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April 09, 2014

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Oh geez......I'll try to pop back over to say something more coherent other than "yay librarian, boo HOS" or wtf? I am so sorry this drama is popping back up.

You MEAN? She needs to rethink what the Librarian told her. Unfortunately, she won't read me telling her that.

First I was going to make a comment about fee-fees being hurt, but then I read your much more mature (a)-(c) and you're absolutely right. You do need to have a chat with HOS. In fact, maybe right away as a follow-up to her conversation with librarian. You have my vote for requesting such a meeting ASAP. She needs to rewrite her narrative. And hopefully she'll get bitten by the crazy lady at some point in the future and truly realize the error of her ways, but before then (a)-(c) are important.

If you haven't read Crucial Conversations yet, it has some great tips about how to approach such a conversation!

OMG. Scapegoating you is so unprofessional. There were several people involved in this process, not just you and ECA. This really sucks. :(

Agree that a conversation with the Head is important, and that (re)reading Crucial Conversations first would be a good idea (I'm just reading it for the first time, thanks to relentless references by certain bloggers, some above, and am grateful for the recommendation).

Also, as a girls' school graduate myself, I agree that a "niceness" standard has a way of trumping other more explicitly-stated goals in such environments. I was pulled aside during my senior year and asked to stop talking realistically about my college options (in a conversation I had *not* started), because I was making a student who had little chance of getting into one of those colleges -- in part because I was in-state, and she was out-of-state -- and desperately wanted to, feel bad. This in a school that had no academic awards or rank in class (an atmosphere in which I thrived, since I'm not competitive), but did have athletic awards and required-for-all athletic awards ceremonies, which I'd more or less patiently sat through for 4 years at that point. The good news is I got a really good education; the bad news is that I got the explicit message "you're smart, but hide it so as to spare others' feelings."

Not an exact parallel by any means to your experience, I realize, but some similar underlying tensions between competing aspirations/ideals of female behavior, I think.

I've been getting increasingly fed-up with this "mean vs. nice" discourse when it pops up in academia. The version I confront is when a grad student manifestly fails to meet standards, and someone says, "Oh, but s/he's such a good kid." WHY DOES THAT MATTER?

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Who is this What Now?

  • I'm an English teacher at a pretty darned good high school (the justly famous Fabulous Girls' School, or FGS). I am partner to D. We live in an adorable, messy little house in Adventure City, where we are hoping to have more frequent adventures than we have thus far. Two cats -- the Muse and the Contemplative -- live with us and keep life at home plenty adventurous.

    Email me at whatnowblogger at yahoo dot com.

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