Advice on finding a non-teaching but education-related job for a college student.
January 9, 2007 7:27 PM   Subscribe

I need to find a summer job. Ideally I'd like to do something related to education, as I'm hoping to work in education (explained in more detail inside) when I'm finished with my own education - but I am much more interested in research and theory than in classroom work, so I'm having a hard time coming up with ideas. I'm interested in ideas that are very tangentially related to education as well as ones that are very related.

I am a second year in college, majoring in philosophy and human development, and I'd like to be an educational reformer in some capacity some day - probably most practically by creating or taking over some sort of experimental school and changing at least a couple of people's lives while publishing revolutionary articles on the philosophy of education in academic journals. You can tell by this plan that I am incredibly idealistic about the whole thing at this point.

I would like to do something this summer that will shake up my idealism about some or all aspects of this plan without destroying it. The only somewhat promising idea I've had so far is to work at a commune to get an idea of what being part of an experimental community would be like - I am interested in more abstract ideas like this one as well as more specifically education-related ones.

On the more directly educational side, I already have experience with tutoring young elementary school kids, which is fun but not very substantial. On the other hand, the idea of something like the Breakthrough Collaborative program in which I would be completely in charge of a classroom and planning classwork for two months sounds pretty overwhelming to me at this point in my personal development - and I'm more interested in teaching teachers how to teach than in being a classroom teacher myself, anyway.

I am also interested in hearing about any other resources related to this sort of educational work (books, people, organizations, etc).
posted by bubukaba to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Generally, becoming the go-to person to teach someone how to do something involves having some experience in actually doing that something yourself, so you might want to get some teaching experience at some point. Just sayin...

Or perhaps you were going off the saying "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."
(apologies to the teachers out there)
posted by yohko at 7:36 PM on January 9, 2007

Best answer: Dude, I feel you. These are tough waters to navigate and feel like you're going to be able to move the system a bit.

Have you read any Papert? How about Freire? What about Delpit (for someone who's critical of many educational reformers)? Some of the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) people might be of interest to you.
The following chapter is very readable; you should be able to get the book through your Uni library:

Moll, L.C., & Greenberg, J.B. (1990). Creating zones of possibilities: Combining social contexts for instruction. In L.C. Moll (Ed.), Vygotsky and Education: Instructional implications and applications of sociohistorical psychology. L.C. Moll (Ed.), New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. (pp.319-348).

It might be interesting for you to explore some of the more critical perspectives on schooling and education. Then look around and see what people who are of a theoretical perspective that you find agreeable are doing. Maybe go work with them for a while. You'll figure out what you want to do soon enough.

I think your caution about a program where Presto! You're a teacher for X months! is appropriate. Often those programs (including Teach for America) place the least prepared teachers in schools that needs the most skilled ones.

Anyway, email me and I'll send you a copy of a book chapter a friend of mine wrote (in a soon to be released book) that may be informative to you.
posted by rbs at 7:52 PM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Also, I too have dreamed of going to live at Orange Twin. I anything associated with Jeff Mangum.
posted by rbs at 7:54 PM on January 9, 2007

(that was supposed to say "I heart anything" but somehow it got clobbered)
posted by rbs at 7:55 PM on January 9, 2007

Best answer: I second rbs, but I will add Peter McLaren, Henry Giroux, Greg Dimitriadis and Lois Weis (full disclosure- I know the last 2 personally), and the whole other set of ideas related to digital communities and the like. Email in profile if you want some reading suggestions or pdfs of readings.
posted by oflinkey at 8:28 PM on January 9, 2007

Best answer: College doesn't prepare you for work. College is about learning stuff you'll probably need later. Work is about doing stuff now, and getting along with people.

Any job will supply you with essential experience that you haven't had yet.

Any manager has to know about everything the company does. The best way, by far, is to start at the bottom and learn how to do the work. It doesn't matter where you start. You'll need to go through everything, and one place is as good as another.

If you have talent, it will be recognized and you'll be promoted, at least if you're in a company worth working for. Recognizing whether a company is worth working for is something else you need to know that you don't learn in college.

Your stock in trade as a manager is credibility. You need a reputation as someone who calls it straight, even when it's uncomfortable.

Your strength as a manager is your network. Get to know as many people as possible, and keep their names and contact information in your Outlook Contacts list (or the equivalent if you use a Mac). You want to become known, as yohko says, as the go-to person for any question, because you either have the answer or know who does.
posted by KRS at 8:40 AM on January 10, 2007

« Older Good diet-friendly caffeinated drinks?   |   Soviet True-Believers? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.