Sunday, January 14, 2007

on jobs and peter rabbit

bernal heights
after my first week (last week) of my part-time, after-school tutoring job, i think i might be able to cross elementary school teacher off my list of professions to consider.

i certainly could learn how to be more authoritative and could learn discipline tricks, and i suppose i will learn some of this while (if) i'm doing this job. however, being authoritative goes against my nature to some degree. and there are so many things to think about at once when teaching. it's just a bit too hard for me. i like working with the kids one-on-one, but working with groups of students is proving to be quite difficult. i do like to be challenged, but this goes beyond challenge for me, i think.

besides it being so hard, there are the additional factors against becoming a teacher - the f-ed up (in so many ways) school system (this is a whole other long post), the low pay, the all-consuming aspect of the job. (and it would be even more all-consuming if one were to try and challenge the system from within it, finding alternative, more interesting and more appropriate materials for students for example. and nowadays i guess this might be quite difficult, as schools are so focused on getting the kids to pass/score well on the year-end tests.)

i am not even sure i will be able to stick with this short-term job, unless it gets easier. right now it is causing me a lot of anxiety and taking up (mentally) much more of my day than the 3.5 hours i'm actually at the school. (i can barely even think about blogging or taking photos!) and of course i'm taking it all too seriously. it's hard for me to relax/be at ease when i don't feel i have enough control of a situation. and the more stressed out i get, the less in control of the situation i become. a vicious circle. oy.

it makes me think about this post that andrea wrote a while back about the path of least resistance. teaching is certainly not the path of least resistance for me.

but i'm going to stick it out a bit longer to see how it goes. i remembered that i have a tendency to feel overwhelmed and/or depressed when i start something new and the something isn't as i expected it to be. (i got depressed when i started graphic design classes too, and they turned out pretty good in the end...)

in other news, i watched miss potter saturday and loved it. what a wonderful woman that beatrix was. inspiring, sad, happy and beautiful movie. (i'm bringing one potter book from the library to tutoring tuesday because i know this one little girl in my tutoring group likes rabbits, and maybe peter rabbit will be just the thing...)

9 comments:

jenifer74 said...

mmm...i very much hear you. i've been teaching k-8 art now for 5 and a half years; last year was the first year i felt like i had control the majority of the time, understood how to accomodate & switch gears with children ages 5-14 within several hours of each other, had enough tips & tricks & systems under my belt to feel confident...

keep your cool & try to go with the flow a little bit. they'll surprise you either way! email if you want to chat! :) hang in there! maybe that baking job & working with seniors is looking more appealing?! :)

Michael said...

Right now I am trying to decide what to pursue as a major (I'm a first year student currently, and have somewhat... haphazard courses) and one thing that I always come back to is education. I'm not sure where I'm going with that, but here's to dipping toes into the water.

risa said...

my husband has been teaching for 9 years now (most of it in the nyc public school system)...he's taught in elementary, middle, and high schools. and living with him has made me realize the extent to which teaching is a demanding job. that said, the first year is always the worst...it does get easier with time. if you want someone to chat with about education, i can put you in contact with him...he has pretty strong views.

sarai said...

Last year, I did some volunteering at an after school program for girls at a middle school in oakland. It was tough. I found it difficult to be always on, always reacting, always keeping that tenuous sense of control. I don't think I'm cut out to be an authority figure either.

amisha said...

the authority issue is rough... the only teaching i have done was sat & mcat prep classes (so high school + college students) and i had a hard time keeping them under control. i constantly felt like i was a disciplinarian as well... not the best feeling. i do think (from friends who have done teach for america and the k-12 teachers i work with now) that it gets easier with time... how much time, i don't know. so much depends on exactly what you bring up-- where in the grossly unequal school system you are, what kinds of kids you have, and all of that. good luck with this...
warmly
amisha

The Calico Cat said...

Unfortunately, it does not get any easier... Either you have it or you don't. It is not worth it for anyone involved to stick with it when you don't have it.

I have an elementary education degree & only did it for 2 years...

jenny vorwaller said...

yes. teaching is so challenging, it has its rewards, but i think it takes a special persona to overlook all those things that i see in it too...

and so nice that you are living out the process of elimination. that's awesome.

tinarama said...

Teaching may or may not turn out to be your thing in the long run, but today I am happy for that little girl whose teacher (you) noticed that she likes rabbits, and went out of her (your) way to bring in something special just for her. You let someone know she matters, and that is a wonderful thing to do. Thank you!

jerusha said...

oy yes. but that care and attention to that one little girl is itself a gift.

i love your title of this post. :)