The thing about owning a small business is you do the dishes meaning you do everything. There is no dishwasher, garbage taker outer, cleaner, baker, decorator, merchandiser, publicizer, etc. Tag…you are it. So the responsibility is yours. Reminds me of my first couple of months in the public school system in Abu Dhabi. I was placed in a rural school about 40 minutes from the capital. The first couple of days, the Head of Faculty, asked if anyone had experience working with special education children. I raised my hand since I had just come from working with children with emotional and behavioral disorders (well, at least close to 4 months…filling in till the end of the school year), so I raised my hand.

And you know what happens when you raise your hand…well, it seemed that they didn’t have the need or placement for a special education teacher, so I was supposed to be in a second grade classroom but the classroom wasn’t full yet, so this other teacher, who had been there for over a year, offered to switch classes with me and somehow, I ended up having two classroom with two different grades in two different buildings. A combination first/second grade classroom in the mornings and a 4th grade classroom across this long courtyard, so I had 2 classrooms to decorate. More work and I was brand new. I was frazzled, to say the least. When the Head of another department from the Education Council visited, I brought up my concerns to her. And she stated, “I don’t see you taking responsibility for this.” Well, the thing is if your Academic team supports you, realizing that you have a heavier workload because you have two classrooms and two age groups…..you feel a lot better. However, politically stating your concerns is one thing and having someone take care of the problem is another. I wanted a transfer and they finally moved me midyear. I will never know what transpired but with my new Head of Faculty, I was told to not approach my new team until she spoke with them. I ended up teaching selective science, reading classes and assisting in another classroom as needed until the end of the year. It is challenging to change in the middle of the school year, and I dealt with another American teacher, across the hall, who locked her door. Often, I felt like she felt like she was in a bad neighborhood. Honestly, you can’t do these things in the states.

Returning to owning your own business. There are no secrets. We begin together (my husband and I) and we end the day together, sometimes. We don’t lock the door on each other and one doesn’t accuse the other of not owning up to our mistake, because we know each other so well. We get mad, but we make up. We make mistakes, but we move on. When I think back of the day, the Admin visited me and how hard it was to make them take in the whole picture, I feel like they settled for the easiest answer because looking beyond was too tiring and took too much energy. Most of the teachers I started with have moved on, some have returned to their country, and others have married, had children, etc. and this former person who visited me….well, I see she owns a business with her husband. I wondered if she ever asks him, “Are you accepting responsibility?” Somehow, I don’t think so. I think she just accepts his word as the gospel and moves on. Just sayin’ On a lighter note, I hear Shemar Moore, Criminal Minds, is in town…any ideas why or how he might be persuaded to visit a cupcake place in Tampa called Cupcake Cache. Or maybe I should say we deliver!

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