So I’m on week 2 of my new job and week 1 of being actually on campus at the University. I have to say, I’m a little confused by all of it. Each meeting just raises more questions than it answers and I feel like I have absolutely no idea what exactly I’m supposed to do once students show up a week from Monday.
I’ve been living very quietly for the most part (although the foursome I had last weekend wouldn’t seem to indicate that to most people) mainly because I’m trying to make sure that I’m ready once school gets going. I’m trying to get into the groove.
I think the kind of displacement I have is because I’m not an “English” teacher, I’m a “foreign language teacher”. I’m sandwiched between a French and a Japanese teacher. Plus there are some German, Spanish and Mandarin teachers. I’m just a cog in a much larger wheel, and all of the English teachers so far are driving me absolutely crazy.
Astonishingly, I’m one of the youngest teachers here… I think only the other new hire is younger than I am and possibly the Spanish/English teacher. Ironically, they are both from parts of California that I know. The new guy is from just outside of LA and the Spanish/English teacher is from just outside San Francisco. They each know where I am from in different ways, but it’s strange having familiarity with someone.
Another particular quirk is that all of the teachers are all men. And I don’t just mean “men”, they’re kind of “bros”, which of course means I’m having a great time (sarcasm). The French teachers are somewhat exempt from this, but so far they have not revealed themselves to be the friendly sort of French people (it’s still the rule rather than the exception that I get along with the French more here, but for some reason, I don’t think tempting that fate at work would be particularly helpful).
So I’m just kind of on my own. The teacher from the Bay Area outside of San Francisco got into a fight the other day with the Filipino English teacher who is also from the Bay. Look, I hate know-it-alls, and I am perfectly aware of the fact that I am a know-it-all which is why I generally try to stamp out any inclinations I have to speak when I’m in group situations. This guy could learn that lesson. He always has to talk. There are plenty of people who think I’m quite talkative, but there are nearly twice as many people whom I’ve known longer who probably have no idea what my voice is like.
Usually, when I’m out in Thailand, most of these behaviors, which have been shaped by abuse, bullying and insecurity, don’t win out… however, I’m at work. And work environments are ones that can sour quickly, especially with so many emotional heterosexual men flitting about. So I’m following my instincts and keeping everyone at bay for now.