I think one of the hardest feelings I have ever had to deal with is when I have absolutely no control over a situation. I struggle with this in so many aspects of my life. I conceptually understand the reality of being at my level in my career and also my role within my family, however, wrestling with this feeling is so difficult for me.
Currently I am dealing with a very difficult work situation in which my hands are literally tied. The only thing I can do is wait for directive by my supervisors and hope for the best outcome. To clarify, for me, not going to work and waiting for other people to resolve a conflict for me is one of the most agonizing ways I could ever think of to pass time. I am struggling hard and spiraling in a mind-numbing review of every possible outcome while naturally, for me, ruminating on the worst of all these outcomes which would be me getting fired and not being able to terminate with the kids I have been working with all year.
I’ve had a rough go of it, but when I tell you that I have just found myself in very unlucky and unfavorable positions that is the truth. I was discriminated against and when I filed a complaint my last agency closed ranks and backed me into a corner. I had no choice other than to leave way earlier than I anticipated at less than a year with the agency, which makes me appear flighty. There was no way I could be happy there, but now, even though I have found an agency I love, I am in a situation in which I have absolutely no recourse. I am stuck at the bottom of a large hierarchy of people who are handling things and can do absolutely nothing about it. I made a very small, generally dumb mistake, I take ownership of it, but the reaction by the administration of the school that I work is completely out of proportion with what I did. I wish there was some magic wand that could be waved over this situation or possibly even a time machine to take me back, but I’m not sure even if there was I would feel differently than I do now.
I believe the voices of the kids I work with are important and should be heard. I also don’t think that curse words are necessarily bad things – I mean come on, we all curse. It is when curses become put downs toward another person that they become aggressive and wrong. I acknowledge that this is not the societal view and that most adults would rather ignore the reality that teens use curses, slang, and put-downs all the time, but I have never been one to ignore reality. So when the time came to display little pieces of art that students made regarding names they have been called as a way to pledge against using those names and acknowledging that they are more than just what others label them I jumped at the opportunity to display them proudly. They were not created in a vacuum. This artwork was created with specific intention and processing as a group of how these labels affect each and every one of us. The strength each student displayed in writing it down and acknowledging their own worth is incredible and should be celebrated. Unfortunately, it was met with contention and torn down, and I was penalized for displaying it in the first place.
Although I can conceptually understand discomfort with the display I in no way can acknowledge that it is okay to rip it off the walls. Conversations could have been had and no one’s artwork had to be damaged in the process. So as I sit here, unable to return to my site, I feel angry and frustrated. I feel like I am being ousted and made to feel inferior and incompetent by the school administration. This feeling is being further strengthened every moment that I am not allowed to return to my job. Further, I feel as though it opens up to a larger topic of censorship in schools and how it impacts the development of students. Children need freedom and space to express themselves without self-censor. I remember while doing these activities the sense of relief students described when I told them it could be anything, they could curse, they could draw, and that I encouraged them to pull from their own experiences. It was like I was releasing them from chains which allowed them to reach deeper within themselves for those connectors which will, hopefully, open them to greater change and positive growth — now if only that were understood by the higher ups in the school.
So when faced with this situation where I cannot respond with anything I am trying to figure out how I can manage it a bit better and actually be productive despite being out of the school. This has helped, writing things down has always been something I could do to help ease uncomfortable feelings, but I need more. I am open to suggestions, any suggestion really. Please. Anything at all because at this point, from my position, it is all looking quite bleak.