Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Loving what I do

Today on Facebook I came across a link that was shared by a colleague I used to work with in Thailand.  The article was about the signs to look for to show you love what you do.  Since I am constantly telling people how much I do love working at ASB I thought this might make an interesting read - especially how many of these 15 traits apply to me.
  1. You don't struggle to stay disciplined, you struggle to prioritize:  definitely true - I seem to work all the time because I love work.  The other day I was reading something on the BBC website about the hours that teachers work in the UK.  For elementary teachers the figure was 59.3 hours a week - not all in front of a class obviously as a lot of time is spent on lesson planning, supervising students, marking work and doing administrative tasks.  Anyone who puts in so much time is going to be dedicated to their job.  I started to think about how many hours I work.  I reckon about 15 hours a day from Monday to Friday and then more hours on weekends.  However as I said to someone earlier this year, "I'm working harder than I've ever worked before, but I'm a lot less stressed too."
  2. You don't talk about other people, you talk about the things other people are doing: again this one really rings a bell with me.  There are just so many exciting things going on all around me at school that I am constantly talking about what they are doing, how they are doing it, the impact it has on student learning and so on.  I want to talk about the successes that teachers are having because I'm happy and proud of what they are doing.
  3. You think about what you will say and not how you will say it:  this one is very dependent on the situation I think.  Now I think about what I'm going to say, in the past I also thought about that but often I became anxious about how this was going to be received.  For example I wanted to change something that was really necessary to change (an example that springs to mind would be moving to use more Web 2.0 tools and less applications that were installed on the computers), however when I was being told things like "cloud computing will fail" and "there is no evidence that technology improves learning" it was pretty hard to cope with.  I had to think about how I would say things, I had to worry about people's personal agendas, politics, cronyism and so on.  Now I'm in a place where I trust the people that I work with and once again I can focus on what I say and not have to tiptoe through the political minefield.
  4. You enjoy your time at work:  when I taught in Switzerland I loved living there, though I hated my work.  There were times when I would drive to school and sit in the car park crying because I didn't want to get out of the car and go into work.  And yet I loved the drive to work and the drive home.  I loved the weekends.  I loved the day I spent on our smaller campus.  I loved working with many colleagues.  Today one of my very good friends posted a photo on Facebook of the street where I used to live - it's stunningly beautiful at this time of year with the pink cherry blossom against some of the bluest skies I've experienced anywhere in the world.  I still miss that, I miss the beauty, I miss walking in the mountains at the weekends, I miss the sun setting over the lake - but I could never go back into a situation where I put up with where I worked for 40 hours a week in order to enjoy my evenings and weekends - where I had to escape to "life" to be happy.
  5. You enjoy attending meetings:  I adore being part of some meetings at ASB - I come away so energized, so full of new ideas and new respect for my colleagues.  I love the thoughtful and challenging discussions that we have.  I love the fact that we are listened to, and that we make change happen.
  6. You're excited about what you are doing, but you're more excited about the people you are doing it with:  absolutely.  My colleagues are all these things:  smart, passionate, confident, funny, dedicated, giving, inspiring.
  7. I hardly ever look at the clock:  I don't even have a clock in my office.
  8. You view success in terms of fulfillment and gratification, not in terms of money:  teachers are the lowest paid of all professionals.  I don't know any teacher who does it for the money.
  9. You leave work with items on your "to do" list that you're excited about tackling tomorrow:  I'm not really a list maker (if I was I might tend to feel swamped) but I'm excited about all the new things that I get to do every day and the people that I want to talk about things with.
  10. You help without thinking:  at my last school I was blessed with a colleague who whenever he was called upon always started with the question "How can I help you?"  I've tried to be like this myself here.
  11. You don't think about retirement: haha to this one - being an international teacher with very limited options to save for retirement I have come to the conclusion I will never retire!  If I can't teach in a school anymore, I will simply teach online.
  12. You would be happy for your children to be in the same line of business:  at one point my son did think about teaching - he may still decide to go into teaching though right now he is following a different line of work - but it is something I think he would be good at, and I would especially encourage him if he wanted to go into international education.  My biggest regret is probably that I worked 6 years in my home country before going abroad - having become an international teacher I've never really looked back.
So how did I score - well a score of 12/15 gives me this:  You really enjoy your work and the people you work with.  Absolutely.  I couldn't have put it better myself!

Photo Credit: YannGarPhoto (Where are the stats??) via Compfight cc


  1. I love this post(and your entire blog) so much. You are clearly thriving at ASB and every time I read your posts I ask my husband whether his firm has an office in Mumbai!!! I would love, firstly to work at ASB but more importantly, I would love my own children to go there and benefit from your incredible expertise and the amazing personalised education your school provides. (Although it must be said that my daughter's school is pretty awesome!)
    I have read your blog for a long time and it is amazing how the tone of it changed when you moved to ASB- it just shows the impact of working in a place where we feel our contributions are valued and more importantly, a place where we can continue to learn and grow.
    And the fact that it is in India, well that's just the icing on the cake!

    Anyway, I really just wanted to thank you for your inspiring and challenging thoughts.


  2. Thanks for taking the time to respond to this post Bridget. For the past few days we have been hosting our new teacher institute and it always makes me reflect on what a great choice I made when I decided to come to ASB. You are right - working in a place where you are valued, where you can add value, and where you are encouraged to grow and get better at what you do makes such a huge difference. I will always be grateful that I was given the opportunity to become part of such a dynamic, innovative and successful learning community. It has truly changed my outlook on teaching!