The path of return to work never did run smooth...help! (long)
I'm having a problem and I hope anyone who has experience either volunteering or supervising volunteers (both of which I have, and I would never behave as my supervisor is right now) can help.
I've been volunteer teaching (I used to train and supervise teachers in these kinds of organizations, and finished my doctoral classwork in the field) two classes of ESOL in a community organization for the past three years. I was hoping to use the volunteering to refresh my skills and ramp up to paying employment as my DD entered high school, I've loved being in the classroom, and I've presented at a local conference this past year. My supervisors have enthusiastically supported my application for paid work.
This past summer, though, when I got around to applying, the local CC (the only game in town) tried initially to dismiss my application because I was overqualified. I argued successfully, kind of, that my qualifications did match the description, but I don't think it did any real good, because I discovered (and had confirmed by other people) that the CC seems to be a bit of a clique and now I'm in teacher-pool limbo. There aren't many similar openings out here for someone with my training because the organizational culture in adult education is very different.
Anyway, I've been mostly keeping a stiff upper lip and trying to see the good in not getting paid work, in being in ironically high demand to do on a volunteer basis what I used to do professionally, that there is some reason in it and I should be flattered that folks recognize the value of my work even if there aren't paid positions they have control over...
The truth is, though, that it's VERY hard for me, since I had worked since 1977, all through college and two graduate programs, until I stopped to raise our DD...I'm a worker, that's what I do. I feel like my bag is heavier with every passing day...it's really hard sometimes not to get depressed...
And now to the immediate problem. The supervisor where I volunteer, a 'lady bountiful' kind of woman who is married to a multi-millionaire and definitely has no clue how privileged she comes across saying that the pay she gets for her supervising job is pocket money (the same pay going to our home would be serious college savings), that her husband wants a new Porsche but she wants to get the Mercedes station wagon she drives fixed first, etc..., and is a complete miser (just one example plucked from many: I gave my assistants gift certificates for entire dinners at a great, authentic, non-SYSCO-food-Mexican restaurant for the holidays last year, a place I had raved about and wanted to share with my assistants [theyliked it too!]; this woman gave me a $5 card to Starbucks. I'm not kidding. I was almost too embarrassed to use it, but when I did I shared with the baristas that it was a holiday present from a supervisor and they commiserated...Never in a *million years* would I give a full-grown adult who had volunteered her time under my supervision something like that. This woman spent the entire summer on her yacht, so it's not like she doesn't know better.) has saddled me with being the host for the class internship this *entire* term of a student (who is near my own age, and has worked in the field already) going to a for-profit ESOL accreditation program. The supervisor told me she thought I was the ideal person, blah-blah...and basically gave me no real choice.
I'm pretty sure that she's getting paid for allowing this person to observe my class, but she has ducked my questions twice, telling me "oh, you won't have to do anything extra." I tried to find the positive, to say that the person has been put in my path for some reason, but I don't know it yet, and to keep an open mind, but as it turns out, even from the first meeting this 'observer' has proven to be a bit of a disaster. Her pedagogy is very different from mine and she interjected herself into the class on the first 'observing' day. I am resenting the notion that I have to spend time figuring out how to manage her to avoid crisis in the classroom; it takes time away from my volunteer preparation.
I am also very much resenting that my supervisor won't tell me that she's getting paid for this. She knows we are hurting for money and I am trying to find work, and yet she's willing to stick me with this extra onus, dismiss any concerns I have, and dodge my questions. She could share some of the money with me but she is choosing not to, and it turns my stomach. I would never behave that way if I were in her position.
I love teaching there, but this situation is seriously threatening my ability to continue. Every time I think about the next session I think of having to worry about the next time that 'observer' will quietly correct a student as the student was trying to form a meaningful sentence!! (to teachers, you know that you don't confuse fluency with specific grammar exercises --it's the fastest way to quash a fragile developing identity in a new language) Just telling her not to speak in class, though, is like putting one finger in a leaky dike, because the kind of person who would think it's o.k. for her to do so is the kind of person who always has to be watched. And I don't want to watch anyone, OR be watched, for free when I know someone else is getting paid and taking further advantage of my work!! There are other teachers there but I think the supervisor is afraid of letting her see them, because they're not really professional level and the supervisor does nothing in the way of ongoing teacher development.
Anyway, does anyone have any words that will calm the black cloud that's gathering in my chest? I'm so frustrated in general, and then to have this thrown at me, extra work to do as a volunteer that the supervisor won't even admit is extra work...I'm really upset. One complicating factor is that she would be one of the few recommendations I could use if I ever do happen to meet someone in the local CC who has control over hiring...I need not to alienate her...but she's so entitled-acting and gets so bristly when she thinks she's not getting something she wants...ugh...