This week we had 27 office hours. We were actually working more hours then usual, only we had nothing to do during that time. “I did not sign up for a desk job,” I fumed to Nate. We’d just gotten our schedules for the week (really helpful getting them on the first work day of the week), and both Nate and I had only 8 hours of classes each! Amazing, easy week, or you would think. Usually we have around 10 office hours a week, more if we don’t have a class scheduled at a specific time slot. 10 office hours is already a lot of office hours, especially when you have a demo heavy schedule like me and don’t have prep to do for every time slot. 27 office hours is beyond ridiculous.
We had a meeting shortly after getting to work. Some sort of four hour brainstorming session is supposed to be taking place every day this week. I guess it’s something to do, though I don’t have high hopes for anything getting accomplished given the nature of our past meetings. I’ve been talking to Muffin about the new curriculum, and I am supposed to be spearheading the lesson plans. I’ve already put a lot of work into them, and I’m quite proud of them. They’re designed to be detailed plans with suggestions of really interesting activities, modelled after the plans I’d used at “Mad Science” back in Ontario. If they’re followed correctly they should make each lesson run as smoothly as a demo, and give teachers who have no experience a guideline of what to do. I’ve even been talking to Muffin about the possibility of organized bins by subject containing lesson materials and lesson plans.
As Muffin talked I began to get a funny feeling deep in the pit of my stomach, like I did at the beginning of my contract, when, after pumping out the most brilliant lesson I could muster I was subjected to a “meeting” that lasted for hours, and seemed to be designed only to talk down about my inabilities, when the real problem was out of my control. “Muffin,” I say in a pause “we are still covering the same units as you sent out before right?” The answer was no. And just like that about 10 hours of work were casually chucked away like a scrap of paper containing some child’s scribbles.
I was angry, frustrated, and I didn’t want to be there. I felt like I was also a scrap of paper to be wrinkled up and tossed aside. “I’ve already done a lot of work on the previous lesson plans,” I say. Muffin didn’t seem to know what to say.
I can’t go to Muffin’s stupid meeting anyways, I have make up classes to do. We’re supposed to take lunch at 11:00am, but I got there at 10:00, so I worked through the break and grabbed lunch at 1:30.
At 3:00pm I had a make up class with Angela. She’s one of my quiet ones, and it was nice to get to work with her one on one, where she seemed to open up just a little more. All to often I hear teachers from every age group and every ability level, talk about the “good quiet kids”, and how forgettable they are. The “bad trouble makers” are the ones that stand out, and it seems are often the favourites. Well I was one of the “good quiet kids” growing up, and I see a bit of myself in each timid child. It may be a little more work to get to know the quiet ones, but it is always worth it. As for Angela, she’s been slowly opening up throughout my class, and I treasure each glimpse I get of her hidden personality.
After Angela I had a make up class with Alan, the pre-K one boy from the same class as Angela. I wish they could have taken the class together as they would have had more fun, but the parents schedules just wouldn’t match up. Alan looked a little bit lost in that big classroom all by himself. Last time Alan had a make up class Shelly was there with him, and he kept asking about her. “No Shelly today.” I told him, not sure if he understood.
Alan is an interesting boy because he is enrolled in a English Kindergarten, and so I am always surprised at the English he comes up with in random situations, while during my class he often picks the wrong answer, or spouts out phrases like “In the park, fountain, eat!”
Alan remained Shelly obsessed throughout the entire class. “What do you like to do in the park?” I asked.
“I like Shelly this.” Alan replied pointing.
“Shelly likes to play on the slide?” I asked.
“Yes,” pause “No no no. I like Shelly eat.”
“You like to eat Shelly?”
“Yes.” pause “Nonono Shelly like eat this,” point.
“Shelly likes to eat the slide?”
“Do you love Shelly?”
“Yes,” pause “Nonono Aida.”
“You love Aida?”
“Yes.” pause “Nonono Bob.”
“You love Bob?”
“Nonono Bob Sam?”
“Bob love Sam?”
“I think so too.”
“Nonono, Bob, Sam I eat.”
“Okay Alan.” Time to try and focus a little.
We played the find the ____ (park item) game. “ball” said the computer, Alan pressed pond. “Bench” said the computer, Alan pressed pond. “flower” said the computer, Alan pressed pond. “NOOOO Alan…! Not pond!Not pond!” I pretended to shake his shoulders as he melted with laughter. I had to walk Alan back from the computer screen, play the word, and then tell him to go! Suddenly he started picking the correct answers!
Nate and I left when we’d gotten our work done, instead of staying until the “assigned” time. “I feel like I’m in high school,” I ranted on our walk home, “Everything happens behind your back and they treat you like you’re ideas don’t matter. The jobs always about to fall apart. Don’t they realize that there’s more then one way to destroy someone’s face? Like all their concerned with is face value, but don’t care about what’s going on underneath. At home face value is just fake. The way they treat us and undermine us and lie to us is like the equivalent of smashing our faces in our culture. I just hate this job. I hate it. I don’t even want to try anymore. I was standing up for Muffin last week, and then he pulls this. Like I actually thought I could do something good for this job. I was ready to head the whole project and then he throws me away like some piece of garbage. That is face smashing. I don’t even care. I feel like smashing their faces back.” I may not have grasped the whole “save face” thing fully, but I was able to recognize people trying to bend a system to meet their agenda without care for who they hurt along the way.
We went to this place called “Lazy bar” for drinks in the evening. The drinks were a good price but took forever to be brought out. We joked that this was because they were too lazy to make them…
Anyways since Nate and I are on opposite schedules I have texted Candy asking to be switched to the same hours as him for the rest of the week. I have nothing scheduled, so it shouldn’t make a difference if I sit in an office doing nothing in the morning or in the afternoon.