This is a long procrastinated post that I have entrusted myself to undertake long time ago. The main purpose is to remind myself what I dislike about teaching and to serve as a reminder if I ever think of joining teaching again.
Here it goes.
SWC, also known as Staff Welfare Committee, exists in many schools, if not all. As the name suggests, it is meant to promote the welfare of teaching and non-teaching staff in the school. The SWC people are usually the messenger to bring good news (such as installation of an OSIM massage chair, staff recognition day, etc) to the staff. Most often than not, these initiatives are warmly received by the staff.
I could not fathom why sometimes, some schools, in the name of welfare, would come out with initiatives that are not only welcomed by their staff, but seen as chores to many.
School A SWC introduced a Staff Workout Day on a School Term Monday afternoon (after class, of course) for all its staff members to walk from the school to Mount Z. To make sure all staff benefit from this healthy initiative, the school made it mandatory for everybody to join. You have to cancel your remedial, CCA, meeting, etc. if you have arranged anything in this afternoon, because, you gotta get your butt out of your office chair and be healthy! From the foot of Mount Z, everybody can build rapport with one another while panting and sweating walking up the mountain. What a lovely way to start the week!
The principal of School B was fuming when she learnt of the low staff participation rate in the health and fitness activities organized by the SWC. During one staff meeting, she chided the teachers for not showing support to the school for such good initiatives and ranted on how teachers do not lead a healthy lifestyle despite the many programmes organized and invested by the school. She was so convincing that everybody thought anyhow who had the courage to disagree with her would be seen as ingrates.
The two examples above are 100% authentic cases and I had the privilege of undergoing one of them during my not-so-long teaching stint. Cowardly as I was (and still am), I saw no point in telling me what activity to do, to keep myself healthy. If I like jogging, I will; if I like tennis, I will find a friend to play with me. But, why ask me to do something, in the name of my welfare? And why blame me, if I choose not to go for these activities?
I have many many questions in my mind. When I was a teacher, I could only resort to passive protest, like falling sick, but this is definitely not the best way to confront this situation. What I wanted from the school is, as far as STAFF welfare is concerned, listen to your staff, know what they want and encourage them. Having to take attendance on a staff welfare event like this will not score any point in your staff well-being.
Oh, yes, maybe, maybe a 100% attendance for a Sungei Buloh trekking trip will help in the school’s report when they vie for the Best Practice in Staff Well-being Award!
After a long long retropection and self-analysis, I conclude that there are some 2 characteristics when the disease 发作. They are:
when confrontation is involved
when I have to turn down somebody/something
To name a few incidents:
to decline prospective job offers
to decline harrassment from facial/spa sales assistants
to decline meeting up with people that I dislike
to decline talking to parents who didn't make appointments during PTM
to signal to someone that I do not wish to talk to him/her
I find it so so so ridiculous that, the people whom I can't say no to are mostly the people who are not close to me or whom I am not afraid to offend. Shouldn't it be easier since being direct to these people means saving me from more trouble? There is this inexplicable fear in me that made me unable to decline without feeling guilty.
Normally, I would just succumb to their requests, but in cases where I really cannot accept whatever they offer, I would always come out with many lousy excuses:
No money (well, this can be true sometimes)
handphone not working
attending to some "domestic affairs"
i was overseas
Sometimes I was so afraid to tell these people directly that, I would ask my friend to help me write an email or answer the phone. What a coward!
Seriously I really wonder why I am behaving like this and I really really hate it!!!