Monday, August 04, 2008

On Playing a Role

This is not me - but it totally could be. I feel as though I have learned most of my social skills from books. I can imagine the various possible effects of what people do, as well as guessing reasons, likely or just possible, for why they do what they do. And as a result, with a little thought, I can generally figure out what I need to say or do in any given situation. I've done this for so long - since high school, really - that it's gotten to be a habit.

As a teacher, the character I have created for myself is that of The Dork: generally plain and practical, competent though not brilliant, and with an undercurrent of whimsy that peeks out from time to time - just enough to keep things interesting. Overall, I enjoy playing this role. It's comic and charming, and it lightens the tone of my occasional witticisms. And as far as archetypes, it's probably the one that represents me best.

However, I'm afraid that I may be outgrowing my Dork role. I love my job, and I'm getting better and better at it. Possibly - hopefully - beyond simple competence. I've gotten really positive feedback on some of my Mad Science Curriculum Experiments, and I generally don't have too much trouble with classroom management (though I'm still nervous about having a sub).

I'm very choosy about how I present myself. As a result, I'm hesitant to introduce new things. It's like with the flamingoes: I am now being labeled "the artistic one" when I don't see what I did as artistry. In reflecting on it, I think I define art as creative work that inspires or enlightens its audience, particularly by presenting something familiar in a new way. And that wasn't what I did. Rather, I took something that was fairly unfamiliar and presented it in an easily recognizable way. Creative? Definitely. Clever? Absolutely. But I don't think it was artistic. I guess my point is, I don't mind people not knowing things about me. But I'm very uncomfortable with people thinking something about me that I don't think is accurate.

I'm excited about the things I've learned and I want to share them. But at the same time, I'm terrified. Because I don't know that I know what I think I know. (That was fun!) The other teachers in the department have been teaching for a VERY long time, except New Girl, and have developed practices that suit them quite well. They're very successful. Who the heck am I to offer advice?!

But. I am clever and I can be sneaky. Even though our department is now scattered to the four corners of the Earth wings of the building, I am being very proactive in staying in touch. (I'm also careful to pop my head in other classrooms if I see teachers there and say hello, so I'm not being exclusionary and hopefully I can build some other positive connections as well.) AND. I am looking for other ways to help out: putting up posters and bulletin boards, getting books, reaching things (I'm six-one), you know, little stuff.

BUT. I am hoping this will slowly begin to set a precedent, so that I will be able to segue smoothly into helping out as a fellow professional without feeling awkward about it (like I did when I recommended Write Beside Them as a professional development book for the department). And before too long, I will instead be known as a Geek - incredibly skilled in a particular field, if a bit overly focused and perhaps oblivious to just about everything else. (An affinity for random bits of odd information is an optional add-on.)

Hopefully the transition from Dork to Geek will be subtle enough that I can manage to keep it under the radar. Now to come up with a marketing plan...

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of Dorks? Mwahahaha!

1 comments:

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