For the last few weeks, I've been sick. It has mostly been characterized by exhaustion and lethargy, resulting in several trips to the doctor's office or urgent care clinics where I have been prescribed or treated with things to deal with the congestion (it doesn't seem to go away), allergic reactions, headaches, throat pain, and dehydration. I have been a barrel of fun.
Part of the cause, I am sure is that I am in the culture shock period of rejection. I wish I had been placed in Abu Dhabi and not Al Ain; I am annoyed at the lack of resources at my school; I am worried about my daughter's education and keeping her on par with her US classmates; my husband is not embracing this experience; our flat is in the middle of a construction zone which NEVER stops working - making it impossible to sleep; there are no kids near our flat for our daughter to play with; there is nowhere for her to safely play outside our building; you get the idea.
On Wednesday I had my first classroom observation (which I learned about the day prior). Wednesdays are my ping pong days, not only do my normal back to back classes not happen, but I am going from one end and one floor of the building to another, and one grade level to another, after every block. So my first period observation was on my best day of the week.
It was not a perfect class (when are they ever), but my girls were well-behaved, focused on the lesson, and for the most part, on task. But when I had my post-observation meeting, there was a list of things I didn't do well and what I should never do for an observed lesson. This upset me in part because I don't believe an observed lesson should be any different than any other lesson. I do a really good job of blocking out the observers because my focus needs to be on my students (comes from years of having stage fright and yet being a cheerleader/actor). And for those who have known me as a student, worker, or teacher, you know that I hold myself up to standards that exceed "fine". I don't ever want to be fine. The quote I live by is: "May I never be complete. May I never be content. May I never be perfect." (Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk) I am always striving to be better, but the feedback wasn't on how to improve but how to create a better performance. And I cried. I never cry in public. I hate it.
And then I got an email from my observer hoping I had a good night at the Rugby Club drinking, and I wanted to scream. This person doesn't know me and is judging me because I took a sick day after going out to dinner with my husband, and drank cranberry juice AND water?!?
*Truth in advertising: I feel it is important to document both the good and bad of my journey.... even if this post has an inordinate amount of whining.