Friday, February 04, 2005

Was It Something I Said? 

Starting to get a weird vibe from some teachers and administrators at the school. Nothing overt, and surely not deliberate snubbing. But now that the rightsizing is old news -- now that the time for kind regrets and ego-boosting has come and gone -- it just doesn't seem like the same people want to sit with me in the cafeteria.

And they certainly aren't comfortable asking me to do my job. Ironically, this has left me plenty of badly needed jobsearch hours during the workday; I've beguns sending out letters of intent, putting my best effort forward, and it feels wonderful. But it remains indescribably weird to sit in the middle of the library all morning and toy with my cover letters while coworkers pass, avoiding eyecontact.

At first I thought it was mututal discomfort, some survivor's guilt coupled with a growing apart. But today on our "rightsizer's support group" (a newly created listserv for those of us who've been asked to clean out our classrooms come June) a soon-to-be ex-peer hit the nail on the head:
I think the sorting out of people who are leaving and those who are staying has created two different group identities. We are communicating about how we feel and what we're doing while they are talking about housing and scheduling. We are worried about financial survival while they are assured of a salary for at least one more year. I think I have pulled away from the people who are still employed and some of them have pulled back slightly as well.

I have decided not to participate in any activities which involve planning for or discussion of the future of the School. I am also being self-protective in choosing what events I will attend. I feel disconnected from the School. It's as if one person has declared the end of a relationship, but both are compelled to live together in the same house for an extended period of time. My response is that I'm staying out of the house as much as possible and, when I am in it, I am focused on what is nourishing - in this case, my classes.
Yup.

That said, recognition of the problem isn't a solution for me. Unlike my astute peer quoted above, much of my job is teacher partnerships, macro and micro, in classroom and out. Most of my impact on students happens in other people's classrooms. If I'm going to still do anything at all around here other than twiddle my thumbs and hang out hoping -- in order for me to "teach my classes" -- people must be able to swallow their pride and approach me when they need me.

I'm human, but I'm also a teacher. I can't stop being one now just because someone made a bad call about what program the kids will need next year. Sure, like the author of the above, I've begun to drop my planning committee memberships, but I'll be damned if I'm going to creep out of here. This is still a school, and I can't help but assume the kids are suffering for our pop-pscych bifurcation.

For their sake, if no one else's, I'm hanging on to my draft notes for an open letter to the faculty. Just in case things get worse.

If I'm going down, I'm going down as me.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:52 PM |

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