The snark is basically closed

You may have noticed I have not written in some time. I really haven’t had the time or desire to write on here in quite a while. For now I am going to say I’m not going to blog. I have no immediate plans to do any writing here anytime soon. I won’t say I won’t ever return to this blog, but for now, I’m closed. :(

This trainer is not what I needed this week!

Thanks to all my friends who read my post Monday and let me know that you have faith in me. I appreciate it!

Yesterday and today were better days, for the most part. In addition to the post I did write Monday, I had planned to complain about one of my training cohort members, but then I learned something about her that explained her behavior and made me very glad I had not publicly posted my thoughts. It reminded me that all too often I make snap judgments about people and contrary to my popular belief, I am not always right.

Something I am going to post about is the trainer we have for this section of training. Our training is broken into several sections and for each section we typically have two trainers. Each section usually has two different trainers than the section before it. Up to this point I have liked all the trainers we’ve had. Then we began this week of training.

Now, I am going to preface this with the fact that I only know this trainer as a trainer. I have no idea how she is as a person outside of the training. But perhaps training is not her forte. Here are the things that are getting under my skin this week:

  • She did not read our ground rules. On day one of our training we were asked to develop ground rules and each trainer was supposed to get a copy and read it. Contained in these ground rules are the fact that we have a cohort member that is allergic to citrus fruit, so of course we prohibit citrus. Also in the ground rules is that we need to limit (not eliminate) sidebar conversations. More on that later.
  • She is way too authoritative. She may have been with the agency a long time, I think she said something like 16 years, but that does not mean we are not adults and don’t deserve the respect of an adult class. Some of her methods are more in line with teaching middle or high schoolers.
  • She shushes us. Yes, we can get a little loud at times. We are a group of 26 people and the stuff we are discussing is not stuff you just sit back and say, “hmmm, that was interesting.” These are topics that require some processing and discussion. Being the adults we are, we realized on day one that we would need this processing and discussion and we decided a ground rule would be to limit the sidebars because eliminating was not realistic. This trainer is notorious for saying, in a derogatory tone, “Come on guys,” or just “Guuuuys” when she feels we are too loud. I don’t think I could even attempt to tell you how many times she says it in one day or how many eye rolls she gets because of it. One of our cohort members even tried to explain the ground rule to her (since she didn’t bother to read them), and she pretty much ignored her.
  • She repeats things. Half an hour ago she may have gone over the physical signs you need to look for in sexually abused children. Guess what, it’s 30 minutes later and we’re going to go over the physical signs of sexual abuse again. Pretty much verbatim to what she previously said. It’s not for emphasis or making sure we get the point because she does it with little things too.
  • She doesn’t attempt to find answers. In every other training we’ve had the trainers all told us to ask any question we might have. If they did not know an answer, they would find out for us. If this trainer doesn’t know an answer, she will just tell us she doesn’t know and then gloss over the fact you asked her anything.
  • She hides behind a higher power. Today we needed to bring our laptops to the classroom to begin learning the state’s electronic system for data entry. This part of the training was to take place in the afternoon. Most of us got our computers out in the morning so we could figure out spacing on our tables and cord alignment. After watching a video, the trainer says to us, “What did SoSo say about computers during class?” (SoSo is one of the big dogs in the department.) She gives us all a look you would give to a 3 year old you were admonishing for stealing a cookie before dinner. “She said absolutely not,” the trainer goes on in her ‘you did a no-no’ voice. “I’ve seen people fired for it. If SoSo came in here, she would look over your shoulder, pat you on the shoulder, and take you out of here. I’ve see it done.” Um, okay whatever. I’ve seen SoSo twice since we started training and while she is a top dog who knows she is a top dog, I don’t see her firing someone for having their work-issued laptop out during a work-related training. If trainer lady didn’t want us having our laptops out during the first part of training, she simply could have said that rather than trying to threaten us with SoSo firing us.
  • She says one thing and then does another. Going back to the authoritative thing, she insists on everyone raising their hands to speak. Fine, but it’s not always going to happen when you have a large group of people passionate about their work and what they are learning. So on Tuesday, we are discussing something and she is enforcing the hand raising. She says to us, “Some of you who are not speaking up need to start talking.” She tells one of the training observers that they need to watch the class and let her know who isn’t speaking up. Well, I had not said much of anything up to this point, so on the next discussion point, I enthusiastically raised my hand. I was prepared to comment. She didn’t call on me. No big deal, I thought, I will comment on the next point. Again, my hand goes up. Again, trainer lady calls on the same select group of people who were previously doing all the talking. Well, okay, next time, I think. One more attempt and one more denial and I was done. Forget it, if she is only going to call on the people who already do all the talking, then she can’t ask for other people to speak up.
  • She lied to us. We had a little competition yesterday at the beginning of our discussion on sex abuse. We were separated into groups and had to come up with words people might use for different body parts, for example, breasts. The point of the activity is to show that there are many terms we could hear while working in the field and we have to be prepared for them and be able to use the terms when talking with children and not be shocked or laugh. Anyway, my group scored the most terms and trainer lady said she would bring us a prize that afternoon or the next day (which would have been today). No prizes were had. This is not really a big deal, but combined with all the other stuff, she is just grating on my nerves. Treat us like children and we may act like children. I want my prize, dammit!

