Thursday, January 5

New Challenges

Teaching a school group in the galleries.
Way back when, before my life was consumed by motherhood and the desire to use this space to keep friends and family updated on how Liam is changing and growing, I used to write about my work more often. Take, for instance, this post on my teaching philosophy, this post on how to look at art in a museum, and this post on things visitors do that annoy me as a museum educator. There was also this little gem of a post, relating the story of how one very young museum visitor was stumped by Heracles' pubic hair. As I scrolled back through my archived posts, I realized just how often I used to write about my job. A goal I have for this year is to start throwing in more work-related posts like I used to, if only to temper all of the mommy-related posts with a few stories about what it is I do when I'm not being Liam's mom.

As it turns out, the new year marked some significant changes for me at work. Up to this point the central focus of my job at the museum has been to teach--every thing from school groups and public programs in the galleries to gallery courses for visitors who would like to explore specific topics on the ancient world in-depth. However, beginning this month I began a new job coordinating teacher programs for our division. While I will still be teaching students and teachers, this new position is primarily a programming position; a major responsibility of the job is to generate programming and resources for teachers. This includes things like organizing educational workshops for teachers, generating curricula they can use in the classroom to teach their students about the ancient world, and getting involved with long-term projects dedicated to creating online and other technology-based resources for teachers. The museum is strengthening its school and teacher programs, so there will be plenty of work for me to tackle. What I find most exciting about my new role as project coordinator for teacher programs is the creative aspect. I will be creating programs and resources rather than just implementing them, which offers a new kind of intellectual engagement and challenges that my teaching position did not.

It has only been a few days, so most of this first week was spent getting organized and familiarizing myself with the current line-up of projects. Having taken this week to get my proverbial ducks in a row, I have no doubt I'll be fully immersed in my new role in no time. This new position also requires that I change to a Monday-Friday schedule--something I have not had for almost five years. During my time at the Villa, I've worked a Wednesday-Sunday schedule because teachers need to be at the museum on weekends to teach weekend programming. So, I've not  had a traditional working week in quite some time. Although there are things I will miss about being off on weekdays (e.g. fewer crowds at the store) I look forward to the change, since my regular days off will now be more in sync with Eric's and we will have more time off together. (Up to now, we've had staggered work schedules and as a result have only one day off together every other week.) Moving to a more normalized work schedule is great, but I will also be spending much more time at work. Not only will there be plenty of days that I will need to stick around after hours to oversee programs, I will still be coming to work on the weekend a couple of times a month to serve as the supervisor on duty for our department.

I'm sure it will be a little rocky and stressful over the next few months as I get used to my new job, but I am armed with a good sense of humor and the knowledge that this is an excellent opportunity to gain some new professional experiences and broaden my qualifications in a program area that is always in high demand on the museum education job market.

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