Tuesday, March 15, 2011

definitely too old for this shit

I survived my first day on the job, but it's obvious I'm not competent at it. The learning curve for someone my age is rather steep, and the job requires one to think like a waiter: dynamic situational awareness and super organizational skills are paramount. Given enough time and breathing room, I consider myself pretty organized, but switching into waiter mode is an extremely foreign experience.

It was fortunate that one student cancelled and that the remaining students turned out to be pretty pleasant. Still, I could sense the return of that old stress, from back when I used to teach high school-- the frustration that comes with "herding cats," as they say. All of my students were kids; none were teens. Nice as they were, they were still twitchy and unfocused (with two very notable exceptions).

There's also the fact that this job requires a highly specific form of record-keeping. Every student has a dossier in which it's necessary to tick off various items as the hours roll onward-- homework completion, scores on exercises done in class, estimated levels of student motivation and focus, hours devoted to a specific topic, written recommendations for the student, etc. It's a lot to keep track of, and by the end of the evening, I was distressed at just how spotty my own records were. I've been reassured that this will improve over time. I can only hope I retain enough sanity to be conscious of the improvement.

Life doesn't get any easier as you get older. I mentioned before that I'd been pampered by my final three years in Korea; it's true. Today marked a return to the hagwon mentality, and I'm rebelling against it.



Nathan B. said...

Hang in there Kevin; good luck!

hahnak said...

its ALWAYS hardest at the start. i know you know this too. it will get easier. just hang in there!

gambatte ne!

Charles said...

Let me add my voice to the chorus of encouragement. New beginnings are always rough, no matter what the style. I'm confident you will adapt soon.

(I also think it's kind of funny that today's Word Verification word is--no joke--"labrats")

Anonymous said...

Teaching and tutoring (at least what most of us think of as tutoring) are really very different things. You may just be a better teacher than tutor.

It sounds like there's a lot to keep track of. And it sounds like a lot of that "keeping track" could more efficiently be done by computer.

But like (as? I've never really understood when/why "as" is the correct one. Feel free to enlighten me.) the others said--you'll get the hang of it. Your brain is rusty. It may take longer than when you were twenty, but have faith in the miracles of biology, it'll come back to you. Try to relax and enjoy a few snatched 1-1 moments with the kids.