Thursday, April 8, 2010

Your pal, the principal

Have you ever had one of those really awkward interactions with your boss? The kind where you're just not sure if your screwed up and you should really apologize, or if you just did something totally awesome?

No? Oh. It must just be me. Well let me tell you a little bit more about what it's like to live in the world of me. In my world, I'm always doing and saying things that get myself into varying degrees of awkward situations.

My first awkward moment with my pal, the principal, happened earlier this year. She had recommended a song to me during our meeting about spring sing and when I tried it out one of the teachers thought it was so weird she ran to give the principal a hard time about recommending it to me. This was the kind of teacher who is young enough to get away with complaining without sounding washed out but tenured enough to give the principal a really hard time about anything. She's the kind of teacher that I act like even though I am still pre-job.

Well then, in the middle of my class, the principal came and claimed she had never heard of that song in her life. Our conversation, in front of the other teacher and all the kids, went something like this:

Where did you find that song?
Huh? It was the song I wrote down in our meeting, that you recommended. 
Why would I recommend a song I have never heard of? (laughing)
Why would I write down a song I have never heard of? (laughing, but REALLY embarrassed)

We both laughed but I think we both found it really awkward and still blame the other person. Also in case you're curious that weird song got nixed then and there.

So anyways, this week I started giving extra recorder lessons to one of my fourth grade classes. The how and why is another story. But it's true, I am teaching remedial recorders. Remember how much I love recorders? Well then you understand how crazy it is that it was actually my idea to give extra recorder time.

On the first day, the teacher had completely forgotten about our planned extra recorder time and the kids went completely nuts when they saw me. And then you know who else was in the room? You guessed it. Our pal. The principal. I never did figure out why she was there but I think she was going to do an observation. So yes, she saw the kids completely utterly out of control. Yikes. Classroom management, minus two.

My lesson went off ok. The principal did not stay to watch. At lunch though, my pal, the principal, cornered me and asked me whose idea it was to have recorders at that time. She also wanted to know if that was a pre-planned thing or did I just show up out of the blue? Her tone was, in my impression, fairly accusatory. Oh lord, I thought, I am in so much trouble. I was CONVINCED I was in trouble for not running the idea by her first. Also I was convinced I was busted for using my prep time for recorder time and for interrupting her observation AND for using the classroom for recorders instead of the MPR.

I launched into a quick explanation about differentiation, said I should have emailed to confirm the time, etc. but before I could get more than two sentences in, my pal, the principal, interrupted to say, "Great, I love it, love it!" and briskly walk away. Oh crap, she was trying to compliment me and I just made all the excuses for why it was so terrible!

So... that was awkward. She loved it? Yay? Did the other teacher get in trouble? Does the think I'm a complete idiot for not accepting a compliment from her boss? Does she think I'm insane for trying to differentiate something like recorders? Do you think I'm crazy?

I will probably be over analyzing my interactions with my pal for the next several months. When I don't find a job in the fall, I'll blame the dinner party I went to where I didn't drink wine when everyone else was completely sloshed. Or I can blame the day she came in pretending to look for something in the chair closet and I was letting the kids lay on the stage instead of sit up on the steps. Or I can blame the day I tried to do something good with remedial recorders and instead I just stepped on everyone's toes, put my own foot in my mouth, and came home and banged my head on the wall.

Tell me, please, that someone else out there goes through every interaction they ever have with their boss with a fine toothed comb? Especially if their boss is currently writing them a letter of recommendation?




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