A “Learning curve” is the rate of someone’s progress in learning a new skill.
As a parent, the last 10 months have been the ultimate learning curve, even 10 months and 1 day a go I didn’t have any idea what was in store for me. When I was pregnant, people used to ask me whether we were ready or organised for baby coming. I would reply with the same thing each time; “The nursery is decorated and ready to go but I have no idea what to do with a baby”. We had obviously read a lot about what we should do with a baby but beyond that my mantra was “If people with far less brain cells and intelligence than me can do this, then it can’t be too hard”. Then in August our lives changed. I wonder how often you think back to the raw emotions of giving birth, whatever the circumstances were for you? For me, I often give those couple of days a fleeting glance and the emotions are fairly detached. I wasn’t hugely “with it” and spent a lot of time ignoring those around me to concentrate and focus, and then once I had some pain relief, I was mainly unconscious except for contractions. When I really think about it though, the tears quickly well and I am soon scared again. That’s what I really felt. Scared. The whole process was so unknown to me and things did not go according to our happy and positive plan so that when I think back, I remember the anxiety, the worry, the relief when the consultant said he wanted to do a C-section, the tiredness and the happiness when sprog finally joined us on the “outside”,
Hubby and I thought that we would weather any storm with smiles on our faces and working together as a team and for the majority of the time, that’s what we do. We are now a fairly well-oiled machine in terms of getting up, reading for work and nursery/Nanny, getting dinner on, everyone fed and to bed. The demands of a small child have led us to extreme tiredness, new ways to make a baby smile have led us to go a little crazy (hands up if you’ve tried perfecting the Donald duck noise just to stop the late afternoon lip wobble) and the unending needs of another human have led us to change our priorities.
In reality this means the order of importance in our house is like this; 1. Sprog and his needs 2. Us as individuals and our work/study needs 3. Sleep 4. Couple time. You can see how quickly the balance changes and that is our next learning curve to conquer. As of today, it should be easier again for a couple of months. As I tap at my keyboard, hubby is finishing up with his last exam for this sitting and we are both so proud of him. I know Sprog can’t feel it yet but I know that when we explain to him that when he was tiny, Daddy worked all day and then studied all evening in order to get his qualifications and make a better life for all of us, he will be proud and he will know that Daddy is an amazing person. The learning curve is to find some time for us as a couple amongst all this…life is whizzing by and I really want some time with my best friend to hang out!
As a teacher, I am faced with new learning curves every day. Each day brings new experiences with students and new problems that arise. I genuinely feel privileged that I get to have an input into shaping the lives of the young people I work with and into helping them find their way through the troubles of adolescence. It’s not easy, we all remember it. I have learning curves for me in handling each new and unique situation that comes up, and the responsibility for helping them through their learning curve. I spoke with 2 students today and we described it as the transition from being a child who has adults who will solve problems for them to becoming the adult who solves the problems and that they have to work out how best to handle this. It’s tough work for both parties.
However, there are then days like today which don’t come along very often. Today, I find myself learning about a whole new subject. Today, I started teaching IT to year 8… I have to teach them how to design a computer game. If you know me, you will know that I can use the basic computer programmes fairly well. But when I open up lesson resources which talk about programming, pathways and scores, my face falls, my calm exterior breaks and I have no idea what is going on. This morning 2 year 8 classes looked in my bewildered face for the answers. I blagged it. Successfully! For one lesson though, next time I think I may actually need to know about these “pathways” and I’m pretty sure they aren’t the gravel kind lined with pretty flowers! O well, time for another learning curve. If I manage to master it, I shall let you know but it’s not hugely likely.
What learning curves have you come up against recently? How are you overcoming them? I’m hoping that you don’t ignore the difficult things for quite as long I do!