Monday, September 21, 2009

I Would Have Been Happy with My Stapler

I'm starting to finally realize what it is about my job that keeps me from being an enthusiastic and motivated member of my profession. I don't like people. Actually, I don't like having to constantly be forced to interact with people, especially those I wouldn't normally care about. Unfortunately, to do my job I have to be constantly alert and engaged or I end up with a kid whose back is covered in scratches because another kid thought it would be funny to spend half a block stabbing him in the back with his pencil. That's a true example, by the way, and that happened on a day when I was fully rested and feeling fine. On days like today, when I'm tired and unmotivated, I'd be happy to tuck myself away into my cubicle and tap away at my work or stare blankly during meetings that ate away at my day. Instead, I have to be alert for kids who are stumped but won't ask for help, kids who are about to start trouble, take roll, and explain a question to another kid all while be hit with demands to leave the room for various reasons.

I'm not a multitasker. I never have been. I've never wanted to be. I'm more of a serial unitasker. I like focus completely on a single thing and then move on to the next topic. I know good teachers manage their classrooms to minimize that constant redirection of focus, but I've never mastered that art, and I'm not sure I would minimize distractions enough for my comfort level even if I were among the best. This is probably why I never have that sense of frustration when I'm working with students one-on-one that I do when I'm in the classroom. That student becomes my focus and I'm not being interrupted for irrelevant questions or requests to go to the bathroom while I'm working with them. I think that if I could overcome that sense of irritation at having to change focus before I'm ready, I would be much happier in the classroom. As it is, this understanding can only help me make future career choices.


courtney said...

Get a new job.

Jacob said...

Jeez. I've been working on that for four years now and I've gotten squat to show for it. Not even a fucking call back.

And would you like me to label all of my work-related posts so you can skip reading them in the future? I do typically avoid commenting on work since I overdid it a while back, but I thought this was actually a novel angle on it.

Julie said...

Indeed. Of course, I have yet to find a job where I don't have to interact with people but Courtney's right. You should get a new job. They've hired four people at my office since I was hired. If you want a cubicle, I think you could find one.

Jacob said...

There are entirely different levels of working with people. Until you work in a classroom full of kids, you may not understand exactly what I mean. Heck, some people actually enjoy it, but it's a very different beast than what it was when I worked for the newspaper, media production company, or even the grocery store in high school.

Part of the difficulty in getting a new job is mine and Kim's current jobs. We're contractually obligated to work our current job from August until May. If I were to leave outside of the summer months, I'd likely lose my certification and possibly lose the opportunity to work in a school system again. Considering the fact that I like the work calendar and the retirement benefits of working for a public school system (and there are jobs in public education that I think would better suit my disposition and talents), I've tried to stick to job openings close to when I'd be able to leave with no strings attached. I have applied for a few I'd be willing to give up my free time and job/retirement security for, but if I'd have gotten them, it would have required me to move away from Kim until the end of the school year.

So it's not exactly that easy, but like I've said, I've been actively working on it for years now.

BatSpit said...

what horrible children, slowing your work with their pesky, irritating demands for education!

Jacob said...

I know. Exactly.

Except most of their demands are irrelevant to their education.