Monday, August 24, 2009

It's like they want me to lose my mind.

And it's working.

Trying to hold onto any semblance of reality is just futile... everything changes... then changes again. You type B folks, I'm sure you'd love it here... easy breezy maybe you have class, maybe you don't -who knows? But I swear to you I am losing my mind, absolutely losing my mind.

So you know how I'm all stressed out because I have tons of overtime on my schedule this month. Today I finish my first kid class (of three for the day) and go downstairs to grab my next set of books. The manager announces to me as I pass "You have class tomorrow... new class in the evening." And that's how it goes. Not "Can you teach another class tomorrow?" Not even... "We're starting a class next week and you need to teach it." No. It's last minute and it's not a question or even a request, it's a statement. So I tell her:

"No. I can't. I'm already teaching 130 hours this month."
"But next month - your two (kid) classes finish."
"Ok - I can start when these two classes finish"

But that's not good enough for her. I go to the teachers room and collect a few things and she comes in after me.

"What do you think about this? If I ask someone to fill in for this week, and you start next month, then you finish in September and they need a get a new teacher again. It's not good for the students, it's better to have only two teachers than three."
"I'm already teaching too much, I can't. I have four classes today and every Monday and Wednesday this month! Four classes is too many."
"But the class is Tuesdays and Thursdays in the evening."
"I can not teach four classes on Monday and Wednesday" (starting at 9am and finishing at 8:30pm) "and another three on Tuesdays and Thursdays" (again starting at 9:30am and finishing at 8:30pm) "It's too much."
"What if I cancel one class for Monday and Wednesday."
Silence from me. I'm beyond brain dead. I don't want to negotiate, I want to have a sensible schedule that I can adjust to and not have to constantly keep juggling everything. I said 'no', I meant 'no' and I don't want to debate it anymore.
"I can cancel this class until next month, cancel three classes, only add two this week."
GAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! "Fine.... fine.... fine."

So then I go upstairs and start crying because I'm so tired of never knowing what they're going to throw at me. I feel lame because I feel completely incapable of standing up for myself. The only time I've ever gotten my way is when I've thrown a complete hissy fit in the middle of the office. When I got here I was so disgusted at the way the teachers would yell and argue every little point with the staff, but now I understand it. We're treated like robots.... like we can just walk into a classroom at a moments notice and teach anything, like it doesn't matter if they cancel or reschedule or give us the wrong information for a class or add a student or take out a student or rearrange our rooms or take away our bathroom. And when you try to be polite and reason with them, you get nowhere. I know I need to be more assertive, but seriously - I'd said that I didn't want the class like three different times. I can be assertive... I just can't deal with manipulative bullies.

Needless to say I was not in a good mindset for my five year old, and she was distracted and disobedient anyway. I pulled out some tests and started grading them while she hid under the table. I gave up.

I did a bit better with my 14 year old - his English is pretty good and we've been working on writing which gives me a fair amount of time to just sit there quietly. I was comforted ever so slightly by the fact that it was my last class for the day (the next one being the one the manager canceled to get me to teach tomorrow's class). When I was finished I was soooo ready to leave. But knowing that I had that 9:30am kid class tomorrow I decided to do some prep work and found an activity that I thought she'd like and made the appropriate copies.

Finished for the day I ended up going to dinner with the Head Teacher we joked about going out clubbing but obviously weren't going to... not with early classes the next morning. We were just getting ready to leave when I noticed my phone ringing. When I grabbed it I noticed it was our manager calling. "Oh god... I don't want to answer it, I don't want another class tomorrow!" but I did answer it.

"So sorry... problem with your schedule. Your two (kid) classes canceled already."
"They go back to school tomorrow."
"So I don't have class tomorrow morning."
"No, no class."
"Fine... fine... fine."


Obviously I'm happy to get to sleep in tomorrow. But it's like they just don't get it. They don't get that I actually try to prep classes in advance, that whether or not I have class in the morning determines what I do the night before, that I've now wasted time and energy and paper prepping an activity for a class that's not going to happen, that I'd been carefully parsing out student book pages with outside activities so that we'd finish the book when we finished the course, that I've had these kids for five days a week for the past month and a half and I won't even get to say goodbye to them. They don't care.... and it makes me not want to care. I may have class tomorrow, I may not, I may have ten classes tomorrow. It might be Pre-Intermediate like they told me, it might be Starter. Who knows? There might be 10 students, there might be 15, there might be 3, there might be one guy and his wife who's not even a registered student. Why does it matter? Why should I care? All that haggling this morning, crying in my classroom... all for nothing, it's all going to change anyway!!!

Losing my mind I tell you ... losing my mind.

TAG: Code Coconuts


Bezzie said...

Yeah I'm with you. I like to pretend I'm all ballsy and would stand up to treatment like that. But I'm not. I'm a pushover. And it drives me just as nuts.
Hang in there!!!

Rebel said...

You Bezzie? Even you? Ok... that actually makes me feel a lot better.