Monday, April 12, 2010

Flounder--Not Just a Fish

I've grown up around floundering my whole life.  For those of you who are not familiar with this term, floundering is a method of fishing involving a long pole with a spear on the end, a lantern, (hopefully) low tide, and late late nights.  The fisherman basically walks around flat areas of ocean or bay where the water is anywhere from ankle to knee deep, dragging his feet in the sand and shining his lantern in an arch in front of him.  When he sees the distinctive shape of a flounder, he positions himself, readies his gig, and stabs the fish right behind the eyes.  This process can be fairly short, or it can go for hours in the pitch black.

I have long since decided that the term floundering refers to the actions of the fisherman, rather than to the fish that is his goal.

While it's been years since I've actually gone on a floundering expedition, I feel a similar sensation in my work life right now--stumbling around looking for something that I'll recognize when I see it with only a bit of light to work by.  Embellishing descriptions aside, I am not happy with my job right now.

There are many reasons for this:  the stress, disrespectful students who have no concept of respect,  accountability or responsibility, the broken nature of the system itself, to name a few.  I'm sure there will be future posts about all of these.  Facing my current unhappiness and the reasons mentioned, I have started to consider considering other options, but I truly have no idea where to start.  I either look at jobs for which I am unqualified, or I look at jobs that seem superficially perfect but wind up being far more stressful than even teaching.  I keep hoping that when I see what I want to do, I'll just know it and take steps to make it happen.  But nothing seems to be popping up--thus the floundering.

It is a frustrating, demoralizing, and stressful situation which also has no immediate remedy.  And lately, I've been letting it get the better of me.

So, in an attempt to counteract the effects of this situation, as well as to remind myself of my personal goals and our bigger goals as a family (which, after all,  are the reasons I am working in the first place), I have decided to make a list of 5 goals to focus on:

  • Get back on track with my workout routine
  • Lose another 5-10 lbs
  • Start cooking dinner more often
  • Make extra payments on my loans each month to get them paid off sooner
  • Get a house cleaning schedule back in place

Also, here's a list of the reasons why teaching doesn't absolutely suck.  Sometimes, I need the reminder:

  • The good kids--those who want to learn, who work hard, who are smart and respectful and a joy to be around
  • Sharing knowledge with the younger generation
  • Job security
  • Vacations

That's all I've got for the moment.  If it hadn't been the day that it was, I probably could come up with more.  On that note, having actually stated my goals that I need to be focusing on AND reminded myself of the pros of my job, I'm going to bed.

I hope tomorrow is a better school day, and I hope summer hurries up and gets here.  Most of all though, I hope this exercise helps lessen my feeling of floundering.


  1. Awww, bad days are no fun! I guess this is a bad time to mention that I'm considering a career switch to teaching in a few years or so? :-p

  2. Yeah the bad days suck. And as I mentioned there are pros to teaching.

    I'm at a point, however, that I would warn anyone away from teaching--they system is very different even from the system we graduated from. It keeps moving away from student accountability to placing ALL responsibility for learning and student success (which is measured by standardized tests) ONLY on the teacher.

    And don't get me started on the role of parents.

    All that said, if you really want to teach I'd say give it a can always go back to engineering or something else if you hate it! And all the badness aside, summertime sure is nice ;-).

  3. And now that I read your "Guess What", I will say that many people I work with are in teaching mostly because it is such a great profession for having a family ;-).

  4. Kristen,

    I needed a photo of a Flounder to encourage a friend and his wife as he recently has begun receiving hospice care. Google found yours for me. Thanks. The photo brought me to your blog and I read a bit of your story. I wish you and your husband well.


    Steven Brown


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