Thursday, May 19, 2011

At work.

I haven't had a work related post in a minute. So, let me give you an update. :)

Teaching here is the best job and the worst job I have ever had.

This is what I love about my job:

1.) Freedom! I have so much freedom - I literally lesson plan from scratch. I make up my own test, quizzes, homework's - everything. And I have no one breathing down my neck telling me how to do my job. :). Freedom is awesome.

2.) Appreciation from my students. My students tell me almost every week that I am the greatest. :). Well, actually - they say stuff like: "You teachin' now". Or "Go head, teach it". LOL. Sometimes it feels like I am in an old time church. And I LOVE all the appreciation.

3.) Appreciation from my boss. He is the type of boss that is NOT at all a micro-manager. He gives me all the freedom I could ask for. And constantly tells me I am doing a good job.

4.) The paycheck! Although it is not nearly what I was making as an engineer, it is a ridiculous amount more than what I was making being a stay at home mom and doing craft fairs. An INSANE amount more. Seriously, I have retired from trying to make a decent living selling my crafts. I was making approximately $1/hour doing it.

However, with all of it's benefits, no job is perfect.

This is what I do not like about my job.

1.) Umm, it is still a job. As in - there is a set time I have to be here and a set time for when I can leave.

2.) The business model of the school. It is for profit. And in my opinion 'for profit' and education do not mix exceptionally well.

As an instructor, my evaluation is based on something mis-named: "Student success rate". This number is calculated by taking the number of students that finish the class with a C or higher divided by the total number of students who attempted the class. So, if a student drops out (for whatever reason) or if a student doesn't do his work and makes a D or F my evaluation is effected.

So, while this makes perfect sense on a business level: Students are customers - keep them happy and here, this is horrible for education. As you can imagine we are "encouraged" to be lenient with them and to make our class entertaining enough for them to want to be here.

Because I have traditional' educational background (that is what we call it here), my educational philosophy is quite traditional. If you don't do your work (on time)- you get penalized. I don't care if I was sick with the flu - or having the worst cramps in the world. I would NEVER miss a test day. However, the students here tend to believe that any old reason is good enough to get a pass.

Luckily, my students learn quickly not to miss class if they care about their grade. So my numbers are pretty good.

But of course some students complain about my policies. Which brings me to the next point.

3.) Some students. I have a few - well, maybe 2 or 3 students that don't like me and try to make my life hard. Actually, one of them has recently calmed down - so it is just 2. One of my them is from Sierra Leone and is insanely egotistical. He feels like he doesn't have to respect me b/c I am a woman. (He told me one day that gays were lower than animals! And in his country you would not get in trouble for killing either. "Who will go to jail for killing an animal?", he had the nerve to ask me. Have you ever heard of such ridiculousness?!? Even the biggest homophobes would not say something like that). And I have to teach this fool. SMH. So, I have to check him almost every time we have class. Another student is SUPER slow in getting concepts and blames ME! I used to believe that anyone can learn anything if given the proper tools and time. Well, this one student has maybe changed my mind. I am still not completely convinced that his learning blockage is not stemming from his animosity towards me...

So, that is my job in a nutshell.

1 comment:

Carla said...

I really don't think people realize how hard it is to be an instructor to any group of people. There is never a day that I cannot give appreciation to an instructor who loves what they do and whom is good at what they do.

You sound like an amazing instructor and there is definitely a shortage. There are entirely too many individuals who slip through the cracks that are only there to collect a paycheck.

I support your values and beliefs in regards to education. I'm currently a student and I wish that some of my instructors had those same values.