Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Career Crisis

Superman has had to talk me off the ledge twice this week.  Its only Tuesday...

January has always been rough on me.  (Btw - Let's take a moment of silence to celebrate that January is now over!!)  But this one has been really bad.   Probably why I haven't written much this past month.  Because, my brain:

 I don't know if its because I survived cancer, or what, but now I'm hyper aware of sources of unhappiness and discord.  I've spent considerable computer time googling career change possibilities and alternatives to teaching lately.   I even checked out a career change book at the library.

Here some career possibilities I've come up with so far.

  1.  Professional panda cuddler  http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/help-wanted-professional-panda-cuddler/
  2. Music Copyist/Engraver/Preparer or Music Editor for a publishing company
  3. Quit working and go back to school to extend my music education credentials to....not sure what.     
    1.   pursue higher education.  Ex - professor of....
  4. Dog trainer or coordinator for therapy dogs that go into schools for literacy programs (kids reading to dogs!)
  5. Writer (ha!  Unrealistic.  Let's go back to panda cuddler)

I've come to the conclusion that if someone would pay me to sit in a secluded area (with some pretty lamps, happy music, and coffee) and create music curriculum, lesson plans, and teaching materials for others, and occasionally let me out of my cage to interact with happy and excited students, that would be my dream job.  I can't find any evidence that this job exists however.

I have found I'm pretty awesome at a couple things:  1. I'm super organized.   2.  I can design the crap out of a music lesson (given time and resources).

I'm not awesome at these things:  1.  Motivating students who don't want to be there  2.  Being consistently interesting and entertaining  3.  attracting respect and creating influential relationships.

Fortunately, today was a good day and I haven't drawn up my letter of resignation yet.  But it has made me feel better to just sit down and look at my options.  If I don't want to, I don't have to spend the rest of my working life being bullied by 13 year olds, which is what the past 3 weeks has felt like.

I've just really felt like, recently, that teaching is a very unnatural profession for me.  I am sooooooo introverted.  Teaching is constantly giving away your energy to others.  It is so.  emotionally.  exhausting.  And my bank is completely empty right now.

I've come across a couple articles on introverted teachers recently, and those have been really illuminating.  This article expands on the idea of how introverted and extroverted teachers perceive their classroom differently.


Reward and punishment

Standing in front of a full classroom can be particularly stressful for introverted teachers, who are quick to pick up on what Little refers to as “punishment cues”. “They will note the kid who’s rolling her eyes in the third row,” he says. “They will worry whether the material is too advanced for the kids or not advanced enough. They will monitor the sounds outside that are interfering with the progress of the kids near the window.”
Extroverted teachers, by contrast, are primarily drawn to what Little terms “reward cues”: the students who are excited or engaged. (He refers to this extrovert condition as “pronoia”: a delusional conviction that other people are plotting your well-being.) “They’ll look out and think, ‘They love me’,” he says. “They’ll be more likely to go on, oblivious to the sounds of projectile vomiting at the back of the class. Whereas the introverted teacher is aware of those sounds even before the vomiting kid.”
Um. that teacher that can't concentrate because a student is rolling their eyes or sighing discontentedly at their neighbor:  That.  Is.  Me.  I am super aware of unhappy students.  And I beat myself up over it.  Now that I know that exists, I think it helps me cope.  But I don't think it will ever go away.  I will be this way, always.  So why do I keep punishing myself by staying loyal to this profession?  Shouldn't I cut my losses and do something else?  Allow myself to be happy?

Yea, this has been my brain recently.  Not that I'm going to get up and leave my job anytime soon.  But I'm allowed to think about it, and consider my options.


1 comment:

  1. Let me preface this by saying, while I don't understand exactly what you are going through, I nearly left teaching about seven years ago for some of the same reasons. It is utterly exhausting and 98% of the world does not understand why. That said...

    Maybe what you need is not a new career but a new perspective? Redefine teaching and who you are as a teacher? Where is your goal? What are you hoping to see as the outcome? This year has been rough on a few of us this year...I have my own theories, but yeah... I will also say that the age we teach is notorious for sending negative feedback and acting disinterested...but remember that they signed up for your class. You may be reaching them more than you realize.

    Also, a path is something you create as you walk it and it is not set in stone. If your future leads you into uncharted territory, embrace it. If you dislike the direction, change it. It is your path after all and there is no right or wrong answer; just different paths.