Every so often I stop and realize that I have been at this for a decade. I have never been actively working on such a particular idea for so long. I think it’s safe to say the crisis of career I faced a long time ago has been settled. This is what I’m supposed to do. In recognition of this “holy crap 10 years” and the fact that I like making charts, I made a little stress diagram of those 10 years.
The taller the bar, the more work I felt like I was doing. Underneath is the variety and quantity of preps I had. Soccer balls and volleyballs represent coaching years. Trophies are major awards. Years where I took on a new prep or big responsibility spiked the work load, as I figured out how to do something for the first time. I put a LOT of effort into things when I’m doing them for the first time. REALLY quickly I figured out I like being thoughtful about my assignments and not just taking them from a binder, and that took a lot of time. Now I reap the rewards of that investment constantly. In the case of a new prep, there’s curriculum to map, assignments to make, and unknowns to solve. With a new responsibility, the time management needs a rebalance.
Along the way my confidence grew. You start to see that kids are buying what you’re selling, and that you can sell it really well. You get comfortable in the space, adapting good ideas to any old prep. College Algebra (Algebra 3 in local parlance) is this self-paced little wonderland because of all the grind that came before.
The first five years I felt I had something to prove. I was an outsider to education, a random guy with an alternative certification who did not know what he was doing. My first group of kids were very kind and said I did a good job, but I really did not know what I was doing. I wanted to show my school that I belonged, and that I could be trusted. Earning trust in the workplace is the hardest thing to do, and is so valuable once you have it.
Now though? Man, this is just the best. Yes I have three preps. Yes I coach a sport. Yes I’m co-running our National Honor Society. But it’s just so smooth. I’m not really sure what the shift was, but it’s an enjoyable place.
I want to deep dive some more into some other trends, so prepare your self for 9 more emoji-laden charts.