The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Where Do We Go From Here?

Posted by Seeking Solace |

First, thank you all so much for your get well wishes. I am slowly getting stronger and I am in less pain. It will take some time.

And now...The Meeting

Once everyone was assembled (The Dean and the chairs of the other departments where I also teach), the Dean started out say how he and the other chairs value my work, think I am a great instructor, blah, blah blah. But...

(But always means forget what I just said, here's what I really think.)

But, there are concerns about the number of absences I have taken during the academic year. It seems that the secretary for the VPAA tallies the absences when they are reported and then submits them to the VPAA. (Translation...tattletale!). The VPAA then bitched to the Dean and then the Dean told the other chairs. In fact, one of the chairs had no clue that I had to cancel class and was "surprised".

All that being said, the Dean's concern (read: VPAA's concern) was that how can they justify keeping me if I am going to be absent. The VPAA has his panties all bunched up over this and there needs to be some sort of solution to the problem. I am safe for the Fall, but my position for the Spring is tenuous.

I explained that I understand their concern. I told them that I do not want to call in sick. It is not an easy decision for me. It's not like I am skipping work to go to the spa. Nine times out of ten, it's Husband who puts his foot down and says that I can't go. I want to find a solution that will work for everyone.

I suggested a few solutions like having more on-line interaction and and emergency plan if I would have to call in. The group seemed open to the idea, however, there is still some resistance to on-line work. My college is not exactly on the forefront of the on-line revolution.

I guess what really bothered me was that I don't think any of people in the room really understood the level of seriousness my medical condition carriers. I did attend the meeting in full flare. Husband had to help me into the room. It was clearly visible that I was having a serious problem. Yet, there was a lackluster level of empathy. Those of you who know me IRL and have seen me in a mild flare know that even a mild flare is debilitating. But, I just didn't fee the love when the Dean asked me if I could predict a flare is going to happen. (If I could do that, we would not be in this position).

Finally, I asked how we would monitor this situation, particularly for the Spring term. I couldn't get a straight answer from the Dena. Now, my lawyer training taught me how to ask a question 20 different ways to pin down an answer, but I just couldn't pin the guy to a response. So, I just asked him straight out. Still no straight answer. So my take is that I should not get excited about the Spring term.

All in all, I really don't think any of them truly "get it". Even with the number of suggestions to help remedy the situation, it just seemed like the only one who was willing to dig in and fix this issue was me. So, I am going rework all my course and work on some assignments and activities for the just in case I have to call in sick. I have a follow-up with my doctor to discuss any changes to my meds and treatment. My doc has also agreed to provide any documentation to support my cause. Husband and I have talked at length about moving to a warmer climate which will be helpful for me. I don't think I can handle another sub-zero winter and there is really nothing keeping us in Lake Effect Snow Central.

Oh and the ADA bomb. No, I didn't drop it. I am holding that card. It's not time yet.

One last thing. My Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 24, 2008 (The date of the meeting) was procrustean. Seems appropriate.


BrightStar said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. What's most frustrating to me is that you showed up in the middle of a full flare up situation, and there was little sympathy. Honestly, if this place is going to be like that, then it's not a place where you ultimately want to work, I would think, but I know that's a frustrating situation.

Moving to a warmer climate sounds like it could be good for your health.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Ick, Ick, Ick.

If you had a 'popular' disease -- like breast cancer, and you were sick from chemo, they wouldn't pull this crap on you.

Do they have provisions for shorter and more intense semesters?? At my school they have late-start and early finish courses.... so between them you could easily be off between Thanksgiving and Valentine's day ---doing early finish in the fall and late start in the spring.

As for not being up on on-line learning, that just tells you exactly how behind the curve they are. At my school they strongly encourage on-line work.

Maybe moving to someplace warm will be the real solution -- you can find a good place to teach somepleace outside of the frozen tundra.

Crossroads Online said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prisca said...

I deleted my last comment because I forgot to change my screen name. Dolt!

I'm really sorry that these folks lack any compassion for your situation. It just sucks. I say check on the ole ADA...might get you someplace until you are ready to move on.

Hope you're feeling better!

Mad Hatter said...

I'm so sorry! Unfortunately, I think a lot of people just don't "get it" or don't care until they experience it themselves. Sucks. :-(

RageyOne said...

Sorry to hear that the meeting was as successful as you would have liked. They definitely don't sound empathetic at all. :(

I do hope you are on the mend, and the weather gets better soon.

Alice said...

Hope everything works out!

Lisa said...

It does suck! I am so sorry that this is happening to you. It's not right. I agree with Brightstar.

JustMe said...

i am so sorry that this has happened, and that i am so late o commenting. dealing with ADA issues is one of the things that constantly freaks me out, i always wonder if i can make it in academia. b/c what i've encountered so far is what you describe. it seems to me that unless they are required to be empathetic, they will not be, and even then it's a stretch. anyway, sorry about all this and i hope things improve for you. maybe in my next bog i will get into this stuff more, though i am afraid to b/c of that whole anonymity thing...