Sunday, March 1, 2015

Reacting in Imagination Instead of fully Investigating the Facts

Last Wednesday, the first day of school of the spring semester, I found out that some of the classrooms for various instructors had been changed. Upon arriving at one of my new classrooms (the dungeon as I affectionately refer to it), I realized that it was not optimal for the kind of lessons I do with these classes. At first, I wondered to myself: did I do something wrong; why would they put me along with one of the highest level Freshmen English classes down here in the basement? Then I recalled the commitments I had made to myself some time ago to “not” jump to conclusions before investigating all of the facts.

So in beginning the class, I proceeded to turn on the computer and the projection screen to explain the new syllabus that I had written and show the students where to go to download it. However, when the screen lit up and the page was displayed, I noticed that it was too small for large amounts of on-screen reading, especially for those in the back. I asked the students what they though, and those that ventured to respond seemed to agree with me. So I decided to see what I could do about getting the classroom that I'll be teaching in for 8 hours a week changed to something a little brighter with a bigger projection screen.

When I got back to the office, I explained the problem to my director, and she said she would see what she could do about it. About an hour later, the problem was solved. My new classroom had a giant projection screen and even a view of the mountains. Needless to say, I went home that day satisfied with the way things had worked out, but then I blundered.

When I looked at my email at home, I saw the same email notification about the classroom changes that had been sent to me days earlier, but the browser had translated it and I thought I was looking at a new email that was asking me to clarify why I needed a different classroom. Yes, instead of clearly investigating what I was looking at, I allowed my imagination to react, and this is where I blundered.

In energetic form of me in reaction to imagined information, I decided to write an email letter explaining my request. The thing is that, when I request something, I don't just write a simple letter of request, I write for effect. In other words, I place the words in such a way as to logically justify the validity of the request not being denied. It's kind of like the way I attempt to explain or teach my students: when writing an email of request, write for effect.

Then, after spending over an hour on the email and sending it off, I checked the (school) email system again, and in looking at the same email, thought it was another new one. This time, I double checked and said to myself, wait a second, had I just done all that stuff for nothing? Yes, I had, and then it finally occurred to me to check my facts. This time, I went onto another section of the information system and saw that my classroom had indeed been changed to the room with a view and big projection screen.

The lesson from this, aside from being able to use my email as good example of how to write a request for effect is that, when looking at email, especially that which has been translated, never jump to conclusions, and always check the facts so to respond instead of react.

Herein, I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to react in imagination when looking at my email instead of fully investigating all of the facts. Furthermore, I commit myself to, when looking at email – especially that which has been translated – always thoroughly investigate all of the facts so to respond instead of react.

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