My boss has stopped coming regularly to school, and the new manager has settled into her position. I already mentioned this before, and as I said, it has been interesting to see what's happening between the Korean teachers and her. Interesting, yet sadly predictable.
Tuesday was icy cold at work. The staffroom was rife with tension and bad mojo. I didn't really know what specifically was going on but knew something was up. Interaction between Jane and the other two was curt and short- to the point of being (in my mind, anyhow) rude.
My two co-workers sat beside me before classes and during breaks, discreetly writing notes to one another and secretly passing them back and forth. Once they were read, and faces were made, the words were erased, and then the space where the words used to occupy on the paper was blackened with a pencil before the paper was ripped up into tiny pieces and disposed of. The words were apparently that damning.
My staffroom is a tiny catty class of middle schoolers, it turns out.
I'm sure there's more to the story, but part of the reason for the stoniness is that Jane had the audacity to ask Elizabeth to fix a coffee for a mom (one of Elizabeth's students, actually) who had come in for a chat. Elizabeth was, I was told, "really upset" by this. Apparently her job description doesn't include coffee-making for student's moms.
Funny, but my job description includes "Do what you're asked to!"
I know that I wouldn't be asked to make anyone coffee, but if I were - I'd make it. I mean, why the hell not - it only takes a moment. It means opening a little package of coffee mix into a dixie cup and then sauntering over to the water machine to get some hot water. Presto. Copy. I mean, coffee! However, I teach back to back classes all day long - and the ten minutes I get in-between is just enough time to visit the washroom and change books and materials for the next class, pretty much. However, the day that Elizabeth was asked to make the coffee, she had taught a total of THREE hours. It's not like she's crazy busy during her breaks either. She eats peanuts. She stares blankly at a book with her hands in her lap. Sometimes, when the phone rings, she answers it.
My co-workers (and myself) have had it easy with our owner/boss. She's fair and friendly and kind. She's also not very demanding, and really stresses out about having to "manage" us. Once I realized what a considerate person she is, I took her direction and requests calmly and cheerfully. "Sure I can do that!" At my old school, the Korean teachers were expected to do everything, including vacuuming, and cleaning the toilets. Their "breaks" were frenzied- creating teaching materials, or talking to visiting moms, or writing out the huge daily reports that were required. When Karen requested that we write reports, I said sure, while the K-teachers said "hell, no!" and they managed to get away with that!
The Korean teachers don't seem to do well with change. They're not doing well with Jane. So far this week, my school's been a tense, joyless place to be. I'm hoping things will get better. Today, the owner stopped by for a few hours - and Elizabeth went kind of catatonic, speaking to no one. Judy came around today, though, and I was relieved. What a trooper too, she'd had her wisdom tooth yanked out just about an hour before arriving to work!
Let a smile be your umbrella, I say.
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