Friday, April 06, 2007

Annual Reviews and Development Opportunities

How structured are your annual reviews?

I often wonder about this, this is my first museum position where these have occurred. Mine are very informal and I wonder if I’d benefit from a more structured one.

What are your experiences with reviews? How are they structured?

I feel like a more structured review would help in identifying potential development areas as well as creating a dialogue opportunity for goal setting and career forecasting.

Please share your experiences.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Traditionalist to Millennial: Intergenerational Workplace

A unique situation is cropping up in the workplace: Intergenerational colleagues.

Check out this article from the Mayo Clinic

For generation descriptions and suggestions for cross-generational communication techniques. I work at a Museum where all four generations are represented. Myself being the most youthful, I’ve found this dynamic to be a rewarding one, with built-in mentorship, I feel like I’ve benefited from experience of my colleagues without condescension.

This phenomenon creates both rewarding and challenging experiences. How do you communicate successfully? How do you avoid being stereotyped? How can your workplace benefit from this wealth of knowledge, experience, and skill?

Do you work in an intergenerational workplace? If so, how have you benefited from this dynamic? Do you have any suggestions for potentially frustrating situations? If so, please share.

Monday, April 02, 2007

High Need = New Opportunities?

My background is primarily in art, my teaching certification is general elementary, and yet at both of the museum jobs I've had so far I've found myself engaged in science education -- first natural/environmental science, now anthropology, astronomy, and paleontology. Here in the education department at my museum, in fact, many of us are teaching science with liberal arts and/or education backgrounds, rather than hard scientific training. I'd venture to guess there's a similar trend in schools: in the past few years, when I was applying for classroom teaching positions, I was often asked (based, presumably, on my museum ed and office experiences) if I would alternatively consider a science or technology teaching position.

I'm very happy doing what I do, almost certainly happier than I'd be at an art museum. And it seems clear that we need more educators comfortable teaching math and science, and if people with in-depth training in those areas aren't available (because, as I assume, they are going for more lucrative research/corporate/government/ academic jobs? or is there another reason?), surely someone needs to fill that gap. And I personally believe that, at least for grades K-8, it is more important to have smart, enthusiastic educators who can make the material accessible and interesting for their audience than it is to have educators who are necessarily experts in their field. But what do others think? Anyone else out there noticing this trend, or teaching subjects in which they are self-taught?