Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Saga Continues

Hard to believe its already the end of October. I meant to write something every week, but the time has really gotten away from me.

I’ve been thinking about my new career a lot – as one might expect. Mostly, as I’ve already posted, I’m finding it really fun. But I’ve been at it long enough to be able to recognize some downsides as well.
I’ve developed one huge peeve. We have a union (OSSTF) meeting every Tuesday morning prior to the weekly staff meeting. I was frankly shocked at the amount of whining that goes on over unbelievably small things. I never really believed the reputation teachers have for being big crybabies, but these meetings are truly absurd. Can you imagine a software developer saying that “you only gave Bob 8 database objects – I got 9. It isn’t fair! WAAAAA!” or “Jim took 32 minutes for lunch. I only took 29. The company owes me 3 minutes! WAAAAA!” Truly this is the level of the complaining, and a surprisingly large number of people get in on it. I find it extremely unprofessional. And irritating!

So I haven’t been going to union meetings. I find each one I go to leaves me with less respect for my colleagues than before.

Although I just said that I find myself in a state of declining respect for (some) colleagues, I also crave their company. One thing I didn’t expect, given how much time every day I spend with students, is that teaching is a lonely job. Often I don’t see other adults all day. I like the kids, but my relationship with them is not collaborative in any way, even when it is. Does that make any sense? When I’m working with the kids, I get satisfaction from helping them learn, but isn’t the same as that teamy rush you get by working 18 hours a day for weeks to meet a deadline.

Professionally, I am used to very, very intense teamwork. Even working at home, I was in constant communication and collaboration with other people all day every day, and in the office it was always a mob scene. Every single thing was done with a team, or with a team of teams. It’s not like this at all at school. I see a couple colleagues regularly. But I simply chat a little with them, then go back to my own work. I never create things or make decisions with other people. It’s quite a different model. I remember the sheer bliss of having a door to close at the office. I would be exhausted from the effort of having to deal with people, people, people all day long. Now, I find I miss the contact, the connection, and especially the feeling of shared accomplishment.