Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Turning Things Around

Painting: http://binationalsymposiumartshow.blogspot.com/

The first year I spent in Thailand at a new school was not an easy one for me to swallow. It was hard to leave my unwavering support system of friends and family back in Jordan and come to a green strange land to live for a few years. Add on top of that my new school was not as challenging as I would have hoped it to be. I felt deflated, my psyche was struggling and my weight went down by 13 Kg in two months (though I am definitely not sad about the loss).

All this affected my relationship with my Head of Department. We were both in a very difficult situation as she was a full time classroom teacher who wanted to be more involved in our department and I was a part timer who was supposed to take the load of observing and assessing students as well as supporting them in class. 

I had also foolishly volunteered to put together the Year Book that year and as you can imagine, being a part timer and having all these to contend with, was not a piece of cake. What added to the pressure was the feeling of not being valued or cared for by the institution that I was working for. My salary was low and as a family we were using some of our savings to get us through the month. My only salvation at that school were my students.

All the above tainted my relationship with my colleague and tensed the strings that connected us. These strings were so tight that they could have snapped at any moment or with added pressure.

However, with time our relationship metamorphosed; changing in form and elasticity. I began to learn that we actually had more traits and interests in common than I thought we did. We shared the same passion for teaching and learning which helped me look forward to our meetings and training sessions.  I started seeing her as a friend, a confidant, a respected colleague who had so much to offer and great insight which I valued. A colleague I could learn from and share my experiences with.

After a year or so, my husband and I moved to another school. However that did not deter our newly established string connections and we still manage to stay in touch and even collaborate. Last Saturday, we presented a workshop together, which went well and we both enjoyed sharing our knowledge with other teachers.

We have learned to evolve and mold our relationship into a symbiotic one where both of us can compose a different tune but one which is in harmony with the other. 

Working together on the same score sheet using different notes makes those strings play such soothing melodies.Which makes me wonder why on earth can't people, countries or religions get along in the real world.

Did you ever have such an experience with someone? Did you have a relationship that was difficult to start of with and then it metamorphosed?