Monday, May 11, 2009

It's not About Being Efficient

Work is a bit sucky these days...budget shortfalls, bla bla. Today, we heard from the hill that they wanted our suggestions for "efficiencies". In other words, whose job isn't worth what yours is worth...justify your own in five words or less.

You know, elementary teachers are inherently kind, middle-aged, motherly types. It's why we're drawn to spending our days with 8-year-olds. Some of us are there because we're plump and we hug well. Some of us are there because kids make us laugh. On Halloween we actually work dressed as pumpkins, robots and scarecrows. People leave the business world for teaching because there aren't enough scarecrows in the workplace.

Bottom line, it's fun. But, it's also tough work. There are kids who aren't so huggable. There are heads that are a bit scary to look inside. There's required testing that masks real learning. There are constraints in budget, manpower, materials and assistance. But, we're all in it together, and there's the beauty: it's a place of support, honesty and ethics.

Given who we are and why we're there, it's tough to diminish each other's work to the point that it's an efficiency.

In the middle of the day as the buzz in everyone's conversation was on the morning's lousy beginning, my mind was on the morning's beautiful commute...and on the fact that I would be getting back on the bike at the end of the day for the ride home.

And my mind was on the couple we laughed with outside Cub Foods yesterday as we wolfed down brats and chips during our grocery-getting ride...and on the guy on a smoke break outside Costco wondering how-the-heck we were going to haul a load from the warehouse home on our bikes.

I have no neat or cute wrap-up message for this post. Things just suck sometimes.

But you know, life isn't only about what we do during 8 hours of our day.

-OB

11 comments:

Trée said...

You are singing to my choir. Never a bad moment on the bike.

Tim said...

Couldn't agree more. I've been getting my own lessons lately in remembering that what I do doesn't -- and shouldn't -- define me.

Here's hoping The Suck ends well, and soon, for you.

The Donut Guy said...

Here's my take.....teachers are underpaid by at least half.

My sister-in-law teaches inner city 3rd graders and she's a saint in my book.

Once known as The Badger said...

Indeed it does (suck) sometimes. Here in Nevada we're facing pay cuts, benefit cuts, all manner of uncertainty. Although I no longer teach, I'm still employed by those idiots, and worse, funded by those who, if they were your students, you'd have put the dunce cap and sat in a corner. I happen to love what I do now (I'm completely in charge of about 700 computers and 3000 users on the network), but it's what I do for money. It doesn't define me. Luckily, it's not "efficient" to cut my position!

MikeonhisBike said...

Here's to proving your need in the workplace. Certainly sucks to have to do that. Paying the bills and feeding yourself is quite addicting. Here's to some great rides in your future. Helps to keep things in perspective and it's fun to boot.

WheelDancer said...

"People leave the business world for teaching because there aren't enough scarecrows in the workplace."Or perhaps there are too many scarecrows in the workplace...

jeff said...

I sometimes wish I could ride for 8 hours a day, and squeeze work in when I can find the time.

The Old Bag said...

Thanks, everyone, for the encouragement. I try to keep in mind that my day is just one bicycle ride interrupted by a few hours' worth of work...and in 4 weeks I'll have a summer's worth of escape!

Snakebite said...

You might consider your five word or less essay to "the man" using pretty much the first big chunk of this post. Well put. You know, for a plump, middle-aged, kid hugger.

terry the hiker said...

To amplify a bit on Snakebite's observation:perhaps all you dedicated staff, who enact the sacred work of guiding children toward love, humor and connection with nature, could tactfully tell the ones who speak in cold terms of efficiencies that market capitalism principles do not apply to your charge. Tell them perhaps that they can cut everyone equally or not at all.

P.S. What a perfect example you set as you daily roll up to school on 2 wheels with a big smile on your face...

The Old Bag said...

@Snakebite -- I'll remember that one!

@Terry -- that's part of why I miss being in the classroom: my kids got into their cycling teacher and we had some fun discussions of why I ride (scary the influence of teachers). In the midst of budget cuts, it would be a bummer for a school not to have librarian (me); but for me personally it's not so bad -- I'd still have a job back in the classroom. Thanks for visiting!