Ponder this:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Why Can't Junie Learn?

This new job I have . . . the one that saved my full-time employment . . . the one that I work at in the mornings before my afternoon escape back into my Known Job . . .is going reasonably well. It is not going beautifully, and I finally figured out why.
My teacher/boss/friend Jane and I have different learning styles.

The way we've been approaching my training has been for Jane to sit next to me.

Very close next to me.
Sort of behind my left shoulder.
We follow the 6-point typewritten list of step-by-step instructions, removing and replacing a tiny post-it note, line by line, as we complete each step of a process.

I feel like a rabbit quivering in the shadow of a hawk.

Jane is a spreadsheet-cell-to-cell, step 1, step 2, step 3 person.

I'm a Leave Me Alone And Let Me Look At The Whole Thing And See What Parts Look The Same And What Parts Look Different And Then Find Out Why And Then I'll Check With You person.
I remember, with fond nostalgia, my kindergarten exercises of "circle the object that doesn't belong." (I think that sort of thing has become Politically Incorrect as exclusionary and therefore socially undesirable in the public school system.)

At the end of the first month I didn't even know what the name of the spreadsheet was that I had been working on. She asked me to print out the water/sewer account receivables and I looked blank-faced at her, mortified to say, "I don't know what that is." I had been entering figures on that spreadsheet every morning for thirty days.

Three days ago, I was brave enough to try to skip around the spreadsheet to see if this cell matched that cell (as it should if I was on the right track), and Jane said, "Now, let's finish this part of it, Miss Jump Around."

She's very patient, Jane is. It is in her nature to approach what she probably sees as my learning disability as a problem to be solved in a step by step way.

Jane and I are both intelligent women, and we do share a quality of logic, but even logic has different styles. In school she loved math and science: I did not. Jane approaches dieting and losing weight as a scientific experiment to see how her body responds if she does this and that. She has a carefully calibrated pedometer and she uses it regularly. I walk on sunny days and look at the pretty stuff. The only science I liked was earth science and I clearly remember my mental picture of the temperature being lowest just after sunrise. It made sense to me. I had felt it, so the logic of it for me came from my senses. Whether or not that is truly logic might be another question.

My effort at solving my problem with learning this job well enough to feel comfortable includes having taken a quiz to learn my Memletic Learning Style.

This is what the resulting graph of my learning style looks like:

Just to see what Jane's graph would look like, I went through the questionnaire again, answering it as I thought she would, and the second graph is what came up.

That little problem with Jane sitting next to me, telling me where to click next, moving of the post-it-note is pretty well illustrated. She's all northwest-pointy up in "Logical," and wide open toward "Social," and I'm wandering around alone muttering to myself and looking at tadpoles down in the southwest swamp.

That understanding would have gone some little way toward easing my initial frustration of asking what the plan was for this change in my daily work, and Jane's repeated response that there was no plan.

She knows that if she follows the steps, she'll get where she's going.
I want to know where I'm going so I can follow the steps.


Unknown said...

Very good

Tigerbi said...

I'm wandering around alone muttering to myself and looking at tadpoles down in the southwest swamp.

June, you are SO funny :)

Good luck with Jane ! She would make me all squirmy........too close for comfort !

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

Now this is very interesting! I need to look at the test and think about the idea. Who knows, at the age of 67 I may figure out what is going on inside by brain...a little late. Still it would be a good thing!

Tumblewords: said...

I'm laughing - in a good way - I know how these things go! I'm on your side now but used to be on the other. Amazing shift.

Recycled Cottage & Garden said...

I am so there with you, I have to know where we're going or see a picture of the end result before I can wrap my head around how to get there. And I am a visual learner, just show me then leave me alone for a while. I'll holler if I need help.
Keep at it though, you'll make it.

June said...

I forgot to credit one of the chronic whiners with 120 hours of vacation time. She doesn't know it yet, so I can fudge it. :-*