That's right, I got a new job this week! Woo hoo, go me! (I've spent half my time bumming around and being slightly broke since I finished grad school, and it's been getting kinda old.)
My new job is a part-time gig with an SAT test prep company. (This one, if you are curious.) I'll be teaching weekly classes, doing private tutoring, and running a few workshops. So far, I'm really impressed with the company. I like the people who I've met and I like the way they've put together the curriculum. I applied for the job online (after finding the craigslist listing, of course), went through a little Skype interview, and then got invited to a 2-day training session, which they consider their "second interview." The training was on Monday and Tuesday of this week. I spent the whole weekend watching their training videos and cramming like crazy. (Thank goodness for my memory!) At the end of the first training session, my new manager said, "Ok, I'm really impressed, I'm gonna be hiring you, and are you interested in teaching an SAT writing workshop at the high school on Wednesday and Thursday?" So I spent all day Tuesday going over material, went to my 2nd training session on Tuesday night, and then spent all of yesterday and today at the local public high school, teaching high schoolers.
Let me repeat that - I just taught high school students. I find this bizarre and shocking and totally exciting!
Some of the classes were well behaved. Some of them were totally crazy and out of control. Some of them were filled with distractions - school bulletins, lunch, the end of the day, the sports teams' victories, etc. I taught the same 2-day workshop to 4 different groups, and every one of those periods was a unique experience. You know how teachers always say that they learn the most from their students? And it's kind of a clique, because it's been repeated so many times? I totally get what those teachers are talking about now, because I learned tons! I learned how to improvise. I learned when to laugh and "go with it," and when to take control and use my "loud voice." I learned how to adjust my plans based on time, based on attention spans, based on teacher feedback, and based on blind guessing. When I say that I "learned," what I really mean is that I started to learn, because these are all huge things that I hope to get better at with practice!
I am shocked at how much overlap there is between this SAT test-prep job and my future Bikram yoga teaching job! First, let me state the obvious: teaching high schoolers has got to be great practice for teaching yoga, because it's hard to imagine that any group of yogis could be harder to manage than a group of average high school students. (No offense to any readers who are high school students themselves! Come on - you go to high school - you know what some of the kids in your classes are like!!) At least yoga students, for the most part, really want to be there and have some interest in learning! With high school students who don't even care about the SAT, you're fighting an uphill battle all the way.
I've also noticed tons of overlap that I didn't expect. The very first page that my trainer had me "teach" for her during training was a page about getting in the "test zone." In a nutshell, it was saying that there may be tons of distractions in your surroundings that you can't do anything about (when you take the test), so you have to worry about the things you can control: your physical state and your state of mind. Um... hello?!? Is this not one of the biggest, best, and most important things that we work on in Bikram yoga?? I had no trouble teaching that page. I was in my element!
This job also gives me a great opportunity to work on my speaking voice and energy. During the training on Monday, we did a mock teaching thing where I went through and delivered parts of the curriculum for a couple people. At the end of the session, my trainer told me that I speak very concisely and clearly - thank you yoga, thank you blogging! She also said that not only do I have a lot of energy (which I knew), but I also have a lot of control over my energy (which was a surprise). Apparently I was very focused whenever I spoke, and I also brought my energy up every time the energy in the room started to dip down. I had no idea that I was doing that. How cool! This was the most exciting feedback ever! I felt pretty good about myself after that...
Unless my feelings change, I definitely plan to hold onto this job when I come back from teacher training; the pay is good, the work is fun and interesting, it keeps me on my toes, and it'll be a way to earn a bit of income without sweating my balls off for 4+ hours every single day!! Hooray for conservation of electrolytes.