Friday, June 13, 2008

Worst Job Meme!

Christian started the the discussion and tagged Damian, who tagged one of my favorite Twitterer's, Diane Cordell.

Most memes require that you link back to the person who tags you, address the theme, and tag other bloggers to keep the theme alive.

Here is the original question: Looking back on your life, what was the "worst job" you ever had that ironically helped prepare you to one day become an educator?

I only had one job before I finished college...and that was working at the YMCA. My parents didn't believe in working in high school. Working at the YMCA was interesting and changed every day. I learned how to deal with a lot of different kind of people and, oddly, got the best compliment of my 'teaching career,' one year before I had a teaching career.

In the summers, I left my usual desk position at the Y and worked at the YMCA Day Camp. Every week, I was thrown in with a new set of kids. Because of frequent flooding, we had to be adaptable and move our whole camp setting from its regular park to a different park. There was one sleepover per session and those were always enlightening.

One session, I was sleeping in a huge camp tent which held about 25 kids. In the middle of the night, one of the campers had to 'go.' I told the kid to go outside (thinking the junior counselor would follow him). As I started to fall back asleep, I heard the waterfall a few feet outside the tent. I then learned it was important to give good directions.

Every week before the overnight camp out, there was a little variety show. Each group did a skit and we all sang songs and ate bad food. Sometimes the skits were hilarious and sometimes, well, not so much. I learned how important a sense of humor was. Sometimes the humor and the dirty songs I would sing with other counselors when the other kids were gone were the only things that got me through some of those long weeks and high temperatures.

Finally, on my last day, I was 'evaluated' by the person in charge of the camp, Jim. I don't have a good memory, but I can picture where we were and every thing he said, word for word. He was discussing my job performance when he said, "You seem to have a wonderful sense of knowing what a kid needs and giving it to them. Whether it be a sharp tone, a pat on the back, or an arm around the shoulder." So, the final thing I learned was that you should choose carefully, your words may stick with a person for years. Further, it is important to say those things that another person might find meaningful. Many times, I have wanted to hold back praise for fear of looking cheesy....But, I think of my experience at day camp showed me that I need to say the cheesy things...and let kids know how I feel.

So, in summation, I learned to be a teacher, you must be adaptable, you must give good directions, you must retain a sense of humor, and that you must be careful with words....they may stick with someone for a very long time.

I tag

Mindelei -- Twitter @mindelei -- Crazy Concepts of a PreService Teacher
Though Mindelei is technically 'preservice' I am betting she has good stories!

Elaine Plybon -- Twitter @glad2be -- Why Cruel Shoes?
Linda Bilak -- Twitter @lbilak -- Linda Bilak' Blog
Patti Harju -- Twitter @scout7 -- A Second Grade Teacher's Blog
Jason Everett -- Twitter @jason_everett -- Ed Tech Trainer


eplybon said...

Thanks for the tag! I'll ponder on this one a bit . . . stay tuned!

diane said...

I thought about describing my experiences as a junior camp counselor. I learned that I don't like to deal with pig swill [our dining hall food scraps went to a local farm]. I still try to avoid the school cafeteria during certain lunch periods ;-)