Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dominance games and adapting to a new position.

Being of ethnic background, some things are just not nice.  Four senior staff have called me boy in conversation.  Given that I actively seek to remain connected to the current generation, I can understand where they are coming from, but I must admit to finding it extremely irritating especially coming from a white person.  I have more life experience than most, if not all the staff (I packed a lot into my twenties) and I'm two years off 40.  I'm hardly boy anymore.

Culturally it is really inappropriate (my grandfather was darker than most of our boys of African descent) and although I don't think a racist element is present, it probably is an unconscious dominance tactic at worst, a really poor idea for an affectation at best.

The only thing I know is that it is annoying.  Coming from a professional background outside of teaching, politeness becomes an artform, professionalism a requirement.  In teaching the rules are blurred and seemingly become moreso the higher you reach.

I have managed to stay out of school politics to some degree by being being predominantly in a classroom isolated from other teachers.  I've had to move into the building and it makes me more accessible and requires more contact with elements of the organisation than I am used to.  It will take time to adjust, knowing what people need to know and what can be just dealt with.

Even jurisdiction is a problem, knowing who, what and where is your responsibility and what should be done by others.  What do you do when things that need to be done are neglected by those that should be doing them?  Do you ignore it, act to fill a need or report it to get fixed (and to who?).

Given that no time is given to resolve anything (as TiC), I know there is little within the role I can do, other than ensure administrative tasks are done.   This of course means that staff training, monitoring of progress, curriculum development and other roles traditionally in the hands of a HOLA will be neglected at times of the year as my teaching load demands attention.

At least things have calmed down this week - my classes are planned, notes are done and assignments are ready.  From a teaching point of view it should all be good.  Let's hope there's not too much else going on for a little while.

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