Like usual, I find that issues in my work life mirror those in my own life. Issues I've had for a long time. Last week brought it home for me. Let me preface my story by saying that I wasn't born a patient person - I've had to work hard at it and I willingly admit that I have a "patience bank". Only so much patience can be "withdrawn" before there's a deficiency, then there's no more to go around.
Not much drains my patience (and empathy) more than listening to someone state the same thing over and over again. In the same way my autistic students hate doing tasks over again, I hate hearing things over again when I've already been told. In a parent meeting last week, I had the opportunity to let a parent know some pretty good things about her son. Mostly because, even though he's autistic, he's quite bright. He can read and take visual cues like no one's business, which is wonderful since I can encourage appropriate behavior using that channel. This year has been a difficult one, though, because of the shortage of special education teachers available. As a result, this little guy's class has had a sub with very limited experience, which led to Tommy being mainstreamed less, going on less outings with general ed, and certain lack of variety of subjects covered in class. All of these concerns are valid. I would be disappointed also if Tommy was my son and he was not being challenged enough or didn't have enough opportunities to be with his general ed peers. What I do take issue with is listening to the same
complaint five or six times after the new teacher has apologized and explained what has been done to rectify the situation. Here is my breakdown for repetitions of complaints:First time you say something
, I will listen and remember, even if it looks like it hasn't registered.Second time,
I know it's important to you and I'm thinking of solutions to the problem, while getting slightly annoyed.Third time
, I'm annoyed.Fourth time,
I'm rolling my eyes inside my head, and I've quit paying attention to the other things you're saying, even if it's something new and important.Fifth time
, I'm pissed now, have tuned you out completely, and am planning my exit strategy.
Everyone deals with repetitions differently. This woman's husband was dealing with the complaints by being what I like to call a "silent lump", the teacher continued to apologize (which only seemed to feed the woman's complaints), a few team members looked at the clock, stood up, and excused themselves, and the rest of us sat there.
On my way home, I got to thinking about how upset I got about this woman's nagging (I'll call a spade a spade at this point). Then it got me thinking about how many other times that people in my personal life have mentioned things more than once, and I have to admit that my reactions are similar. I think it's because I assume that, if people are telling me things more than once, they think I can't remember or that I didn't get it the first time. Either way, I find it insulting. The one exception is when I have listened to my grandparents retell stories, events, or something they're concerned about.
Since this issue keeps popping up, I obviously need to find a different outlook and ways of dealing with it.