My coteacher went to the supervisor to inform him that I may be sick and that I was slacking off by using my cellphone. She returned to our classroom and said that the supervisor wanted to see me. This was the start of several interactions with that sharply dressed (at least on the first day and presumably last day) guy.
Upon entering the staffroom, he asked me if I was sick. I replied affirmatively. He then asked me if I had put my head down. Again, I replied affirmatively. However, I quickly became defensive as I began to sense the reason I had been called to the staffroom. He had summoned me to the staffroom to lecture me about what a ‘good’ teacher should do in the classroom. I was also taken aback when he mentioned that he knew and understood my teaching style and philosophy (even without ever having watched me teach) let alone the fact that we had only seen each other for the first time seven days prior. Unbelievable.
Furthermore, he went on to ask me if I used my cellphone in class. His tone at this point was so demeaning that I was shocked and became angry. I raised my voice and told him that I was physically sick and that I needed to rest. I also became even angrier when I realized how this entire situation could have played out. For starters, the Korean university student (supposedly my co-teacher) should have walked over to me and asked if I was sick. Then, she would have known for herself and perhaps could have helped me. My ‘coteacher’ has four years of experience at these camps. I would expect her to know what to do or say to a teacher who is physically sick. Even though I am a teacher, I didn’t know where to go. I had only visited the city for the first time one week ago, and I thought the nearest hospital was 20 minutes away.
I immediately became defensive when he asked about the cellphone because I had been warned not to have a cellphone/use a cellphone/be seen with a cellphone by my university students regardless of useful those darn gadgets may be. I wondered how I could have fallen back into my old habit when I knew the severity of the punishment that I had received for the same infraction in the past. Oh! I remember, this isn’t a university class, and I am teaching on my vacation. This is also a winter camp where the dress code is far more relaxed and the atmosphere is too. Perhaps I thought what with the relaxed nature of things I had more freedom too. I was wrong.
Finally, the supervisor took me outside to explain the situation to me in a freer environment. That environment wouldn’t be so free that either I or he could use a cellphone. Instead that envionment, outside, would be ‘free’ for him to smoke. He did. I listened. I explained. He feigned empathy.