Monkeys In the classroom?!

Confronting the unknown and dealing with discomfort is how growth happens. It’s not something humans (and monkeys) naturally enjoy, but it’s a necessary part of learning and becoming the best monkey you can be.

Doug and I left our soul sucking municipal hell job to pursue contentment on a path of our own choosing. While we’ve worked mostly in art related and other creative fields, Doug and I are eligible to teach history (6-12) and art (K-12).  We’re qualified to teach, but we’ve never actually done it…

I thought it would be easy to land a teaching job, and then work on my “real” interests, like this blog and some art. Who wouldn’t love summers off, plus every other day, or so it seems. The answer is nobody wouldn’t love this setup…

Doug picked out a new monkey-suit for me, we read up on teaching strategies and interrogated my wife, who teaches 11th grade English. My resume was tweaked and updated, the portfolio dusted off and the job hunt began.

doug resume enhanced

Interviewing for jobs without experience sucks…

It’s stressful trying to get a job when you don’t really know the lay of the land. I was literally a talking monkey, able to recite my script, but not about to go off the path to provide real life teaching anecdotes. Floundering along, I had no idea what I was doing…

Doug and I called about 100 schools with openings, set up interviews (those that bothered to call us for one) and crossed our tails for luck. It sucked.

I was self conscious, having no classroom experience. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to answer the questions asked. I was afraid I would look stupid… I felt inadequate. I was the newbie, and I hated it. This is before I discovered the cycle of learning and confronting the unknown as catalysts of growth. It seemed as if the interviewers were judging me… As if they could see inside and tell I was a fake. “How dare he think he can be an educator?! He has NO experience” is what I imagined them thinking during the interviews…

The process became easier. I gained awareness about what questions would probably be asked, and had ready answers. My wife tutored me on classroom silliness, and we honed my sales pitch (hire me please!). I didn’t get placed as a teacher…

But that’s OK. I gained skills and experience by confronting the unknown and wading through unpleasant situations. Now I’m pretty good at selling myself on the phone. Before this process? Nope. In the past, I felt I needed to be the most knowledgeable person in the room to feel at ease. These interviews burned that out of my monkey butt!… Talking with others and “selling” myself to them isn’t a skill I had cultivated in the past. Guess what? I can do it now!

No, I’m not a teacher, nor do I really want to be anymore. By forcing myself to carry out a scary process where I wasn’t in control and I wasn’t very knowledgeable, I’ve earned experience and skills I wouldn’t have otherwise. Jumping in and doing it, whatever it may be, is better than standing on the sidelines worrying and telling yourself horror stories about how unworthy you are.

I didn’t get hired, but I gained something even more valuable. I gained the confidence to forge ahead, even if I don’t know where I’m going. This has led me here, writing this post. I’m drinking coffee, drawing monkeys and sharing my stories… At least I’m not head monkey trying to make kids remember on what dates the Battle of Gettysburg was fought…

Take a chance. Things work out for the best…

Exercise

Think about a time where you did something you dreaded doing.  Did you move, get a new job, quit a job, get a divorce? How did you feel? What were you afraid of?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How did you feel before confronting the unknown?
  • Why did you decide to endure this discomfort?
  • What helped you through the process?
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • What skills did you develop?
  • What’s the silver lining (There’s always one if you look hard enough).

Write out a narrative of your adventure. Look with a critical eye and pick out the benefits of going through the experience. Maybe things didn’t turn out as you hoped, but how are you better for doing it?

Walls must be knocked down and fears overcome to progress on your path in life. Stagnation occurs when fear prevents you from moving onward and upward. It won’t always be fun, but it WILL be exciting, and you’ll always learn something about yourself. Be conscious of opportunities to improve yourself in these situations… It always gets easier with practice…

Keep At It! Never give up…

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4 comments

  1. bravo on blog + attitude…gaining some wisdom over here. also made major life changes recently career-wise so cheers for it all and thumbs up (double, one for monkey)

  2. Do you like photography?

    I love photography so much I have to share it with you. I promise, it will make you smile.

    Please Savor Moments with me by visiting my humble blog.

    http://bravonatalis.wordpress.com

    P.s I value your opinion, please feel free to leave feedback, it will help me grow as an artist.

    P.s.s If you enjoyed it, please like my facebook page.

    Natali

    1. I do enjoy photography but do not consider myself a photographer. I’ll take a look at your work as soon as I respond. Thanks for reading my blog…

  3. It seems many of us are going through life changes right now. It can be scary and liberating all in one. I’m choosing to see everything as a positive opportunity… Thanks for reading.

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