Thursday, November 5, 2009

Spoken Like a True Professional

Well, I've got to say I was surprised to return to my blog page today to see THREE comments on my last post! This is just amazing to me. What dedicated fans I have :] So I'm now more than inspired to share this post today. I actually compose blog posts constantly throughout my days. It's almost the same as seeing the world through my camera lens. Everything I look at I see as a picture and consider what I'd like to edit in or out or where that picture would look good hanging, or maybe it would be in a travel magazine or something. I do the same thing with blog posts. Whenever I'm going through my day I often take different happenings and begin describing them in my head as if I were typing a blog post. Sometimes they get downright elaborate, but the trouble becomes sitting down and typing them.

Alas, here I am today. Typing this very post. The main theme is my professional life. There are a few different "professional" stories, but I'm combining them into one joyous [hopefully not boring] post... just for you! I think I'm going to set it up like chapters in a book. I'm just in a good mood today, you'll understand by the time you read the last professional story, which actually isn't a story, but you'll see. Here we go...

Chapter 1 - Double Duty
Since I am both a teacher and a counseling intern in my school I am getting some different perspectives on many of the daily school happenings. It's amazing how differently various professionals within the school view and handle routine situations. For example, I was in a meeting not long ago where the topic of discussion was students who seem to be on the path to excessive absences. In this meeting were counselors, administrators, the school nurse, and a few others. It became very clear to me in no time that the administrators saw nothing but numbers when they looked at the data while the counselors were trying to discuss people. Don't get me wrong, attendance is a matter of numbers and our attendance percentages reflect on our school and central office has certain things to say when your attendance numbers are not up to the acceptable level. Fine. However, from the counseling [and teaching] perspective, it's very helpful to discuss the individuals and their circumstances to understand what is going on with the attendance, no? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Aside from this story, I'm also finding myself stuck in between the teachers I work with and the counselors I work with. Somehow the teachers have the impression that everyone in the counseling office spends the day sitting around talking and eating lunch. I know this because they state it blatantly in front of me. This is the social studies department I'm referring to, whom I eat lunch with every day. They know I'm doing an internship in the counseling office and that I'd like to be a counselor at some point. Yet they will talk about specific counselors by name right in front of me. They make fun of anything that the counseling department puts together for the students and say how awful it was and all the ways it should have been done better. I just find it so inconsiderate. And yet, you're the smart ones? Don't you realize you're talking about someone in front of their face -- or at least talking about someone's coworkers? Hell, they're your coworkers too! It's just a very obvious and sad disconnect I see in our school building. I sincerely hope it's not like this everywhere. We're told repeatedly in our JHU program that it's going to be a struggle to make our role clear because counselors have been viewed a certain way for a very long time. After I spoke up once to my department members, since they talk about the counselors almost daily, about the counselors taking time to eat lunch [it didn't go well] I decided that while I have to be part of both departments I'm not willing to argue with them over it. So I just keep my mouth shut. Probably not what Jesus would do, but He's way better than me at everything anyway.

Chapter 2 - Lunchtime Irony
This is another lunchtime story about my beloved social studies department members. I really do enjoy them and love the fact that we eat lunch together every day. However, sometimes the teacher in them makes me laugh [on the inside, of course]. Today the discussion was typical - students. One teacher was on a rant about a fundraiser packet that was distributed to juniors and seniors yesterday and how her students seemed uninterested in participating. That turned into how there are so many students in our school that just don't participate in anything and don't seem to care, have a sense of community, etc. It was also mentioned that about 10% of our students are the ones who participate in everything. They play all the sports, band, musicals, fundraising, volunteer work, community events, and so on. How interesting, I thought. This likely foreshadows what these students will be doing in 10, 20, 30 years as members of the community. The same 10% will be doing everything while the other 90% do nothing and don't care. Yet the 90% will still benefit from the fundraising, see the plays and sports events, and all the rest. The irony to me is that if asked about society, these same teachers would say that the 10% who "do everything" are evil, selfish, and owe it to the 90%. They are the ones who are capable, why shouldn't they do what they do and be generous enough to share? This isn't the first time I've heard them make remarks and have discussions like this that would absolutely contradict their societal views. I personally see the school as a small-scale society and what you see happening here is what you'll get in 20 years. Mark my word.

Chapter 3 - A True Professional
Tomorrow is a professional day. I can't tell you how exciting this is for me. Since pre-service week this is our first professional day. We always have one around the end of the marking period so teachers can get all of their grading done and do report cards. The big deal about these professional days to me is that they are the only times when I feel like a real professional. I get to wake up around 7 instead of sometime prior to 6. I leave the house when the sun is up, let's say 7:45 tomorrow. I'm dressed however I feel like dressing [understood that this isn't the case in all workplaces, but it is part of my professional day] and I get to stop for a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich on my way in. Once at work I greet some co-workers, check some email, and then work productively at my quiet desk in my quiet office/classroom for the rest of the day. If I'm hungry, I eat. If I need to pee, I get up and go. This is a magical day! It is so unlike my regular work day it's unreal. And yet most working people would say, "what's so special about that?" These professional days, when I get to live like a real professional, make me wonder from the bottom of my heart why I didn't pick a career in which I'd get to live like this every day. Ah, the choices we make. Eighteen, or even 22, is way too young to decide what you want to spend the rest of your life doing. Plain and simple.

Ok, well I feel like this is a very boring post. And it's also quite long. Now I'm contradicting myself when I said that I don't have time to write long posts. Blerg. If tomorrow weren't a "get actual work done" day, then I would probably be grading papers right now. Instead I think I'll search for a fall blog background.

Positive Events:
  1. Professional day tomorrow - heck yea :]
  2. Our tv is now calibrated and we get to have a major movie event tomorrow night with Jennie and Michael
  3. My close and dear childhood friend, Mary Beth who was due to deliver her very first baby on Sunday has still not gone into labor but her doctor finally scheduled her for an induction next Wednesday if baby boy doesn't arrive before then. So I'm going to be an aunt again by next Wednesday!!


  1. yay for professional days! I'm glad you get one and I'm glad you're looking forward to it! You mad such great points in your posts about your school, and I'm really embarrassed for those teachers who don't see what hypocrites and judgemental **** they're being! But, I must say, that taking the high road and not stirring up arguments with these people is very Jesus like, really. Sure you could TRY to steer them in the right direction, but people like them, will only ever understand when they themselves have walked in the others shoes (and even then not always)As a mother, one who has been pregnant oh so many times (haha) yay for peeing when you need to!

  2. She's baaaaaack :0) Just wanted to pop in and say...Hope you had a wonderful quiet professional day AND have a wonderful weekend to boot!


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