The Temp

This weekend I went out with some coworkers, and I asked one of them if she'd heard any buzz about me in the English department as the newbie since I sometimes feel a bit invisible. I was seeking positive or constructive feedback, but she said no, there was no buzz. In fact, she said, everyone's so worried about what's going to happen to his/her job next year that they just view me as "the teacher who's not going to get her job back next year." Or that I'm viewed almost as "a student teacher": here now, gone tomorrow.

This comment was a bit brutal. Is it the stigma of being "temporary" that makes me so easily dismissed or is it something lacking in my work/work ethic? (I think I'm doing a stellar job for coming in at the middle of the year and teaching four courses and replacing the most popular teacher in the school and being liked by my students! Boo yah!--That was a little self-encouragement that sometimes I forget to give myself. It's easy for me to take to heart unintended criticism.)

But I wonder how people who profess to the desire to build community and solidarity at this time can be so dismissive of anyone. Rather than take this personally, I have to consider that in their eyes, I won't be around long, so what's the point in building a relationship? I understand that. I get that. I will try not to be like that, though, and to always make others feel welcome, wanted, and appreciated for their time, effort, and hard work. Especially when they are most obviously working hard.

As for that particular crew, a combination of social studies and English teachers from a couple of schools, who cares: I didn't feel like I belonged with their crowd. Several of them were quite friendly, smart, witty, but overall, I got this feeling that they were a pretentious group, proud of themselves for their ability to use erudite lexicon and several of them greeted me with all the warmth of an arctic blast. Hot air and cold air: I'd rather have fresh air.

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