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IN MY EYES: Fighting back

I once had a friend who is now a school administrator in a certain division.

We became close many years ago and that binding thread is love for writing.

Let’s call her Marnie, fellas, a pretty girl with semi-curly locks. This is her story.

Marnie once had an old head teacher who was not only bossy, but was also self-divining in the sense that she considered herself the wisest, the best and the big boss.

Many years ago, when Marnie was new in school as Teacher I, she came across this 50 something head teacher who would always assign her to do this and that.

Mrs. D (that’s the head teacher’s name) would order her to accomplish the monthly reports usually done by her. She also would assign her to dust off and fix her table and throw away the trash and edit her department reports. Mrs. D always had an eye on Marnie in making school reports, too, and to produce the necessary pictures for them. She would assign her to make the department work plan for the year, invite guests on special occasions, make the emcee scripts and be the emcee herself. She would also assign Marnie to organize the field demo activities on Foundation Days and to teach the kids of their field demo dances. It seemed that Marnie was the only teacher in that department!

Instantly, Marnie became a jack-of-all trades.

You see, Marnie is an accomplished writer, too, fellas.

She was editor in chief of her school paper in elementary, high school and college. She has contributed essays, short stories and poems in various newspapers and magazines. She once had a stint in the radio and television, too. That’s why when there were writing contests in school, she was always tapped, although Mrs. D said she could write and coach better.

One day, after fixing Mrs. D’s table, as usual, she burst in tears. She was not upset but she envied the other teachers who seemed to be very happy and contented in their career. Marnie wanted to quit teaching. She was happier in her old job in the radio and television.

One of those who saw all these things was the late Mr. P who died of stroke 10 years ago. Mr. P belonged to another department but when he heard about Marnie’s plight, he sought Marnie and gave her a sound piece of advice.

Mr. P said to Marnie: “You are only new but you are a teacher, not a department head attendant or administrative aide. Next time, learn to say no. If you think you are busy doing audio-visual aids, lesson plans or instructional materials, say so. Don’t be a ‘yes ma’am’ teacher. Be a teacher in thought, words and deeds and one of those we do to preserve our dignity is to say no when you think you are abused or it is your right to say no. You have to know the difference between tolerance and abuse!”

Marnie listened intently. Indeed, Mr. P oriented her thoroughly on what to do next time.

When Mrs. D asked her to do her monthly reports as usual, Marnie said: “ Ma’am, sorry. I have not finished my lesson plan and my visual aide for my next period.”

Okay, you can do it later.”

But Marnie found it necessary to make another alibi after her classes in the afternoon.

Ma’am, sorry, I can’t help you now. My mother has just called to say my father is ill, I have to hurry home.”

The following day, Marnie called to apply for a 2-day leave “because his father was ill.”

Mrs. D had to do the reports herself.

When Marnie reported to work after two days, she found Mrs. D’s table unkempt and her cubicle dusty. She did not lift a hand to clean the cubicle or fix her table.

Mrs. D arrived and asked Marnie to fix her table and dust off the furnitures inside her cubicle.

But Marnie said she was having her snacks and then would proceed to the clinic for her blood pressure check-up. She tarried there until the bell for her next period rang. So Mrs. D had to fix everything herself.

Everytime she thought she would be doing Mrs. D’s job, Marnie always had an alibi.

When Mrs. D celebrated her birthday and invited everyone, she begged off saying she had to hurry to the electric company to pay their monthly bill that would lapse soon. But the following day, Marnie gave Mrs. D a birthday gift, a colorful dust remover and a paper organizer.

When Mrs. D was sick, she visited her in her house and gave her apples and oranges saying, “Get well soon, ma’am, we miss you already.” She also gave her an organizer and a book on calisthenics.

When Foundation Day came, she begged off practicing because she said she had ran out of ideas.

But I will be helping , ma’am, if you have some nice ideas,” she said.

So, what was Marnie doing, fellas?

She was fighting back!

She was fighting back in a manner that Mrs. D never noticed.

It was a form of psychological war that she won, yet she did not fall out of grace.

Dale Carnegie, a master in public relations said that there are many ways to fight back and still be around without fear of reprisal. He wrote them well in his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

Here, I am adding some:

1. Don’t criticize. Anybody who fights back and backs out his crusade with bitter criticisms will get back a double fold. Nobody wants to be criticized especially in public . One can always hit an enemy with a cotton club and not with a wooden club.

2. Listen. A lot of people always want to talk and talk and talk. They hate to listen. They want to be in the limelight. When these kinds of people talk, listen to them. Or pretend you are listening and they will like you more. And when it’s your turn to talk, say a little and leave to get out of the situation.

3. If there is a chance, agree immediately with your enemy without compromising your principles. Agree with your ideas even if you don’t. And when it’s your turn to talk, leave a compliment and off you go.

4. Lavish everyone with praise. Praise your tormentor with good words for her dress, her hairdo, her make-up etc. etc. You won’t spend a centavo for that.

5. Learn to say no in a nice manner and politely. Strong and angry words lead to contentions but soft words melt the heart. Be humble and down-to-earth.

Everyday, we deal with different kinds of people, fellas. Everyday is a new challenge for living.

Everyday, we find people who annoy us, love us, criticize us, bother us or encourage us. Everyday, there are challenges to torture or stress us, either your friends or your immediate boss.

Remember, it’s not always bad to say no. Sometimes, no is a good answer to fix things.

In other words, know when to fight back!