Friday, February 3, 2012

Some weeks are better than others... (aka the Wet Blanket post)*

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.

Then I came home, and tried to rest up because my husband and I had a date. We never go out without our daughter, unless we have company, and even then, usually one of us stays at home. But I had booked a babysitter the night before because we both needed an evening out with other adults, and Wednesday is the trivia night at the Rugby Club. Before our sitter showed up, Rob asked me if I was going to be okay going out because I looked like the walking dead.  But, we'd made plans to meet another couple, and we both really needed a "date". I drank juice and water, and sat in the sick corner next to another friend not feeling well, and came home before the music round. The next morning, when the alarm went off, I couldn't function. I knocked it onto the floor, and had to fix it. I tried to get up, but my eyes were gummy. I ended up going back to bed until after 10. When I went to the doctor's office, the doctor wanted to give me a sick note for 3 days.

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?!?

Yeah, so at this point I have two options, I can take my doctor's advice and rest, and feel better - regaining my normal optimism; or I can ignore her advice and continue to wallow in my pit of misery.  I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to chose.

*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.


Erica Wilson said...

chin up, love. Remember, perception always overrides reality. It's a painful truth of many cultures, apparently... Miss you.

Jasmine said...

I miss you too, dear lady....

Angela Pitrone said...

I'm glad you wrote about it... I hope it helped a little. I know it feels lonely and hopeless right now but, in the larger perspective, this will be a side note. 10 years from now, you will be looking at your world travel adventures as a series of wonderful, terrible, always-entertaining stories and this week will be part of that quilt... in fact, it may be just a stitch in it, not being worthy of a whole patch! Next week will be better.

waltLuv1 said...

Greetings. My name s Walt. I'm in Atlanta. I'm coming over with February 2012, crop of teachers. Your posts and blogs are wonderfully informative. I feel your pain with being judged by your admin.
Hope you're feeling better. May I ask what type dog n pony show they requested?

I'm quite familiar with what goes on here, but I'm very much curious about the UAE version.

T. C Adams said...

the dog and pony shows are the same no matter where one teaches!