It’s a small world (after all), so I’m not surprised. But judging by the hastily sent emails I received from a couple of friends – they were surprised to run into a DOS who knows me in Shanghai. I didn’t know he was there; perhaps there is a conference? If not, then that sets my Shanghai connection 4 or 5 DOSes, and 1 guy who likes to party at Windows and buy me drinks named Mike. meh, it could be worse!
But ask yourself, why are you surprised Yolanda left a mark on a country she spent 4 years in? I guess that is a relatively short time but it’s how you spend it that matters more. I never wanted to live in a mega city like Shanghai partly because it’s so impersonal. Also, it would take me away from my norm..which is perhaps something I chase. Yes, maybe I chase my own version of fame. Not necessarily for being the first at something but certainly improving it. I am sure I accomplished this at my last school in China. The climax being when one teacher/dept head purchased my faithful laminater after seeing that it could better connect each student to whatever activity we were doing that day. And improves efficiency not only in materials (less photocopying) but also accuracy – as the students don’t have to copy a chart or whatever from the board.. some with poor eye sight.
So take my advice and go where you can make the most difference not the most money. I should think it takes an expansive personality with lofty ambitions to make a mark on Shanghai.
Which leads me to another topic: ladders. I often feel like I’m missing something (and I’m sure I write something along these lines often)(see how prevalent the notion is?).
Not just in a possessive sense of having/not having, or losing something or someone. Like some stage of development skipped me – I don’t remember skipping it but if I’m to blame let me know. You know what tipped me off to this observation today? Everyone I worked with in China (with the exception of 2) has now elevated their position: DOS or senior teacher. So now you’re thinking ‘ah, she’s jealous!’ no that’s not it either. I don’t want to be a DOS.
The whole thing can be compared to ladders, when you climb them you put one foot in front of the other much like walking only 0 you travel up. It’s a pretty natural movement, don’t overthink it. But have you ever used one that is missing s rung or two? It really changes things. There is now an inescapable pit between you and your destination. It is intimidating and just trying to clear it shakes your whole ladder. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been swallowed by the abyss of a missing rung but it is a valid fear in my mind.
A further truth is that if you see the top of the ladder as a goal – my goal is actually set about 3 rungs down. I don’t need to see over the top thank you.. this good right here. Also, my entire life I have preferred silver to gold.. which may or may not be the leading reason for chasing second place. Oh! And again with ribbons! In the U.S. a blue ribbon signifies the highest award. But in Canada blue is second to red, guess which colour I prefer and have a collection of…
I guess I remain in roughly the same position because I know there are those who want out of theirs far more desperately than I. They need it.
And here comes that word again that I don’t always say because I don’t want to explain: need. I often contradict myself. One of the most frequent ways is this: I will give away money because “I don’t need it.”
From a strictly physical view – that’s not true. You need money to buy food, clothes, heat, fuel, a place to live.
But from Yolanda’s perspective I can see people who need money. Just money. They don’t see it as a ticket for fish and chips (yum), or how worthless currency is compared to a warm blanket. When I look at money I see all the things I’d like instead of it. But I know there are people who just want that paper. On one hand I’m glad someone values what I consider worthless. But on the other…isn’t that a pity?
Anyway, the moral of the story is: always use sound ladders. Cause money comes and goes, but what is on that ladder cannot be bought.