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in the hoosegow

Saturday, March 15, 2008

trouble and strife

My lesson for right now: when given the choice between helping your kids in the best way you know how and pleasing your boss, always go with the kids. I've been called to the carpet for the poor return on a recent event that one of my classes organized and it's tough to say what exactly went wrong. In fact, it would be a shorter list to say what went right. This is the 3rd event of this type that I've helped with and the other two kicked butt. This time around my kids were waaaaaay more involved, engaged, thoughtful and hard working. This time around they asked for an extension and were denied. This time around they asked for help from the community (via my boss) and received little. This time around the administrators above me decided the date, time, location and because of this, the amount of volunteer help we received (none from our parent volunteer group, which made this event work the last two times). My boss demoralized me and my kids (at times in front of others) and accused us of "pointing fingers at each other".

Today begins spring break and when I go back I have already been asked to meet to discuss what went wrong, or in other words, attempt to justify my actions. At least I believe this is what they expect. Rather, I intend to present them with a table of factors and let them draw their own conclusions. If I become any further engaged emotionally I will just quit, because this sort of aggravation and, well, humiliation is not what I signed up for. During the event itself I was secretly texting with my colleagues, who were away from campus, and they kept sending encouraging notes back. They felt guilty for leaving me to deal with this myself and in fact they have recently experienced similar situations with their own classes/businesses.

On the up side, I feel like I've created an atmosphere of trust and mutual interdependence with this class, which started off disjointed and was often disrupted by the kids making fun of each other. I have shared with them the criticism we were receiving, let them work out how to adjust their schedule and behavior accordingly and let them know that I would take responsibility for any shortcomings.

It's tough, though. I sought this job in large part because I wanted a chance to develop relationships with my students and I've come to enjoy and love many of them. I am their always advocate. The question is, can I and will I be allowed to continue this work next year? Do I want to?


At 3:24 PM, Blogger paksenn said...

I know its brutal hard to put the kids before your boss but you will not regret it. I think that if they have any sense whatsoever they will listen to your points and acknowledge they screwed up. I hope that you are entering a period of less trouble and strife.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Trent said...

Hey, that sounds like a grim meeting potentially - how did it go?

At 6:11 AM, Blogger ranger said...

We haven't had it yet. I'm hoping we can put it off until Friday so I can get all of the kids' comments incorporated.


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