There was no need for my alarm clock this morning. I awoke at 3:30 a.m., eyes wide open and brain already whirling around at full speed. I knew instantly that I was not going to go back to sleep.
Which is rather unfortunate as today is my day to "shine."
You would not be wrong to suspect there was a bit of sarcasm in that last statement. A few weeks ago, the staff at my school was informed that district personnel would be visiting our school today. They were going to form teams that would go into classrooms for ten-minute observations. It was our chance to shine as a school.
I don't shine.
I have never been the type of person to call attention to myself. I don't crave the spotlight. So, when the call for volunteers went out, I did not answer. Besides my natural aversion to public performances, I had more than enough stress in my life at the moment. My husband had had knee surgery, my two boys were both sick, and my brother and sisters and I had just moved our mother into an assisted living facility near me. This was on top of the normal stresses of being a wife and mother with a full-time job and a class that sucks the life out of me on a daily basis. No, the added stress of having strangers come in and watch and judge me was just a bit more than I could handle. Honestly, I was stretched as thin as I could go and hanging on by that proverbial thread. I was sure one more thing would make me snap, and I didn't really want to be held responsible for the ensuing disaster.
So, you might wonder, how did this end up being my day to shine?
Last Friday at 4:30 p.m. an email was sent out to staff with the final schedule for the district's visit. And surprise, surprise, my name was on it. What? Had I suffered a seizure that was misconstrued as an eagerly raised hand? Had I sent an email in my sleep demanding that my principal pick me?
Nope. Nothing of the sort had occurred. It had just been decided that I would participate whether I wanted to or not. Evidently, I didn't even merit advance warning.
Surprised? Yes. Shocked? No. I couldn't even muster up the energy to be mad about the situation. I understood that my boss was in a difficult position. He had a couple dozen district personnel coming to see his teachers put on a show and his cast was decidedly lacking. He had no other choice but to draft additional performers.
My objection was the way in which it was handled. When did I become such a nonentity that one didn't even need to have a conversation with me when decisions about my life were made? Where had professional courtesy disappeared to? Was I really thought so little of?
And it put me in an awkward position. In addition to avoiding the spotlight, I also avoid conflict whenever possible. But what I don't do is allow people to walk all over me. Therein lay my dilemma. This was my boss and confronting him put me in danger of being branded a bitch. All weekend I thought about what I would say. I was determined not to let this go but to deal with it head-on.
Yesterday, I did have a chance to speak my mind to my principal. I have no delusions that my words made any real impact. But my words were not for him. They were for me. They were my affirmation that I am deserving of respect and that I will not tolerate anything less. I am not a fighter by nature, but I will stand up for the things I believe in. And if that makes me a bitch, then so be it.
So, today I will have a team of two or three people, most likely individuals who really don't know anything about teaching or life in the classroom, come into my room for ten minutes and determine . . . I don't really know what they will determine. It doesn't actually matter. I won't be putting on a show for them. Instead, I will be doing what I always try to do: I will be doing the best I can for the students in my room. Maybe in those few minutes I will shine. Maybe I won't. In the end, I will let my students be the judge of that.