Lessons Learned from My Retail Gig

The past two days have been a blur of prepping lessons, grading assignments, emailing parents, arranging details for an upcoming field trip and budgeting yearbook.  Oh yeah, I’ve done some teaching as well.

With so much going on, I consider my greatest accomplishment to be my ability to stay present with my classes.  Each time the bell rings, I force myself to put away my current task and switch gears to welcome a new class.  It can be frustrating at times because I’m rarely finished with a task before I’m forced to shift my focus to something else.  It feel like there are way too many loose ends.

This is one way that my part-time job as SuperSalesGal has actually helped me as a teacher.  Working 15-20 hours at another job forces me to get comfortable with the unfinished.  I’ve had to learn to ask myself, “Is there any point in bringing your lesson plan book home tonight?” Or, “Grading tonight. The prepping will need to wait until tomorrow.”  I’ve learned a lot about priorities now that my time is divided between two jobs.

I also feel like the retail job can help to keep me sane when teaching has me jumping from one unfinished task to another. My coworkers think I’m crazy, but I love finding little projects and tasks to be done around the store.  Tonight I spent the better part of a 4.5 hour shift organizing a makeup drawer.  I cleaned, labeled and sorted.  And I didn’t stop until I was finished.  There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a task that I don’t think teachers always get to experience.  As SuperSalesGal, I see visible results of my efforts – a clean drawer, an organized shelf, products with the correct pricetags.  With teaching, the outcomes are more gradual and not always obvious.

Between yesterday and today, I put in 18 hours.



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