Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Un-Teacher

One of the reasons I took a job at an international school was to find out whether or not I wanted to be a teacher or a librarian. I thought that the two years of my teaching contract would give me enough time to sort this dilemma out.

Six weeks into the school year, and I already have my answer. I do not want to be a teacher, especially not a drama teacher, as they are expected to give up a significant portion of their personal time. I will, of course, continue to put great effort into my job and I will finish out my contract; this is not a concern. But being here has already taught me something I already suspected about my personality: I'm a hermit. Sometimes I wonder if this makes me a bit of a freak. For instance, dating is not even on my radar right now. Maybe if I meet somebody I like, my tune might change. But now, when I think about it, it feels like a burden or a chore.

The reason? I like being alone.

Yes, I'm quite social, and I try to maintain a wide circle of friends, but I only have interest in doing this if I get enough time to myself. Lacking time to myself, I become sluggish and irritable. I isolate myself from people and hole myself away.

In my current job, it is not the teaching that I enjoy most. It's the planning, the marking, the tasks that are done independently. I like my students, I like my coworkers -- that's not the issue. I would just prefer a job where I could work in relative solitude. I am always thinking of the library and how much I would enjoy it there. You could argue that this is a case of "the grass is always greener", but here I don't think that is so. It is simply an acknowledgment of my personality, which can be seen in the way that I spend my spare time.

I don't have much spare time, so I make efficient use of what I do have. I leave school and I exercise, scare up some supper, and then I do my non-work-related work: writing, art, reading, something along those lines. I never bothered hooking up my cable and I have not put anything in my apartment that might distract me from the task at hand. If I am productive with these things, I feel satisfied and fulfilled.

This is why I feel that for me, the teaching profession is an ill-fit. I do like teaching enough that I hope to find a library position that incorporates it in some way, but I do not want it to be my primary responsibility. Fortunately, my work history would definitely qualify for a position as an academic liaison librarian or an archivist, both of which are hugely appealing to me. I find myself checking the website of McGill University's library program often, reading the course descriptions, getting excited about a future that still seems a long way off.

Regardless, I am glad that I came here. My coworkers are great people, the students never cease to shock/amuse, and I am growing professionally by the day. I will be able to save enough money that I will not have to take out more debt to do the library program while still chipping away at the debt I've already got. I still sort of feel as though I am in limbo, but it is good to know that when I exit that limbo, I will have made it possible to have the future I want.