Career, Education, Teaching

Ah-Ha Moment with What We Teach

I am currently doing Project-Based Learning training and part of the training is going on externships. These externships are visits to companies in the STEM field and learning what they do, what skills they look for, and hopefully how to apply what we teach in the classroom.

One thing I am realizing with these externships is that we are not at all preparing our students for success after high school. We are not teaching them the skills and traits that employers look for and care about. We are not teaching them the traits and skills they need to solve everyday problems. We are not teaching them the social skills required to network and build lasting relationships. We are only teaching them academic content and how to take a test. How often do you have to take a test in life? More often than you’d think, but not often enough to justify focusing on it as much as we do. Much academic knowledge can be obtained on the job in a relevant manner. Provided we teach them how to be self-learners. We don’t, by the way.

Career

Learning to Swim by Falling in the Ocean

Woops. I recently left the engineering field to pursue a career in teaching and I had my first substituting job the other day. Wow was it awful. It was for a 6th grade class at a school known for disciplinary issues, but I didn’t know to check for that. I just took an available job. That was a mistake. I could tell I might have made a mistake when the instructions from the teacher included three different things to do in case of a problem student and ended with “good luck :)”. “Good luck” is so not a good sign. I did have problems. I could barely get homeroom under control enough to call role, and I lost my entire class at lunch. Yes, lost them. They all eventually ended up back in the classroom, but still. Luckily, a co-teacher came in and started writing lunch detentions left and right and was able to somewhat control the classroom. I was at a complete loss at how to handle something like that. The students ran around and hollered like 4 year olds and did not listen to me at all. It was….a little shocking. And it certainly made me question going down this route. But at least it can only go uphill from here, I hope.

Career

Beginning Career

So, the reason I wanted to do this blog is because I’m just starting out in life after college. I feel like I’m on a decently successful road and wanted to share some of what I have learned. I also feel a little lost in life, though I’m generally a happy person, so I wanted to put down my thought as I figure things out and if you read my thoughts and have ideas or observations or words of motivation or advice (don’t expect me to follow it, but I’ll always take it into consideration and be thankful you care enough to offer it) or whatever, please, please share. Sometimes others see things I can’t and I like to have these things pointed out to me because it helps me understand myself better. Also, I’m pretty knew in “the real world” so I value the advice or life observations of those who have been at it a while.

Interest. As I went through college, getting my degree in Civil Engineering (with a concentration in Environmental Engineering and a minor in English), my interest veered towered water and waste water treatment. Some of you may think that’s weird. Well, I think an interest in being a doctor is weird, but I sure am glad there are people interested in it. So, yes, water and waste water treatment. I am very interested in the chemistry and biology behind it. I like that there are so many different ways to do it and new ways are still being discovered. I love that there are ways to make energy with the treatment, tho mostly on a small scale. The whole thing is so interesting to me and that’s what I most want to be involved with. Often, I don’t feel smart enough to design them myself, but I really want to try.

Career. I graduated. Somehow. Not the highest GPA, but I got the 3.0 minimum. I applied for job after job and became glad anytime I heard back, even if it was a rejection, because at least I knew. Most of the jobs I really wanted, jobs actually at least somewhat related to my interest, wanted 5-8 years of experience. Yuck. I kept applying and interviewing. In the meantime, I studied for and passed the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam. I got hired at a small engineering firm in southern MS – on the coast, actually. I like the company, I like where I live, but this isn’t the job I though it was going to be. I knew I wasn’t going to learn to design waste water treatment plants, but I still thought it would be a good job – and it is, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just not what I was expecting. I expected get well-rounded experience, but it’s looking like I’m going to be doing mostly project management – the last thing I wanted to do with this degree, by the way. The job started off pretty cool, and I’ve gotten to do neat stuff like climb a water tower, but I’m like the middle man in this project I’m doing and I don’t like it. This firm doesn’t seem to do much designing. They contract out all the work and most of the designing. We have a survey crew, though. Busy days are few and far between, and I love busy days. They make the day go by fast and I feel accomplished at the end of the day. When I spend hours with nothing to do (and I go around and try my best to find something – anything – to do) and have to fluff up my time sheet – I hate it. It makes me tired and I feel unaccomplished at the end of the day and guilty for over charging clients. My plan was going to be to stay here and get PE, then move on. But that doesn’t seem fair to the head of the company, who is teaching me and helping me get my PE, and I don’t think I could stick here for four whole years, anyway. Plus, if I get my PE and I’ve only worked here, I won’t feel like I know enough to have earned my PE. Especially when what I want to do is design treatment plants. I think.

So, I’m a little lost. I don’t know what I want to do, but I know it’s not this. If you read my background, you know I like helping others. I want to do something to help others in the biggest way I can. I think I can best accomplish that with my PE. But maybe I’m wrong.

Please feel free to share thoughts, observations, ideas, personal stories, etc. I’d love to hear them 🙂