Today we had a meeting at Primary Job (the one with the crazy and disorganized boss) in which we were supposed to be to decide our schedules for the next semester.
But of course, my boss didn't bring the most important thing: a list of all the classes at the school! Instead, he spent most of the meeting (as per usual) complaining about how the school is so disorganized and how we teachers are inconsistent and he's really "counting on us" (without telling us what he needs, exactly) and la de da. Then he went around the room to ask us what we thought the school needed to be better.
The conversation was something like this:
Teacher 1 (a ditzy older lady with terrible English, and a total suck up): Well, sir, you know best. Whatever you want us to do, we're here for you!
Teacher 2 (a nice motherly lady who lived in the US for a long time and who always translates meetings for me when there's too much Portuguese): Maybe you could stop teaching so many classes so that you can focus more on administrative things...?
Boss: Yeah, I should. I need to give you all my classes and just focus on bringing in more students, making more money. (He has said this at every meeting for the last 6 months.) Danielle?
...I proceeded to say everything I honestly thought. I tried to be polite and use euphemisms at first, but after awhile I mostly gave up. I explained that I could only speak for myself, but that I assumed that it was true for the other teachers too: none of us want to work at 2 schools; none of us want to change or schedules-- we want to be loyal and we want to help the school grow, but we don't have any motivation to be loyal when the boss isn't loyal to us. He makes us promises that he doesn't keep; he takes away classes; he doesn't pay us when students don't show up; he gives us erratic schedules instead of taking the time to condense them, etc. To sound a little nicer, I explained that we all know that the boss is overwhelmed and overworked, but, in the end, we have to pay our bills, too.
Well. The room got quiet. The suck up teacher pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows. The new teacher (whose face is comforting because of its resemblance to Joanna Newsom's) looked a little scared. The motherly teacher and the secretary were trying to hold back smiles. We waited for my boss to react to my candor.
"I guess I really needed to hear that," he said. "I've really gotten lost these last few months. I have so many things for you to do. I want to involve you teachers more."
"So make a list," I said, "of everything you do in a week. Write down all of your responsibilities, plus things you want to see, like a grading system or keeping track of attendance. Decide what you still need to do yourself, and then delegate the rest."
"That's good, that's good. I never thought to do that," he said.
"But then you need to decide how many hours you want us to spend on each task each week, and you need to compensate us for the work. We have no motivation to develop grading systems for you if you're not going to pay us. We could be using that time to teach at other schools."
"I should pay you if you're doing that," he said incredulously, as if it was his frist time to consider that idea. "you are working."
We waited for the little mouse to keep running on the wheel in the boss's head.
"This is going to make my wife so happy," he said. "She's been so upset with me lately because I've been working so much. But, you know, I've always been a teacher, and not a businessman. A lot of this is new for me." I couldn't believe he would admit something like that.
"So, okay. This weekend then. I'll make my list. And next week-- boom boom boom-- sharing the responsibilities! It's gonna be really nice."
I had to leave the meeting then, because I had to start my class. Afterwards, the boss came into my room as I was putting away the listening materials and cleaning the board. I decided to save/set the stage for the conversation by apologizing. I said sorry if he thought I was too strong during the meeting (choosing to describe myself as "strong" because I didn't think I would have much luck with words like "crass" or "brazen" or even "forward"). His reaction surprised me. He said that he gets frustrated when the other teachers just go along with whatever he says, because they're saying that they want leadership roles but never give him ideas and are never honest with him. We acknowledged that it was largely cultural, but he said he needed it nonetheless. But then he started up with all of his promises again, how I should quit the other school because he wants to make a bigger role for me at his school, la de da.
Since he wasn't mad at me or anything, I kept up with the niceities, and just said, "that sounds great! So, you tell me when you have a schedule for me, and then I'll quit the other job."
So do you guys think he'll change? Do you think he'll actually make that list? Vote!