Thursday, January 14, 2010

A week later

I have an in-depth appointment scheduled on the 25th and a general practitioner appointment scheduled for later today. Thank God the iron pills took away the muzzy-headed, going crazy feeling. Now I'm just normally tired.

Excel is stomping all over me and leaving bootprints. I'm not very good at formulas, and I thought I'd learn some. Turns out I'm supposed to know them already, silly me.

I'm learning a little more Spanish. I cleaned the bathroom. I totally failed my first week of Excel (probably need a tutor) And I've been held up as a great example of a difficult group member, even though I didn't do anything except answer a self-evaluation.

Truthfully? I'm not a good team member.

I've been trained to work on teams and if there's no pressure to play dominant dog, I'm a terrific second banana. But I'm also an introvert. Give me a problem and I'm good to go. They had this exercise last week--list all the things you like and don't like about working in groups--and out of the seven people sitting at my table, I filled the "What I hate about groups" side of my paper while everyone else was still scratching their heads, biting their pencils (I was the only one with a pen, which should have told me right then and there) and putting down Pollyanna stuff about how happy they were in groups.

I couldn't figure it out. Were they trying to score points? Were they a lot sneakier and Machiavellian than me, or simply better at taking "tests"? What was I doing wrong? Twenty people who love working in groups?

The self eval had things like, "Do you talk louder and more forcefully when you're talking about things you enjoy?" Uhm...yes? I actually do get a little louder and more forceful when I'm halfway interested in something. I try to hold it down, because not everyone's interested in character-theory or political systems in Singapore. I'm an adult. I know that. Part of growing up is learning when to let go.

I finally ended up in a group that formed around me and this other woman. She said, "You look fine. I'll stay with you." She's my age--sort of my bizzaro-Jodi. Happily babysitting her grand-kids for no reason I could figure out, going to school full-time--she's never met a group she didn't like, and she talked and talked and talked, and so did the guy on the other side of me. Nice, both of them, but I finally had to tell the kids at the other side of the table to join in the discussion and maybe that was wrong of me, but my God--these people are talkers.

I could just see the whole, "don't interrupt your elders" thing going on, and I wasn't even paying attention. I was nodding and smiling, smiling and nodding, making all the right comments at the right time, "Really? Wow." "That's so cool." and my all time favorite, "You did that? Wow..."

Then they passed around the eval-sheets and on a scale of 1-5, with five being the highest, I was a 3.5. Low, because I'd tried to give myself the benefit of the doubt. High because I'd tried to stay close to the truth. The teacher comes along and says, "Jodi. You're a difficult group member." And the whole time the guy next to me (macho, right?) is going, "hey? I'm a difficult group member." And the teacher continues, "What does this mean?" Assuming he was talking to me, I said, "I'll have to try harder."

But he wasn't talking to me, he was talking to the group. "Remember, when Jodi gets out of hand, you need to confront her. You can't let her go on to disrupt the group. Think of strategies to make sure she knows her place."

After I'd scraped my jaw off the floor, I said, "I'm trying really hard, and I haven't done anything."

Not that he listened, and people were starting to look. All my group mates (team members? Whatever they are) were staring at me like I'd just grown three heads and pulled out a hacksaw. So he goes back to the front of the class and says, "who in this room is a difficult group member?"

And...since, according to my behavioral science teacher, I'm eight variants from the norm, I raised my hand thinking there'd be at least a couple more people like me. But other than the guy next to me (still trying to be difficult, and failing because he's so damned nice) I was the only one.

People stared at me like I was Jack the Ripper. Nobody took the guy next to me seriously. What do I have? A sign plastered to my chest? I look like someones mother! I wasn't even wearing boots.

It was so unfair.

This is the second transferable to a 4 year college course I've taken. And the second time I've encountered teachers with all the tact of a shoelace. I can't believe I'm paying for this.


Jennifer Leeland said...

What an ass! I believe this might be a time to set aside the "Teacher/Student" norm and remember he's a person providing a SERVICE that you're PAYING FOR.
Perhaps you can ask him what behavioral science says about singling one person out with a "negative"? How is that a good teaching method?
I'm incensed on your behalf.
Gimme his email. I'll eviscerate him.

jodi said...

lol, Jen. That'd make me more of a difficult team member. If I fail, I get put on financial aid probation. *sigh*

I broke down (not in a break-down kind of way, but in a "finally" kind of way) and made an appt with a shrink. Thanks for letting me vent. I was thinking about it all day. :(

deanna said...

I'm incensed and angry also, at a system run by pompous asses who are very small people with shriveled ideas. Inside of you there's more reality than that teacher has probably been allowed to experience in years, if ever. I pity the imaginationless others in that classroom.

Hailey Edwards said...

"Remember, when Jodi gets out of hand, you need to confront her. You can't let her go on to disrupt the group. Think of strategies to make sure she knows her place."

I would have beat that man to death with his own shoe for saying that crap.

We don't all have to be able to work in groups to be efficient. Some of us aren't cut out to be "team members."

Hello? Groups have to have leaders or else they'd all just sit around staring at each other because it's the kind and wonderful thing to do without making an real progress, because that might be disruptive. Pfft

Oh, sorry, my voice might have risen a bit on that one. Let me tone that down a notch.

Jodi, you are perfect just as you are. Ignore him. What a jackarse.

jodi said...

Deanna, you and Hailey are wonderful, and just what I needed after a long day. :)

Thank you