Tuesday, March 2, 2010


First off, whoa people. Whoa. It's just a pig. Can the pig-lovers and bacon-eaters find a way to get along? P.S. I love when posts about tea-cup pigs get more comments than an entire week's worth of posts about my actual life. I should really stick to the inane more often. :)

Moving on, I had my first day back at Starbucks. I'd been gone two weeks. Not two months, not two years. And yet, I felt useless. Oh I wasn't rusty making the drinks, and I could still run the cash register, but I wasn't on top of things. My boss had done some rearranging of our supplies, so every time I tried to restock something, I had to root around for a while or just give up and ask her where we kept it now. And there's new paperwork for our cleaning tasks. And next week Starbucks is launching a whole new way to brew coffee (a topic for a later discussion), which all the other baristas have known about for two weeks. And I'm just finding out today. I'd left at the top of my field - the employee everyone else came to with questions, and who everyone counted on - and now, not.

How much more of a transition is it going to be when / if I get back in the classroom full-time? I left teaching at the top of my field. I was teaching an advanced placement class. I was well-respected by my students, my department, my administrators. People came to me for advice, wanted my opinion on lesson plans and classroom management. I, and excuse my blatant lack of humility, was a really freaking awesome teacher. I knew how to change the toner in the copy machine for God's sake - do you know how high that will rank you in teacher world!?!?

And now I've been gone for almost two years. I keep working to get myself back in the classroom, but truthfully, it's absolutely terrifying. For as much as schools haven't changed in two years (hell, two hundred years), I feel vastly behind. I love hearing stories from HistoryGirlie about what's going on at the school I used to be a part of, but it also makes me panic. She talks about technology I'm barely familiar with, being used as an integral part of instruction (using a flip camera to teach geography? say whu?). She tells tales of enlightened discussions and debates over grading and best practices and assessments, and the concepts that are becoming common place in many classrooms. And I don't have insights to add to those discussions anymore. Nor do I even know what the "right answer" is for when a future principal interviews me for a job and asks me my views on grading or best practices or assessments.

Am I going off my nutty here? Who else is currently "not working in their field" (the oh-so-clever euphemism we use to hide the unpleasant truth that we're currently stocking shelves / waiting tables / making coffee or doing anything but what we majored in in college)? Are you worried about the knowledge gap between what you knew then, and what you're expected to know to hold the same job now? Is this just a worry of mine because I'm an anal-retentive (yes, hyphenated) perfectionist who can't bear the thought of completing a job to less than stellar reviews? (Or this is just a worry because I stood around all day searching for the extra coffee filters and using my mind for little else but random worries?)


Rearden March 2, 2010 at 10:31 PM  

I can actually post here, since I'm also technically not working in my field, I'd like to point out.

Mrs. Wookie March 3, 2010 at 3:38 AM  

I guess I count also.

Major/Minor: English/Writing

Typical career: Teaching, Journalism, Law School, Public Relations, Marketing, Editing, etc.

Teaching? No.
Journalism? Bleh.
Law School? Haha, NO.
Public Relations? Have you seen who's unemployed recently?
Marketing? Snore.
Editing? SHWING!

I'm currently a Catering Coordinator for a big law firm back East. Not in my field, but I kinda dig it. While being an editor would be stellar (I'm super picky about grammar, spelling, etc.), I still get to hone my writing skills with invitations, emails, and all that jazz. Plus I get leftovers. Score.

ebs handler March 3, 2010 at 4:18 AM  

Doubt this will help the pity party, but many days I don't feel like I'm working in my field either. And you know where I am every day! RELAX, you are a teacher! Yes, technology is racing rampantly through our buildings, but in many cases, it may or may not work on any given day. You are intelligent, personable, and hard-working. Yes the anal-retentive part might be a bit of a problem, but it's also why you will return to the classroom soon, and knock their socks off! Find a few education blogs and keep reading about the updates to the field.
As for Mrs. Wookie, I think I love you. Do you carry a red pen in your purse for public advertisements correcting? (Yes, I have pointed out misspelled words on ads to a store manager!) Ok there's my out for the day.
Love you, NG. There're many tweens out there who will be brilliant after they leave your future classroom.

Sespi March 3, 2010 at 4:53 AM  

I have a similar concern - I have a degree in International Policy, which pretty much means I need to live in DC and is not really suited for a Navy wife who's going to be moving every 3 years. I thought about it for awhile and decided that I'm going to try a different field and pursue my PhD in psychology, so I guess it doesn't really matter, but it still stings a little when I talk to my friends I graduated with and realize how much they know that I don't. I plan to be an awesome psychologist though! :)

Anonymous,  March 3, 2010 at 5:26 AM  

I have a degree in Computer Science and Religion (what's up, weird double major?) and I am working in neither of my fields. We got married shortly after I graduated and promptly moved to South Texas for flight school, a region not known for its high-tech career opportunities. Various pipeline delays have kept us in flight training limbo for years longer than we expected, but we are so close to my husband getting to his fleet squadron (and therefore three whole years of not PCSing) that I can taste it. I'm excited and hopeful about finally getting to focus on my career, but I'm scared to leap off the job-hunting precipice after so long out of the loop.

Brooklet March 4, 2010 at 11:29 AM  

I've got a double major in History and Communication Arts...and I babysit for a living. The worst part is that I used to be a huge history nerd who could spout off random historical facts at any time, and now I find myself forgetting even the most basic facts. It sucks. It sucks even more that I had a concentration in southern American history, but the Pacific Northwest is definitely lacking in any Civil War history (although I did get excited the other day when I learned that Alcatraz was built in the 1850s...I actually cheered "Yay there is something pre-Civil War out here!)

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