Saturday, November 15, 2014

Doing what we fear

Yesterday I applied, or more accurately, requested a transfer from my current position to a temporary position. My current teaching assignment has me co-teaching with a man who has not been teaching alternative students as long as I have. The new position is basically a fill-in until the end of year for the District Testing Administrator.
The new position would be working solely with teachers and administrators in implementing the statewide assessments for students ranging from 3rd grade to high school. No teaching of students involved. I have always maintained that moving into a position that takes me away from students is a nonstarter. However, this year while I am loving teaching my students as I always have, the environment is toxic. I have been stressed nearly from the get go by an increasing negation of my expertise by my co-teacher. Partially, this is my fault because I suck at self-advocating. I won't accept the entire weight because well, just because I don't advocate for myself doesn't mean that all of my ideas are unworthy.
My ideas and methods are negated on a daily basis and have been since I began working in my current position. This year the newest challenge for me is watching my ideas being used as if they have sprung whole cloth from my co-teacher's mind. Sometimes he does a most excellent job, and others not so much. Just like when I or any other teacher presents material to our students. Sometimes you feel great, other times you just want to crawl into a hole.
The other issue has been talked about by us, sort of, in a meeting a few weeks ago. My co-teacher brought up how he was feeling unsupported in a certain aspect of our program. This aspect, while discussed briefly as a team, is never a collaborated effort. As a team we discuss  some things, as in dates and times, but very rarely content. We are expected to support his decisions and follow his lead without discussion. Because when we discuss the whys he becomes defensive and treats the rest of us as complete imbeciles. I must admit, that sometimes I become so exasperated during discussions that I will do or say something that is demeaning. So I do know what it feels like to being talking with the team and have a member of the team seeming to not paying attention to what is being said. However, I think we all pay attention to what is said, but when we question or disagree tension rises and we are made to feel as if we are not getting it. I get it, team building is important to him, but dodge ball where everyone is out for themselves is not team building and I won't participate in it. I will not make students doing a team building exercise that they feel uncomfortable doing. This is what he means when he says we don't support him.
But we are not a team. Those things that interest him are nurtured and paid attention to, everything else is not worthy of cultivating. This means that the mundane every day running of the program is left to the assistants in the morning and to the assistants and myself in the afternoon. He takes little notice of what is going on in the evening. I, unfortunately, must take care of business for all three programs in regards to the computer curriculum and the GED students. Actually, by doing that I know it is being done correctly. In the past four years when I have not made sure about such things by only telling him and not the assistants they don't get done.  Subversive, yes it is, but even when I say to make sure something is done, he still doesn't do it himself or tells the assistants to do it.
So, since testing interests me I have applied for the open position. I am not even sure I want the position or if I'm qualified for it. I feel relief and extreme fear because I have opened myself up and that has come back to bite me in the past. Fingers crossed, that I have the right decision.

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