Monday, May 31, 2010

Reflection Room

I am planning my summer vacation travels. Booking airplane flights and reserving car rentals has me in a dizzy. But I can manage it! Certainly I hope my wallet will end up okay.

Today as I was trying to find out whether the San Francisco airport has a service where you can store your luggage in between traveling I found something quite peculiar.

It is a reflection room:

Berman Reflection Room

The Berman Reflection Room provides a center for quiet self-reflection and meditation. 
International Terminal, Main Hall, pre-security
hours: daily, 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
With the hustle and bustle of traveling this kind of space makes sense to have at an airport. I wonder if people know about it and use it. But maybe it is more of a memorial than a place to zone out.

This reflection room is dedicated to
HENRY E. BERMAN
President of the San Francisco Airport Commission
For his vision of the airport, his love of San Francisco, and his dedication to public service having served over 25 years on City and County of San Francisco boards and commissions.
I found this tweet:
at sfo berman reflection room. it's a super quiet room with a great view. awesome! #sfo
Doesn't seem like it is too hard to get to after you arrive, so I might try and check it out.
Location note: The GPS location is for the BART San Francisco International Airport Station. The reflection room is immediately inside the airport from the station on the left hand side.

Speaking of reflecting I thought I would take the time to give a little update on work. Things have finally petered down into a workable situation. Meaning I am not being attacked left and right anymore. Since those last disasters (back in late March - April) things have been steady. I have noticed that I am most vulnerable right before my period. PMS does a number on my ability to keep calm and collected. So when this time comes around I try extra hard to control myself and wear the "I like everyone" costume. Speaking of which, I am encountering that struggle today! Already I had a hiccup this morning with Mrs. K, which I thought was allright. Just spoke in a kind of direct tone to her. Then after lunch, out of no-where, the Princess (youngest coteacher) said to me:

Princes: "Joy today I think you made Mrs. K sad. I saw her face this morning and she looked upset. I care a lot about her and you should try not to make her upset."
Me: "Really, I didn't know she was upset."
Princess: "Yes she looks that way. And now she is not in the room. Maybe she is uncomfortable here."
Me: "No, she left the room because her computer has a virus (true) and I think she is looking for help." 
Priya: (other Foreign teacher) "Yea she has been upset lately about her computer."
Princess: "Really, hmmmm" (She makes a high-pitched hmm sound. Have you ever seen the Dark Crystal? Remember the bad characters that sucked the life outta the gelphlings. She sounds like them.
Me: "Well ok. I will do that and try to not make her upset. Maybe you should talk to her." 

And she went back to doing something else. Meanwhile I grabbed my stuff and headed to the next class I had to teach. I made sure to catch up with Mrs. K and apologize for this morning and tell her I "really care about her." Turns out she didn't even know why I was doing that and so I explained that the Princess seemed concerned about her. We hugged and all was right with the world.

Coming back from class I wanted to tell the Princess that things are okay between me and Mrs.K. But she was not here. I sent a lovely little text message to her computer citing that things are okay and that anytime she has a "problem" she can come and talk with me.

Let's just say I am glad I put this out before it blew up. 

Besides that crap I have been dealing with a little junk from "#2" coteacher. This is the middle aged one that is between the oldest and the youngest. I teach with her once a week. She coteaches with me so differently from Mrs.K that things were starting to bother me. 

For example, when #2 and I teach together she usually just stands in the back and paces around giving Korean translation now and then. But with Mrs. K she is always in the front or middle of the class giving lot's of translation (almost too much) and helps with the computer. Basically more real "coteaching". I probably should of handled this more gently, but last week I spilled the beans like this.
Walking to class
Me: Do you always stand in the back of class in Priya's classes? (The other foreign teacher ...they teach 3rd grade.)
#2: No....the 3rd graders have some song or role-play we do. (That sounded puzzling since the 4th graders do the same crap)
Me: Oh, I was just wondering. 
#2: If you want me to come up to the front I can.
Me: No I am fine, really. If I need you I will call you.

And of course I thought everything was fine after that conversation but I was wrong. It turned out she took that comment personally. I found this out after lunch when we were sitting around the table for tea-time. I mentioned stuff about North Korea to start a conversation but she didn't seem interested. Then I mentioned how it's okay if she is in the back of the classroom. She said, "You just think I do nothing back there. But I am helping the students...." I said: "No, no that is not what I meant. I know you do stuff back there. Just your coteaching style is different from Mrs. K." But she didn't really get it, got up and went back to her desk. 

I didn't dig into it anymore with her and let the powers of time take care of things. Once again they are so sensitive that work-related issues such as coteaching-styles can't really be brought up without someone's feelings on the line. However, if I were approached about my teaching style and took it personally I would be called out for overreacting. 

And so this leads me back to reflection. I do a lot of time reflecting on all this trying to figure out why and what I can do to make things better or at least tolerable. I end up worrying about what will happen when it is contract review time, and my mind spirals off. 

I know I am not perfect and make little mistakes along the way, so all I am trying to do is not make them blow-up like before. It is a fact that I cannot change their opinion of me by defending myself or talking to them about these issues. 

In a perfect world we would have monthly meetings to talk about these things and share our ideas on teaching and coteaching. But that has never happened here, and yes I have suggested it. 

After the summer break and when the new semester starts Mrs. K will be gone. Also the Princess may be whisked away by taking a missionary trip somewhere. The replacements have already been called (a male teacher and an ahjumma at the school). Both who are pretty cool. But #2 is going to be here the longest and so I know that despite how crazy she makes me I gotta play like everything is cool. 

That is work for you in a nut-shell. Thankfully planning for summer camp and my vacation has kept me busy. Still, I hope to get through this teaching year with no more craziness despite that all the crap that is happening around me makes me feel nuts.

Reflection room where are you?!!?

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