Thursday, July 16, 2009

That old blog standby, bitching about work

I hate my job today.

How is that news? you wonder. Don't we all hate our jobs?

Well, I'm in a minority in that I love what I do. I'm a preschool teacher, and I mostly adore that. Coming up with things for my kids to do, seeing the light bulb go on when they finally get a new concept, the stumbling first letters, the early socialization...I love it all. I can say with all honesty that I love every child in my class. Even the ones who are bad, or loud, or slow, or have attitudes like a Jerry Springer guest. And, little known fact, last year, when my first class graduated, I cried. This is one of the few jobs I've ever had where I felt like I made a difference, where I felt like I had a calling, not just a money maker.

But I hate the school.

Actually, not even that. See, I love the school in theory. We're a non-profit, we're affordable, and every teacher there...with one glaring exception...loves the hell out of the kids and wants only what's best for them. The staff is fairly close knit, and we tend to stay around awhile.

But then there's the administration.

My boss is...*sigh.* I'm not even sure where to start on that. I believe that she once was great at her job. But I think she's burnt out on dealing with it all. And, quite frankly, I'm not sure she should have been honed for managerial duties anyways. She's fantastic at schmoozing the parents, at calming down the pissed off. But she fails to see all the potential in her staff. She barely knows us at all, and she gets so caught up in making us fit into the preconceived notions that she has of us that she loses the forest for the trees. To be all cliched.

She gets so focused on what everyone else wants that she forgets the staff entirely. Let me give you an example. We're having a fundraiser. It has a silent auction. Every room is having something in this silent auction. The proceeds from this go entirely to the room for the wish list. Fantastic idea, grade A, seriously. Love it. Except, none of the rooms were given any input into the baskets at all. We have no idea what will be in them. And we're the ones who interact with the kids and parents enough that we could have had seriously valuable ideas that could have generated fantastic revenue. And, the fundraiser is on a day the school isn't open. The administration wants us to work it. No big deal, I legitimately want to see the place succeed because I believe in the mission. However, instead of *asking* us, we were told we were *expected* to be there. Without pay. For five hours. Potentially plus clean up.

It's all about respect, and we simply don't get it. If a parent complains about anything, no matter how ridiculous, we're expected to comply by doing whatever it takes to make that parent happy. For instance:

One of my more vocal parents complained that the picture above was entirely too suggestive, and told my boss that I should remove it. Now, look closely,'s a kiss. A closed mouthed kiss. All it suggests is that I like my boyfriend. It doesn't show nudity, we're not groping each other, not slipping tongues. My two year old has seen this picture often. And, it's not like it was posted on a wall in poster format. It was a 4x6, framed, behind my desk, on a shelf. Not even at a child's eye level. But, since a single parent complained about how ridiculously sexual and suggestive in nature it is (/sarcasm) I had to remove it. I wonder, if I had had a wedding picture up, like the "you may kiss the bride" variety...would that have been as offensive?

Other things that parents have found offensive that we as a staff we're supposed to change:
*length of shorts
*variety of clothes
*music listened to during nap time
*too many calls home when a child was running a 101 degree fever for several days in a row
*telling a child not to hum at the lunch table
*not giving the child a choice in everything that they do
*the blind in a room not going completely up
*too much time outside
*too little time outside
and it goes on and on. But if a parent says it, it must be true, and we should all just hop to fixing it. And while I genuinely like most of the parents, some are just those people, you know? The ones that you can't ever please. Ever.

We also get literally no credit for going above and beyond. Stay late, come in early, pitch in, do extra...sure. Go ahead. But expect no recognition whatsoever, not even a "hey, thanks!" It's pretty stupid. None of us needs constant praise, but a little recognition occasionally would be pretty sweet, you know? I mean, on any given day, we deal with screaming, crying, hitting, biting, complaining, whining, clinging, poop, pee, vomit, drool, spit, blood, and we do it for way, way less money than we deserve. We get a little vacation time and some paid holidays. No insurance, not a lot of respect...yeah. A little "great job!" here and there might help offset that a little.

I could go on, but I sound whiny even to myself now. I've vented, I'm moving on, and my boyfriend is tutting over the fact that I'm virtually ignoring him (love you, honey!) Peace out, homefries.

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