and there has been no aide since the first marking period. I was given two days of training at a school other than my own, most of said orientation came with the caveat, "It could be completely different at your school." The woman informing me was not lying or exaggerating.
At one school I was given the entire first cycle to catch up on whatever record keeping backlog exists. I couldn't imagine needing the amount of time allotted but I did, partly due to sheer volume of need and partly due to significant technological impediments such as not having the necessary access to software critical for the job. Later I enhanced the impediment with a fairly impressive ID10T error or my own. Oh, and my desk for both circulation and whatever other work I have is student sized and the library has been divided into separate rooms to accommodate other classes since we lack space. Since doing that the students have not been able to have library IN the library. Library went to them....on a cart. The good news is the current principal wants the library experience restored to being IN the library....although other classes will still be there.
I also found a lot of folks who just don't like to be asked questions or for supplies. I was a little fearful for my safety when I dared to ask for manilla folders. Finally, I found one teacher who said she was brand new to the district just this fall. She said she and another new teacher are going to write a book entitled "Everything You Need to Know About Working Here but Were too Afraid to Ask or Didn't Even Know to Ask." She offered herself as a resource for my questions but quickly let me know she probably wouldn't have an answer...she'd mostly be able to commiserate.
Initially I was told I'd be given time to catch up with the backlog at the second school as well before starting circulation. Later that was reversed so I hightailed it over there this afternoon to dip my toes in the pool before being thrown in the deep end. I thought I'd start working on records. Wrong. I had roughly 400 books to clean up from all over. Piles on desks, on tables, on shelves, in carts. All in disarray. The assistant principal apologized for the mess and said she had tried to gather things up for me, which I appreciated, especially since the assistant principal generally has more pressing duties than tidying the library. Obviously, getting books checked in and put away took precedence over student records being accurate. The good news at this school is although my circulation desk is again a child-sized model I do have a grown up-sized desk for other work. Also, I was told the stockpile of nice soft tissues in the corner were for me, which was astonishing considering that just a mile or so away manilla folders were in such short supply I knew better than to even hope for tissues.
I am deeply grateful for the job. I am thankful for the folks who have offered support in my befuddlement. I am sure once I get a system working it will all be fine. I just have to say my first few days have been.....fascinating.