Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Job Security

I may be the luckiest effing person IN the world.

First of all, my job is COMPLETELY secure because even though my Mythology course got the axe, my two other courses are English I (freshmen) and Journalism. The JRL class produces the yearbook and the newspaper. Freshmen are bad enough, but no one wants to TOUCH the yearbook!

And here's the reason behind my exuberant proclamation at the head of this post: I adore both courses.

I enjoy all of the literature I teach (in fact, our selection pile has enough depth that I have to prune off some of my not-quite-as-favorite short stories). And beyond that, freshmen are CAKE (in this setting, at least). It's their first year in The BIG School and so they come in rather meekly. I lay down the law on the first day and they're mine for the year. It may also help that most of them are still on the puny side and I'm six-one. Yeah, eat that, Yoda. "Size matters not" and all. Pff.

And I enjoy the challenges and freedom in the Journalism class. With two publications to take care of, it's extremely production-oriented. They had us go to structured weekly lesson plans this year, whereas last year we'd had just a blank monthly calendar to fill in. Before, I'd just put in our production schedule. Now ... well, to be honest, I'm making stuff up! :P

And I'm pretty certain I'll get away with it completely. I almost feel guilty about it, but I can play Gumby with the rules, because NO ONE WANTS MY JOB. Now, mind, nothing I do is harmful to anyone, and I do what I can to keep our shady dealings on the down-low. For example, technically, I didn't have permission to send a group of students out of the classroom UNSUPERVISED to put up posters for Fall Portrait Day (I did give them a pass). But I know I'm not going to get any crap about it because (1) it's not unreasonable, and (2) no one wants my job.

Because I love what I do, and not because I'm a particularly good rule-follower, I am zealous about doing things in the most efficient, professional, EFFECTIVE way possible. I want to do the best job I can.

And that's why I'm so happy. Because nobody wants to do what I do, I have the freedom to do a good job!


DrPezz said...

One of my closest friends taught down the hall from me (he taught yearbook and the newspaper), and he won a number of Pacemaker awards and the like until he took the head job with the National Scholastic Press Association. He LOVED his job, and I know he misses it and the kids but decided now was his chance to change jobs or he never would take the chance. It's great to hear you're so passionate about your job. First Amendment issues are so important, and young people know so little about them.

I teach Mythology right now and love it. It's our most requested class, so three of us split time teaching it. We even added a second semester follow up course because of the popularity. Why did your school lose Mythology as a course?

Clix said...

Yup, when I asked them about freedom of the press, one student piped up, "It means you can say whatever you want." (In fairness, he usually has his tongue firmly planted in his cheek!)

However, even more importantly IMO, they learn about hard work and responsibility. You can't just slack off and take a lower grade; it also means that someone else gets stuck doing YOUR WORK.

What content do you use for Mythology? That was what I had the most trouble with - they get a Greek/Roman/Norse overview in their freshman literature, and Arthurian legend in... I think sophomore. We have THREE mythology textbooks, but two of them are composed almost entirely of Greek/Roman short stories and the third is a thumper that gives Norton a run for his money! (The pages aren't as thin, so there aren't as many, but it's an entry-level college text.)

PLUS there's a Comparative Religions class, so I can't go at it from that angle either (unless I wanted to hear "but we already DID this!" - or force the other poor teacher to!)

DrPezz said...

I used Edith Hamilton's Mythology but with a lot of my own research elsewhere included. We probably use the book only about half the time, and the rest is composed of activities where they discover much on their own. I like the hands on approach.

I also use Myths and Their Meanings as a supplemental text.

We try to move the kids through Greek/Roman and Norse in a semester. By the end of the semester they know all the popular myths and figures, and they connect those to images, references, and allusions of today. Truly, the connections to today's world is the most critical part of the course's success. It creates the intrigue, the buy-in, and energy.

The second course uses literature of the 1900s (and now 2000s) to explore how mythology is used. Alongside this are units on Arthurian legends, modern legends, and the students study other world mythologies in groups for a semester project.

Mrs. Chili said...

Loving one's job means, usually, that one is motivated to do it well. Your students are SO lucky!

HappyChyck said...

I needed to read this! I can't say that I LOVE journalism. Most of the time I really don't like having to do the yearbook, but--
a) I'm good at it
b) nobody else wants it

I know for sure that having the ability and/or desire to do yearbook has gotten me teaching positions I wanted.

You know, it is really a fun kind class. Although it's always stressful because of deadlines, it IS a breath of fresh air during the day when my students and I can relax and not have to be held accountable for achieving on some state mandated test. What we do is REAL!

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