29 January

Personal Prompt: Write a letter to someone who has treated you poorly. Explain to them how their actions hurt you and strategize a way to move on.

Cut and pasted from a time I did write a letter to someone who treated me poorly… And as far how I can move on? I just got a new job (after three months of unemployment). I feel that is the best possible way for me to let this unpleasantness go.

Dear Boss,

I feel the need to clarify a few things from yesterday.

Firstly I do need to apologise for being so emotional. I had concerns it may happen and I am very embarrassed… My distress tolerance skills are currently low, which is something I continue to work on with mental health professionals. However, you need to know I was not upset because I’m being replaced – that is in fact a huge relief as I did not want to resume teaching at this stage. I got the impression you thought that is the case though. I reiterate, I am not at all upset I am not teaching – I am relieved.

I am upset and feel  insulted by two things – the fact you seemingly have had discussions with multiple people about the teaching situation over a period of time, where it was clear everyone was confused and receiving conflicting information, yet that confusion was never communicated to me. I respect you have a large number of issues to be dealing with at any one time, but a simple email or word stating things were still up in the air or not finalised would have been more than sufficient and very much appreciated. Obviously all final decisions were to be made by yourself and your colleague – hence I cc’d you both in all my email communications so you would be aware of all the details I had and be kept informed. You would not have needed to communicate a decision to me – simply that nothing was finalised.

But more significantly, that you could even consider it a possibility I would be so unprofessional and unethical as to make executive decisions regarding teaching allocations is incredibly hurtful and offensive to me. That you could think that for a month and say nothing at all to me is the reason I cannot possibly continue to work here. I cannot work with someone that would consider me so unprofessional. I have always endeavoured to be extremely honest and ethical and to go through the appropriate channels for everything. I regret that not every decision made was documented in writing – I will never make that mistake again. To my knowledge, I am one hundred per cent confident you and your colleague agreed I would take over the students when the teacher went on maternity leave as that was the best option for the students. While I did not want to teach again, I felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility and loyalty to both the students and to this school and if it was the right thing to do, I felt I had to do it. That you do not recall that conversation is unfortunate, but the decision was made in April. And there have been numerous emails and discussions in the ensuing four months where you could very easily have communicated your confusion over my assumption.

I have always communicated with parents directly regarding my teaching. I left all communications as late as I felt appropriate. Never before have I – or any other instrumental teacher that I am aware of – felt the need to seek permission from the head of the department before contacting parents regarding lesson times etc. Given that I was expected to be teaching the girls, it felt obvious to me that appropriate communication with parents was required. So I contacted them three weeks prior to the commencement of lessons – which I considered a suitable time frame. That was on 11 August. The same day I then came home to my jury duty summons. I communicated that information to you and your colleague immediately. I waited until 24 August before again communicating with parents regarding my jury duty situation – as at no time in the interim 12 days had anyone suggested another situation had been finalised. I respect that obviously both yourself and your colleague had offered a different teacher as an option and/or a backup early on, but nobody said she had been approached and booked to teach the students. Obviously I would not have sent any emails to parents at all if I was aware that things were travelling down a different path.

I have been left embarrassed and humiliated due to the fact you felt it was inappropriate for me to be contacting families I have come to know well over the course of five years, and I would have deeply appreciated being cc’d on the email you sent to the parents so as to understand what they may have been told about the change of circumstances should they mention it personally to me. To be told I cannot contact them without seeking prior approval from the deputy principal’s office is again incredibly offensive and hurtful.

I feel that over the course of the past four months I have endeavoured to communicate everything to both you and your colleague at the earliest possible opportunity. I have been honest and forthcoming with all information. To now have my professional integrity maligned in a work situation, with people who I have had nothing but the greatest respect for, is grossly unfair.

I had no intention of resigning when I came to work yesterday. But for you to have laughed at me twice when I tried to explain I would not have been so upset a week ago is unforgivable and I believe very unprofessional. Clearly I was upset and would have appreciated your kindness and attempted understanding. Being laughed at made me feel deeply disrespected and even unwelcome in the workplace. A workplace where I have been happy to work long term as it was somewhere I felt safe and respected and I loved the work.

I have contacted Human Resources regarding the resignation process and tendered my resignation to the Principal. So as to make this process as seamless as possible, I will come in to work this afternoon to set up as much information as possible to cover the rest of this term and to make the transition as easy as can be for whoever takes over my duties in the future. I also have a responsibility to be at the meeting on Tuesday evening to lock up etc at 7pm which I will honor. Aside from that, I am hopeful to not come in again as it is deeply uncomfortable for myself and I would feel also for you now.

I would appreciate it if none of this is discussed with anyone else in our office, as I would prefer that my resignation is kept private due to the personal and hurtful nature of events that have pre-empted my decision to leave.

Kind regards

Creative Prompt: You decide to put a message in a bottle and throw it out to sea. Write your message here.

Message in a Bottle

To whom it may concern

This is a matter of life and death. Please do everything I list, exactly as outlined below, on a daily basis, for seven days. Then return the sealed bottle to the ocean.

1. Go into a room by yourself. Play your favourite piece of music as loud as you find comfortable. Listen to it at least three times. Make sure you sing, or dance, or hum, or close your eyes and dream while listening to the music.

2. Give someone a hug. A really long hug that lasts at least 30 seconds.

3. Go for a 30 minute walk in your favourite walking spot. If your health doesn’t permit 30 minutes of continuous walking, try three ten minute walks each day instead. Walk regardless of the weather – rain, hail, snow, extreme heat – just dress appropriately.

4. Choose your favourite pet and play with them for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a pet, go to the pet store or local shelter and spend 30 minutes enjoying their company.

5. Choose something you love the smell of – cinnamon, fresh rain, perfume, newborn baby, the ocean, fresh bread – whatever you love. Find it and inhale it. For ages. As long as you can. Close your eyes and let the scent seep into your soul.

6. What is your favourite food? Make sure you have at least a triple batch of it at home. Allow yourself to have a little serve every day for a week. Every single day. A little bit of chocolate. A bite of cheesecake. A handful of chips. A small bowl of curry. A little mug of yoghurt. Your favourite thing – a little treat, every day for a week. Make sure you have enough.

7. What do you love to look at? The ocean? An art gallery? Window shopping? Your children? A puppy? Old photos? Find something that is visually really appealing to you and spend some time watching it. Just sit and watch – no judgment. Say nothing. Do nothing. Just watch and feel the comfort of the love.

8. Go to the movies – alone or with a great companion – and watch a film. Or curl up on your lounge and watch your favourite film.

9. Offer to do a random act of kindness for someone you know who is in need. Cook a meal. Babysit a child. Walk their dog. Weed their garden. Offer them a lift to the supermarket or church or the doctor.

10. Offer to do a random act of kindness for a complete stranger. Hand out a free gift to the next person you see when shopping. Pay for someone’s coffee or petrol when you’re out. Volunteer at an animal shelter, nursing home, or creche.

Finished your list? Get ready to do it again tomorrow. Every day for one week. Then return this bottle, safe and sealed, to the ocean. Spread the love.

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