Saturday, February 13, 2016

The New Fight

It is very difficult for an auditory learner (not visual, as most people seem to be) to learn in the atmosphere I've thrown myself into.

Stress is not a good learning aid, though bastions of teachers with Little Napoleon syndrome and drill sergeants, from present day all the back to the Spartans, would disagree.  We know better now. The science is clear: stress burdens the brain and makes learning harder.

My instructor of last week would love this, particularly in my case.

From the first moment I said Hello to him I noticed a marked change in his demeanor. When he speaks only to me he never makes eye contact.  He turns his face, and nearly his whole body, in the opposite direction.  His voice sinks to inaudible levels.  Sullen fumes of contempt and resentment waft in my direction.  I've had people respond to me this way before at first sight, especially since I entered my fifth decade on Earth.  And it is commonly men under 30, and frequently men who aren't Caucasian.  NO idea why, but I make special efforts to make these people as comfortable around me as possible.  But sometimes they are just walled-up in my direction.

It happens.  It's a part of the human condition, even if it's a creepy, persistent discomfort during the 9-hour-long training days. I can deal.  I'll just be very kind and open and respectful.

There is a lot to learn during training, and especially for me.  I come from voice tracking and sound editing platforms, and I have raging dyscalculia.  It's going to take me more time and effort than the majority of the 20-somethings in the class who worked in banks and such.  I'm ready to work my ass off.  I'm ready to learn.

But learning isn't the priority for my instructor, though you might imagine that.

Like so many who've never had a captive audience, he is luxuriating in our attention like a hog in mud.  At the pinnacle of his performances for the week he was standing on a chair, hands splayed on his puffed-up chest, saying (with the questioning, up-ended sentences so prevalent among those who study reality shows to learn social and moral codes):

"I smell so good?  Right?  Like, when I'm in the elevator?  Like when I'm in there, right?  And I'm like, in the elevator and some girl walks in and she like goes, "Like, oh my god, you smell so good?  And it's like, so awkward!"

I've clocked his narcissistic diatribes at a maximum of 40 minutes.

When another instructor enters the room he's back to business, cramming in massive amounts of material, from safety protocols and admin search methods to international currency conversion rates at the end of the day when we are tired and worried.  I especially am worried.

But like a Spartan, I fight back when I'm held down.  I arrive a half-hour early to study before class starts.  I take copious notes.  I meditate.

While I'm not exactly grateful for the abuse I endured for decades in radio, it has taught me about my neural capacity.  I will endure this guy.  Better dickheads than he have tried and failed.  I will learn how to do this job, despite his efforts to the contrary.

It's not my first battle.  It's just a new one.

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