Saturday, March 6, 2010

Doing the Right Thing....for Yourself.

This morning's post is about perspective and integrity.

As you know if you've been following my blog, this has been a rough year for me. At several points this year, I've been told and have felt, that I should just "go through the motions" and not give my all in this position, since they don't seem to appreciate my efforts.

And, I admit, at times, I gave in to this sentiment momentarily.

But then, something significant happened. My INTEGRITY reared its head and thunked me across the forehead.

This happened again yesterday.

I have always had a hard time leaving work behind, and this trip is no different. After a wonderfully relaxing day, I came back to the condo and immediately opened my school email.


Because what I found there royally ticked me off, and made me want to just say "screw it all."

There was an email exchange with my chair over next year. In his tenure letter, this very same chair had criticized me for "continually insisting on teaching overload courses, against the advice of her chair." And this email exchange yesterday? Ultimately asked me to teach not one, but TWO overload courses next year. WHAT?

Of course, my friends said "SAY NO! You don't owe them ANYTHING!"

But the money is good.

And, more importantly, if I don't teach them, no one else will. And the students, for whom I have been working all along, will suffer.

Oh, and one of those overloads is for the Adult College. The email request from the coordinator of that program wrote in her email to my chair, "We were wondering if she would offer another course this year, since she is held in high regard by the adult students."

That, in itself, was enough to confirm that I need to teach the overload.

That was affirmation that I was doing the right thing.

Besides, I can not bring myself to hurt the program just to be petty.

I refuse to lower myself to their levels.

I had another email exchange yesterday that also reinforced this idea.

I had a student who simply "checked out" during Winter term. He had been told that he could not graduate, and he simply gave up. So he failed the course.

Then, during finals week, he was given new information. He was told that, so long as he did not flunk any courses, he could graduate.

It was too late. I had already posted grades.

So he sent me not one, but TWO, pleading emails, asking for another chance to pass the class.

And I replied to him yesterday, with a response that he did not want to hear.

I told him that sometimes life teaches us difficult lessons. I said that we should always fulfill our obligations, even when it seems futile, because we never know what might lie beyond the next bend in our life's road.

And this, ultimately, is why I will not give up, or just give the students an "easy pass" when I return to teaching in the Fall. I will continue to give my all and fulfill my obligations, not because I owe the institution anything, but because I owe it to myself.

My integrity will allow me to do no less than my best.


And the rewards will be far greater than being granted (or denied) tenure. They will be self-respect, integrity, and honor.

And I can walk away from this institution at the end of next year with my head held high, knowing that I have done my best, done good work, and left a lasting mark among the student population.

So, where are you going to leave your mark? Are you waiting for that external, material reward for your actions? Is your perspective clear? Follow your integrity, and you will find the must fulfilling path to your bliss.

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