Friday, December 22, 2006

Harvard Psychologists Timothy Butler and James Waldroop published an article in the Harvard Business Review, Feb. 2000 called Job Sculpting: The Art of Retaining Your Best People. The article points out eight areas of life interest and suggests that one to three will emerge for each indiviidual as closely related to the issue of job satisfaction. I think it is of interest to look at these as they reflect on why many American teachers don't last more than three years in their chosen professions. We may also learn something about American education in this brief study.

Eight Areas of Life Interest
Application of Technology: These people love the inner workings of things.
Quantitative Analysis: These people gravitate toward the numbers and use them creatively to analyze data. They excel at analyzing ratios, customer research data, etc.
Theory Development and Conceptual Thinking: These people love nothing better than relating concepts to pursue higher levels of understanding.
Creative Production: These imaginative, out-of-the-box thinkers love to start things when there are lots of unknowns and they can make something out of nothing. They thrive on newness, whether its a product or a process.
Counseling and Mentoring: For some, nothing is more enjoyable than teaching. Whether they do it because they enjoy watching others succeed, or because they want to be appreciated, they see social value in their cause.
Managing People and Relationships: Wanting to manage people is different than wanting to counsel and mentor. The focus here is on outcomes, and these people enjoy working day-to-day with others. They like to motivate, organize and direct.
Enterprise Control: These are the go-to people who love being responsible for the direction of a team or project. They specifically like being in charge, although they may not like managing people. Their main thrill is in "owning" the transaction (i.e. being accountable).
Influence Through Language and Ideas: These people enjoy storytelling, negotiating and persuading just for the sake of it. They are most fulfilled when they are communicating (speaking or writing). Even if no one is listening, they are practicing their skills through self-talk.

Today, I am busy in the woodshop, but I would like you to reflect on these as they apply to your own life, work and interests. No doubt you will find that some apply to you and your aspirations for fulfillment. As you read through the list, you will find that some apply to teaching. You will also see that some do not. You will see that some may lead to progressive, child centered education. You may also notice that some will not.

Tomorrow I hope to talk about Kindergarten.

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