Write to Mita
Recently, I have taken up the job of teaching toddlers at a school for the underprivileged. There, I have to talk at the top of my voice desperately trying to make myself heard in a class of 40. The long rectangular shape of the classroom adds to my difficulty, since while explaining something at the board I almost have to scream to keep the backbenchers attentive. The school runs on donation and cannot afford a microphone. Now the problem is I often find myself shouting at the children even when I am trying to explain something to one child. I am afraid that in doing so I am often scaring the daylights out of those kids. What should I do?
If you have the patience and empathy to spend your time teaching under privileged children then you are a very special person. It must be very difficult to reach 40 children in a class without shouting. Shouting does not always scare children; it is your behavior before and after that is important. Children have an uncanny way of understanding love and sympathy. I am sure with your kindness and warmth you will be able to over come this present difficulty. The other practical solution is to find a donor who will donate a microphone for your class.
I am trying to accept a truth about my personal life while at the same trying my best not to let my professional life get affected by it. However, I am miserably failing at it. I often have mood swings, which thankfully my colleagues understand but the children I teach innocently ask after the reason for my puffed eyes and nasal tones. Instead of handling their questions professionally I answer in irritable tones. Sometimes, I lose my temper very quickly and shout at the children, which comes as a surprise to them. I cannot take leave from work, as staying at home will only make me more depressed. But I also do not want my students to be the victims of the turmoil of my personal life.
It is very brave and mature not to let your professional life get affected by personals problems. It is very hard and often not possible to accomplish. We are after all humans and our emotions cannot be always kept in check. Because of the special nature of your job it is even more difficult as venting out your frustration on children is something that you don't want to do. I suggest you take professional help such as counselling. Talking to a friend or someone who has been in a similar situation might help. The degree of your problem should also determine your next course of action. It might be a good idea to take time off for a short while and think everything through. Finally, don't be so harsh on yourself. Children will not mind your occasional outbursts if you are generally a kind and sympathetic teacher.
I work in an advertising firm where a colleague, who is an expert at what he does, often does not produce works up to the mark. Unfortunately, he cannot take any kind of criticism, no matter how constructive it might be. He becomes defensive and threatens to quit. Our organisation does not want to lose an otherwise expert like him. But at times handling his below standard work becomes difficult. We often have to come up with funny and lame excuses for not using his ideas and work. At times, it becomes a trying job to make up lame excuses especially when we are working on deadlines. Please give me advice how we can handle this difficult colleague of ours.
A tired team-member
Dear Tired Team Member,
Someone should have a straightforward talk with this colleague of yours. He seems to be taking all of you for a ride. Some people often take advantage of their talent and use it to get special privileges. I think you should call his bluff and tell him exactly how his attitude towards work is affecting your output. He is blackmailing you by saying he will quit, whereas I don't think he will go through with it. On the other hand, try to find out if he is going through a difficult time at a personal level and try to help him out.
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