Watching But Not Listening

The company I work for has been pretty good to me but for some reason the people who work in the office won’t listen to a word I say.

For example, for several years we were blessed with being left alone and then one day the staff in charge of us announced they wanted to start doing classroom observations. I emphasized that they were welcome any time (well, not really, but that’s what I said) as long as they didn’t come at the end of June when we were busy finishing projects and making exams and going slightly mad.

Then, last year, things got strange: the observers came unannounced (an ambush observation) and they came on the last Friday in June, only a couple days before exams started. We were in the middle of filming projects with our students and it was the worst possible time to be there as I’d have to be out of the classroom while most of my students stayed behind.

When I saw the observers I said, in the most diplomatic manner possible “What the hell are you guys doing here?” Eventually I invited them to the filming room to watch a couple projects being filmed and peace was made.

When they observed later in the year, they called and warned me and I was much more diplomatic. No. Really.

Then, this year, before school started, one of the observers asked me what the best days to observe were. I held back the response on the tip of my tongue (when hell freezes over) and instead suggested the beginning of June as to come any later would mean they would merely see almost exactly the same class they’d seen before (me filming students as they did a project).

After all this I got a call explaining they’d be coming next week, which is the last full week before exams start. The conversation I had with them went something like this:

Them: We want to observe would the end of June be better or should we wait until next term?
Me:      Late September, early October would be better.
Them: So we’ll see you at the end of June then?

Now the optimist in me (as small and weak and naive as he is) believes that they are REALLY busy and this was ABSOLUTELY the ONLY time they could observe. The pessimist/realist in me thinks this is a compliance test and/or a way to show they are in charge of us and the school where I work.

I’ve tried to explain that these late June visits annoy the Japanese staff as well, but I have better luck getting through to our teenage daughter than I do the company I work for.

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