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June 06, 2008


David Jakes

Hands down, the time I worked for the US Fish & Wildlife Service as a biologist. Provided me with an authentic context for teaching biology for 15 years.


Can't say I have had a bad job- how lucky am I? :) I do remember my first summer job just out of college, working for project SOAR in NC- great program for at-risk teens. We (me and two other young and clueless counselors) drove a group of 12 ADHD kids to Colorado-aiming to climb Longs Peak. Struggled to get the group above treeline, set up camp, and then realized that 3 of the roughest kids in our group had decided to bail, and were headed back towards the parking lot! We left all our gear, took all the kids, chased them all the way back down the mountian, did some serious intervention, then hiked them all back up, stumbling the last 30 minutes in the dark. Half the group made the summit the next day- hardest job I ever had in my life, but taught me so much about how to get past the ADHD to see the hurting heart of the child.


Top three:

Construction laborer -- relocating chest-high stacks of dry-wall like Cool Hand Luke, just for fun? (Prepared me for readying state and federal reports, some just as heavy.)

Bus boy -- servant leader anyone?

Barista on the beach in San Diego -- can I get another "La Jolla Latte": skim, extra hot, sugar-free vanilla, extra foam, double cup? (Personalization of education.)

A. Mercer

Catalog sales phone operator for I. Magnin. Customer order had been screwed up from start to finish. She was really pissed, and started a screaming hissy fit in my ear for about a minute or two. I held it away, and when she caught her breath told her she had reason for complaint, and that I needed to transfer her to the CS rep to get it fixed. I learned how to taking a screaming phone call but still maintain professionalism. Impressed my after-school program manager when a parent called and was obviously yelling (he could hear her part of the conversation and it wasn't on speaker phone) and I calmed her down by answering her concerns.

Sarah Trabucchi

celebrity pr....fastest possible crash course in simultaneous, differentiated instruction. listening to multiple (loud and strong and needy) voices, understanding and cataloging their individual needs and figuring out to take care of them all at once.

of course, i couldn't stomach it for longer than a year. so maybe that's why i ended up on the other side of education? ;)

so fun! thanks for the tag!

Dean Shareski

I never really had too many awful jobs. Given the fact I wrote my final exam on a Thursday and began teaching in a classroom the next Monday and have been an educator ever since, makes me pretty lucky.

I did work at a men's clothing store while in college and did quite well. There are some similarities to teaching. You're trying to engage and interest others in something you think they'll benefit from. In addition, the odd unhappy customer required me to learn at an early age how to deal with all types of people.

Still selling today.

Laura Deisley

Well, that meme tag gave me pause. I can honestly say I haven't given the notion any thought, and since I am relatively 'new' to the education field--at least as a profession--it makes me stop in my tracks asking "why."

A couple of thoughts:

1. My first big job after spending 10+ years at home raising my kids (and working part-time for a family business-not recommended ;)) was as Partner and Director of Corporate Sponsorships for a digital media start-up. Spent two years trying to help CEO craft a sales proposition to help him monetize his concept--though the content and vision was clearly educational and non-profit. What I learned in the process about storytelling, the evolving web 2.0, my passion for education/non-profit and my disdain for the corporate perspective (I'd been a corporate banker for 10 years--should have learned that lesson once), threw me straight into the arms of education and unleashed a passion to inspire innovation, creation, and global voice.

2. If I had the photo of this I'd share it. It's priceless. As a little girl I'd often create all kinds of things spending more time and have more fun setting up schools, stores, and play spaces with my younger sister. But what takes the cake was my passion to be on stage. With little sister hugging my side, I'd don my great uncle's tophat, some kind of cape, and set up my magic show. The neighborhood kids were spellbound, and their "oohs" and "ahhs" (and giggles when the little gum ball stopper fell out during the string-stuck-in-the-vase trick) fueled my interest in figuring out how to elicit engagement and interest and enthusiasm in others. How does this fit with education? Well, I'm learning to quell my need to be the sage-on-stage "center of attention" but still bring the "oohs" and "aahs" as I help others learn to take risks, accept failure, and learn.

Thanks for the pause...


Thanks for the tag, Christian; responded here and tagged 5 more folks.

Terry Shay

I was tagged by Diane Cordell to write on this Meme. What a great idea for a topic. I had fun thinking back to that job!

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