Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Office

Recently, I’ve discovered a whole new side of the world.  I’m not sure how I missed it, but it’s there, and for most people, it’s obvious.  It’s the norm.

It’s the Office.

Ok, not the TV show.  Though I finally actually saw the show for the first time upon arrival in Musoma.  (Yes, I know I'm behind the times.) Instead, I mean the REAL office.  That place where people go to work every day, week after week, and do things that up till now were a complete and utter mystery to me.

The thing is, I’ve suddenly been plunged into a location and life where I’m seeing bits of office life for the first time.  My roommate works at an office.  I go there to print things, pick up mail, meet with people, and all sorts of other oddities.  Since we don’t have our own school copy machine, I go there to make copies for my students. 

And the thing I’m realizing is… the office. is a whole lot different than the classroom. in every. single. way.

One day, I went to the office to get my computer hooked up to the server (so I can print materials).  Then I sat down at an empty desk and checked my email.  I might have sat there for half an hour in dead quiet, catching up on things and responding to important messages people had sent in the past week. 

And… it was during the day.  Daylight hours. 

And… I wasn’t sitting at home in the dark on my bed.  Dead tired from the day.

It was a surreal experience, to say the least.

Obviously, I know people do a lot of things besides check their email and respond to messages for their jobs.  But the fact that it’s possible during the work day to attend to such things, without rushing to do so in 2.5 minutes before the students arrive, or without a sandwich in hand for lunch and a student by your side that you’re tutoring in math at the same time… just blows my mind.

And then there’s the aspect of communication.  It’s occurred to me recently that in an office setting, people talk to each other.  With real, adult conversations.  About things that aren’t necessarily always, 100%, related to work.  Meaning there are moments that are down times, where things aren’t completely crazy, when the world isn’t in constant motion and you’re not teaching and monitoring and helping kids and encouraging a student with their success and hoping that another student who is sliding out of his chair might hear the praise and do the same.  Thinking about what you’re teaching next, how to best keep their attention, make it fun and make it stick.  Recognizing when one of 10 children are losing interest and finding a way on the fly to get them back. 

You mean, this isn’t normal? 

I’m so confused.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE teaching.  (most days anyway!)  And I love the discussions I have with kids. They make me laugh, and sometimes, cry.  I get to pour into them about the world and about God and get to help mold their characters and encourage them in their walk with the Lord.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world. 

It's just fun to explore this unique new world around me for the first time in my life!

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