Blindsided by my boss

English Learning language

I started work as an English teacher yesterday. Since this will be my fourth year teaching at universities here in Central Asia, I wasn’t too ruffled.

For one thing, English is my native language, which makes me automatically an expert in my field (all my colleagues except my husband are non-native English speakers).

I also have spent five years learning culture and some Russian in Central Asia, which makes it easier for me to adjust to the bureaucracies endemic to any post-Soviet institution.

Man did I get blindsided.

I sat down for my first meeting with my supervisor, a woman I have worked under and around for the past five years who recruited me for this position.

Smiling, she informed me that she didn’t like my demo lesson, that it’s low quality must’ve been because I had taken a break from teaching for a year (to give birth to my third son) and that the university is paying me a lot of money so that I will do a good job. Would I please, she said, pay careful attention to how I teach each and every lesson for the sake of my students?

Wow. And I thought I was a good teacher.

I came home and cried.

I didn’t even try to hide my tears as the family sat around the table, and my 2 year old asked me if I was having a fit.

“No,” I said. “I’m crying.”

He said, “Do you need God, Mommy?”

“Yes, Mommy needs God.”

He assumed a very serious look and said,

“Do you need to obey? It’s very important to obey God, Mommy.”

And what could I say? Yes, I do, even on the hard days.

(Photo courtesy of

2 thoughts on “Blindsided by my boss

  1. Never taught English, but I’ve taught a lot of Math and Physics since 2002. Some of my greatest growth as a teacher has come from my intentional changes in response to feedback from supervisors and other teachers (assigned by my supervisor) who visited my class. Once a teacher gets past the surprise of what may seem like excessive or unfounded criticism, s/he can benefit from careful consideration of what improvements can be made to address the feedback.

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