Part II - The Panopticism: Enslavement and Fear (Day 56)

From my previous post: First, I have my energetic movements within and as myself and then the fear for being out of the norm; for not being a “responsible slave”.

So, the energetic movements manifest as thoughts like “I don’t want to go to work, it’s almost the end of the year and I am tired. This is enough”. It’s like me making the decision as an individual that it’s not necessary to continue going to work because I’m kind of done. But there are my bosses or the “authority” towards which I have developed this resistance when analyzing the “power” relationship between the Employee and the Boss.

I am going to mention an anecdote that happened to me during this year:

On Thursdays I work from 8 am to 4 pm, but from 8 to 9:30 I don’t have to teach. That space within my schedule is called dwell time and it’s basically used for planning the lessons, checking tests, preparing some material, etc. or if there’s any teacher that couldn’t go to work, I have to cover him/her. So, when it was Thursday I was like “it’s not really important for me to be there. I can sleep more and just arrive to work at 9:30”, but the norm says that I have to be there at 8 am”. So, I went into these constant patterns every Thursday and there were some Thursdays that I arrived at 9:30 and nobody noticed it, but as it became a habit I ended up being caught/noticed. That’s when one of my bosses approached me and asked “Pablo, what happened?” and sometimes I said that I fell asleep, that I didn’t feel well…excuses basically. He said, “it’s okay but let me know when you are going to arrive late”. He reacted very “kindly”, but I kept repeating the pattern for a few Thursdays. That’s when I started feeling “observed”. Like too much attention on that teacher that "is not doing what he is supposed to".

The point is that I haven’t left my students alone, because I know when/how to “break the rules” in order to not compromise their learning process.

I sometimes stay longer at work and nobody says anything, for instance “I congratulate you for working extra hours knowing that you won’t receive an extra payment”, but when you go “out of the norm” they immediately go and tell you something. I am not saying that I expect that. It's just funny how it only tends to rely on one side of the polarity equation.

So, today I kind of did the same: The grade I had to teach from 8 to 9:30 had a trip, so they didn’t come to school, so I knew I could “break the law”. I don’t know whether I was noticed or not, but I arrived at 8:30 and nobody has said anything to me. But, while I was driving to get here I was participating within my backchats “why do I have to give explanations? I mean, I know I have to be there at 8, but the grade I have to teach is not going to be there, plus this week is the last week of classes because by next Friday they will have the summer break, therefore not many students are coming anyways”. 

I have been developing this resistance towards the power relationships where I kind of perceive that the bosses sometimes think that you should be grateful for being hired, because they do us a favor for giving us the money to buy our food in order to survive lol, but within myself I know when/how to be “out of the norm” and I feel obligated to have a good excuse in order to avoid being too confrontational and just assume the submissive role, because if it was up to me and I were told “Pablo, what happened? You are late again”, I would just say “I know, but the grade I have to teach is not here, therefore I am capable of making my own decisions. I am not trying to make fun of your authority, but I think that I have the skills to decide”, BUT there is the norm and sometimes when we are honest, we are perceived as rebels, and probably being honest is an act of rebellion; a self-rebellion that does not come from chaos, but self-comprehension, self-honesty and self-love.

Now, a few months we, as teachers and bosses had a coaching with activities related to empathy, teamwork, etc. And we were all sat forming a circle. There was this activity within which we had to write our names on a piece of paper and pass it around. This piece had three categories: what I like from you, what I don’t like from you, and what you should improve. So when I got my piece of paper back it said “be more committed” within the “you should improve” section. I counted the lines (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and the comment coincided with amount of people that were next to me, so the comment came from my bosses (who were from 4 to 6 people next to me). That’s when I started thinking “what is commitment?” and I ended up with the following conclusion:

What your bosses will see from your “commitment” is what is only visible, quantifiable based on what they see which is only a small part of your job as a teacher, because they do not know the relationships we create with students, the material we prepare, etc., therefore, what they can say about your commitment is only what they have defined as commitment. They haven't probably made a distinction between commitment v/s self-commitment, so it’s easy to just categorize employees according to your selfish, limited and ignorant vision of such a huge principle as commitment, because that will lead us to say: he is a "good worker" or he is a "bad worker", which is very poor and limited.

So, I know this happens and I have to learn how to live with it. But, the point is that I become nervous and anxious when being in front of them. Like with this fear of being judged for the way I am, because I understand the system is all fucked up, but many people/bosses just accept it as the truth to be followed/embraced.

How does this fear manifest within myself? I avoid having contact with my bosses, for instance, today I arrived late. I have seen them but I haven’t said hi to them or shake hands as usual lol. It’s like I am expecting them to approach me, therefore I am automatically assuming the guilty/victim/slave character even from my body language. I know that I shouldn’t feel guilty and if guilt is manifesting within myself is an indicator that I am not being effective in my application; there are specific points/characters that I have to open up, for instance The Fearful Rebel Character.

I will continue