Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Clearing The Deck

I have gotten lazy with too many things over the last few months. Reading, exercise, writing this blog. I have put maintaining healthy eating habits or any variety of other positive options to the side. Instead, there has been too much falling down the YouTube rabbit hole, watching and reading about travel destinations (not a horrible option) and wasting precious time. What has happened you ask? I have let work effect my life choices. As the principal at CTIS Wari, I am consumed with managing people and their selfish petty bullshit instead of enjoying my days terrorizing children. 

Internally I have given myself shit quite often over the past few months. I have allowed myself, and my ego, to return to the place I fought so hard to get away from when I left Corporate Canada. Ego, you are a bastard. Who does not want to be in charge? Who does not want extra income? Who does not want to take the lead and create a functional and happy team? Who does not want people to come to you for guidance, support and help?  This guy – that is who. I have been there, done that and burned the T-shirt.

I will not get into specifics but when it comes to work, no matter what industry, people are basically, childish shitheads. I was allowing all the crap to seep into my psyche and it was wearing me out. Yesterday I put a stop to it. I had a team meeting, including the school CEO and VP by my side for a show of solidarity. I had to announce the implementation of a few new rules, including NO mobile phones in the classroom. You would think that I was taking away the oxygen that people were breathing. Again, specifics aside, we have smart TVs with Blue Tooth keyboards and strong Wi-Fi. Laptops are still mandatory, so you see, teachers are still “wired up” but the absolute dependency on having a mobile device near you at all times is pathetic. Let me say that again. The absolute dependency on having a mobile device near you at all times is Fucking Pathetic. Eyes glazed over in confusion and fear. Remember, these are not teenagers. These are grown ass adults and a few are over 50 years old.

It was going to be a very calm day of reckoning so I finished the meeting with a variation of a speech that I have used in the past. To paraphrase. We are implementing new well thought out policies. These are non-negotiable. Many teachers have not wanted to create lesson plans or prepare weekly tests and assessments. Too many of you are staring at your phones when the students are doing work instead of offering assistance. You are complaining that the students are difficult to work with, that the Wi-Fi is not fast enough and that you have to climb three flights of stairs to get to some classes. The van ride is too long, lunch is too short and the AC is not strong enough. These are just a few of the complaints you have. Guys, here is the deal. I need all of you. 

However, if any of you feel that we are asking you to do things that are unreasonable, if you are just going through the motions until something better comes along or are simply unhappy you should decide if you want to be here or not.  You have the weekend to ponder what you want to do. If you enter this school, thinking this is all about you then you have chosen the wrong profession and need to think about a different career. You are teachers. This is about the group of kids that come here every day. They trust us, look to us and want to learn from us. This is about them.

If you want to be here, great, we can move forward. If not, I will reluctantly but without judgement, accept your resignation letter on Sunday morning.

To say it was unexpected was one thing but the message was crystal clear. I did not feel victorious, dictatorial or punishing. I did feel a strange calming sensation that had escaped me over the past month or so. That same feeling that had empowered me to get out into the world, take chances and challenge myself. Is my situation at school permanent? Absolutely not. Issues will arise because that is the reality of the environment of working at a school. However, my position is firmly entrenched and supported. I am not a babysitter.

Last night a few of us went out for beer at the Blue Recreation Centre. An absolute dive near my house that tries to be a fancy club, but the beer is cheap. This morning I woke up feeling the best I had felt in a while. Work was taking its toll on me, mentally, physically and emotionally. I knew it. Shit we all know it when it does but most of the time we let it fester. Today I am feeling liberated and will fight the good fight to prevent it from happening again.

Why the long diary type message. Because today I am feeling empowered to get off my ass and get back to doing what motivates me. I am heading to Thailand in a week to learn to dive. Two weeks of fun and maybe a little bit of debauchery in Pattaya and Bangkok. Next up is planning my three-week holiday in December. I am choosing between Sri Lanka and Kurdistan Iraq and Oman. Living in Dhaka has its daily challenges. Living in Bangladesh is an excellent geographical location and jump off point for so many other countries.

Accepting the position as Principal at CTIS Wari was a good decision for me. Remembering how to manage people brought me back to reality. If you are going to be a leader, then you must be confident in what you are doing and lead. You will sleep better at night. In addition, now I can spell principal correctly, not principle..

Principal Ken has arrived!