I’ve been a clerk in a grocery store (September, 1967/December, 1971), a clerk in a personal service company in the US Army (June, 1972/October, 1973), a clerk in an auto parts house (September, 1974/May, 1982), a carpenter (June, 1982/January, 1990), an educator (January, 1990/June, 2005) and a farmer.
The progression of my careers has been an interesting one, because the older I get, the more zeroed in I get on what it is that rocks my work world. My definition of success dictates that the less I have to worry about a clock, the better the occupation is.
My first three careers involved clerking and went hand-in-hand with clocks, no pun intended. I watched those hands on the clock as they traveled at their respective paces, in all three of these professions. Whether discussing the second hand, which matches my manic nature, or the hour hand, which matches the drudgery of wanting to be anywhere else but where I was, the clock ruled.
I watched the clock also while working in the construction field, but had the luxury of being able to ignore it if I chose, by either not working at all, or by working torturously long hours. Additionally, immersing myself in building something was infinitely more satisfying than exchanging goods for money.
Teaching involved a clock, all right, but for the opposite reason that clerking did. I fought that clock every minute of the day for sixteen years, because there was never enough time to get caught up. Never. Inconceivable.
The all-consuming nature of education makes it impossible to ever be caught up because the plan changes daily, and all teachers can do is go at it like a major league baseball hitter, and make adjustments. Teachers never have enough time, including that which is “free.”
As professions go, teaching and farming are on a par for so many reasons, it’s ridiculous. Both require cultivation to achieve success, both require vast unlimited amounts of time, both involve contending with subjects that can be either easy or challenging and both can yield phenomenal results.
|Farming should be taught in every school because,|
well, eating is kind of important.
Farming does employ a clock but only for the purpose of keeping track of the watering schedule. Otherwise, the sun is the only clock that the farmer pays any attention to. That and his stomach.
The primary reason that farming wins out is because there is no 35-minute commute each way, each day. Oh yeah, and I do not have to attend staff meetings or conduct farmer/vegetable conferences twice per season, as I had to while teaching.
However, that being said, if I had it all to over again, I would combine the last two professions into one, and teach farming to kids.
It would be the greatest classroom experience imaginable, for everyone involved.