Monday, August 29, 2005

"Bobsey Twins" No More

This morning, anxious to make and keep friends at my new job, I glommed on to Jodi, a friend of Renee’s I know who happens to teach in my new district.

I sat next to her, and I walked in step with her. When she drank water, I also drank water. When she ventured outdoors to cool off, I stayed faithfully by her side.

These behaviors were motivated by my insecurities about being new, yes, but they were also prompted by my years of attending staff development meetings with Renee, my One True Teaching Love.

Renee, you see, has what we might call “high-inclusion needs.” If you’re a step beyond arm’s reach of her at any given event, you need to provide fair warning and adequate explanation.

So, midway through the morning, when I gave Jodi a run-down of where I would be for each minute of the next five and asked if she would like to accompany me to each location, she shot me an exasperated glance and stopped walking:

“Look, Kace,” she said, putting her hand out in front of her, as if to say stop right there you neurotic type-A, “we don't need to go through all that.”

I nodded agreeably, although I felt rather perplexed.

“I mean,” she looked at me knowingly, “I know you’re used to going to these things with Renee, but..." She shook her head and raised her eyebrows, "I’m not Renee." She paused and searched my face for recognition.

And so it’s clear I’ll have to re-train myself in appropriate staff-development behavior. This will be tricky, but I think, if I actually do want to make and keep friends, it’s probably necessary.

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