I was filling out the most recent batch of PC paperwork last week. (For the record, it never ends. The initial application is not a hurdle; it is a plateau.) I had to send out a resumé and a statement of aspiration to South Africa so that they’ll know what to do with me once I am over there (I’m sure my family could narrow it down to two words: padded room). Funny thing is that I have to talk about how I plan to do a job when I don’t quite know what that job is or even exactly it will be (for an example of my quandary: you’re told you will teach in the US. Will that be in the UP? Kansas? Texas? Southern California? Virginia? Now, what if each spoke their own language as well? Though I guess Texas already does…).
However, I do know something about the job. I will be teaching children. And by “children”, I mean 6 – 15 year olds. I had a bit of a panic attack on realizing this. Wait, me, hang out with kids all day? The guy who expressly requested when working at camp to be placed on maintenance instead of counseling? Being placed with the one group of human spawn with whom I have no experience teaching?
Examine the typical life-cycle of my interests. I become intensely enthused, study excessively, find a problem, freak out, whine and complain and annoy people around me. Fortunately, the next few steps are usually to calm down, tell myself to shut up and deal with it, learn about what I was panicking about, and find out that it actually is more interesting than I thought. Lather, rinse, repeat.
So I’m at the calming down stage now and picked up some books on primary education pedagogy from the library. And really, I like the idea of teaching young children much better than teaching blasé college students. It is a chance to actually make a difference, to shape habits when they are most moldable. I mean, I still won’t be working wonders, but there’s something to be said about teaching science to students who want something more than the “practical” applications of it, or of teaching medical habits when they might actually become instilled. And in addition, I’ve reframed it to myself as a challenge. Dealing with children and breaking up information into easily digestible pieces are not strong suits of mine. Therefore, I should get better at them.
I’m still working on getting myself excited about teaching arithmetic and word problems, however.