Friday, October 11, 2013

RaNdom RamBlinGs

I started this blog with the intention of using it as a way to reflect on my teaching and myself as a teacher, to share insights and epiphanies with the world at large or with no one other than a receptacle of my thought in written form. 

I have been stuck.

I want to be positive and uplifting and reflective for growth, but it just wasn't coming.

So I decided to keep an eye out for subjects I wanted to write about, and I even have one post that I haven't posted yet because it is still on paper from when I wrote it while watching my son swim. 

Even that strategy has been hampered by a rough start. So maybe if I vent, and get it off my chest I can get past the roadblock and get back to it. Here goes...

It has been a rough start of the year for me. My role has changed and I am adjusting. While I came to grips with this change in role, that doesn't mean I was, or am, happy about the change. 

I made an agreement at home to reduce my workload, so I gave up one additional position, my Teacher on Special Assignment position. I gave it up willingly because no matter how much I agree with the vision and the goals of the position, the realities of the position were political roadblocks and not actually creating the help and support for students that I wanted. That was hard for me. I wanted to help students in an institutional way. I wanted to be a part of the creation and launch of a support system that could carry on and really help students. But the grownups got in the way. The politics were always in the way. So, no matter how much the philosophy meant to me, and how hard it was to face the reality that it just wasn't working, I did face it and I walked away from it. This is still hard because the system I was working towards building has completely faltered and the kids are the ones who are and will suffer from that. 

On top of that, one of the roles I really enjoyed was taken from me. This is the one that has caused me much grief and, honestly, heartache. Again, I came to accept this last May, but once the doors opened and the kids flooded in, and the change became real it has been difficult. I loved being the chair of my department. I really liked being involved in the school as a large entity, meeting with the other department chairs and working to find solutions to common problems. However, I am not one to sugar coat my opinions and I have heard that I don't have a very good poker face, so I rubbed the members of my own department the wrong way. They chose to find a new department chair. Ok. I was shocked at the time, and my feelings were hurt of course. People had decided I wasn't doing a good job. I'm not used to that. I went through stages of upset, from eager to see the other person struggle, eager to see the group struggle, to now I really do just want to be a positive part of the team. 

Unfortunately, or fortunately, being out of that circle and able to have the same view as my peers, some other things have come to light. I realize that I was manipulated by my superiors. I realize that I was fed misinformation in order to believe that I was making decisions on my own, but I really wasn't. I feel like a puppet. I also have come to some conclusions as to the beginnings of the movement to replace me. I don't think it was as much a ground swell as I was led to believe. I think it was contrived. Some of the things I was told in order to convince me to make decisions, I now know to be lies or half truths. And while all of this really sucks, and is crushing to my self esteem in thinking I am an independent thinker, what is even worse is that I know I am still being used as a game piece in order to manipulate others. As much as I want to be removed from it all, I was asked early on (and refused) to be the bad news guy a couple of times in order to keep the new person seen as all positive. Also, in order to deflect responsibility the grownups are telling her to get everything from me, instead of providing the information and materials and necessary knowledge to her from the correct spigot of information. I am tired of being played. I am tired of being viewed as the bad guy for decisions that aren't mine. 

I do have to make a conscious effort to 'not care' when I see things that bother me, when decisions are made that I disagree with, or when people are acting contrary to what I think is right. I am hoping that after the 153rd time I see a colleague being disrespectful during training, or an administrator telling different stories to different teachers (lies) because each one has different opinions, or try to reach people in my department to ask questions but they aren't available because they leave at lunch, or have to tell a kid that politics determine teacher schedules instead of student need... maybe after the 153rd time, I won't have to pretend not to care anymore. Maybe I just won't. It is sad to me that the way for me to be happy in my job is to not care about how things work institutionally, but it is just the truth.

My focus is on the students in my classroom and being the best teacher I can be. When school is over, I go home, I play with my kids, I take them to their activities, I help with their homework and after school events. I am really enjoying this as well. In the hustle, hustle, hustle of always being so busy at work, the kids' activities always felt like a chore. Every now and then that frame of mind invades again and I remind myself that this is what I want to do, I am not lying or convincing, I just need to remember. And I take a deep breath, watch my son cannon ball into the water, my daughter dance across the floor, paint something, or sit down and read, and I think:

I like this.