Needless to say, this has not been the easiest week of training. I am getting sick of being away from home and now I have lousy trainer to top it all off. Boo!

By the way

Sorry I didn’t post sooner, but here’s the story behind the “What is it ” photo posted on August 4th:

I’ve not kept up on the house as well as I should since I am doing so much traveling between home and the state capital. Before I headed up to training the week first week of August, I cleaned out the fridge and found a small carton of cream in the back. When I poured it out these clumps of mold got caught in the sink drain. I know, icky, but it made an interesting photo. :)

I don’t promise anything…

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’ve started several posts recently, but they just don’t go anywhere. So, here I am again trying to write something I think people will be semi-interested in reading and again failing. I am going to finish the post, but I’m not promising anything. If you get bored, go ahead and hop on over to another blog. I’ve got some really good ones linked over in the sidebar.

Today I’ve felt some of my old depression creeping in. It may be a one-time thing, but I will have to keep an eye on it and talk with my doctor if it begins to be an ongoing re-occurrence. I am again in the state capital training for my new job as a CPS assessor. That is over three hours from M. and my boys (the cats for my infrequent readers). That could be the reason for the downer mood tonight. It could be the weather. Today was kind of dark and dreary even though it didn’t rain.

It could be the abuse slides we had to look at today in training – bruises. I didn’t feel too bothered by it, so we’ll have to wait and see how I feel in the next couple days. We will be going over burns and sex abuse. People keep asking me how I like the job so far. I have no answer for them. I think this is going to be an incredibly hard job for me to do. Not because of the children in bad homes and situations – I can handle that, most of the time. What is going to be hard is that I need to go to people’s homes and engage them in conversation. I have to be able to talk with people and ask them questions to draw out information. I am not the most talkative, engaging person. I have to work at meeting people, talking with people, asking people about themselves. But this is a job I want to be able to do, so I am willing to put in the energy and effort it is going to take me to do it, but I just don’t want to screw it up in the meantime. Because it’s important. Because it can mean the safety of children.

Tomorrow brings a new day and I am looking forward to that. Better yet, I wish I could fast forward to 8pm Friday evening…

Did you read my email?!?

I know I am probably guilty of this too, but something that just really irks me is when you email someone and they reply with some stupid answer that doesn’t even address your question.

For instance: earlier this week I received an email from the school I was planning on enrolling at for a library science degree. I was a bit surprised since I had made the decision to defer my enrollment and thought I was set for a year. This particular email was about the financial aid form I submitted. Apparently, I had not indicated enough credits per term to be considered for financial aid. The email requested I complete a new form, which was attached to the email, and send it in at my earliest convenience. Okay, I thought, no big deal. I will just complete a new form and send it back in.

I put it off for a bit while I did other internet things: reading other emails, browsing through my FaceBook news feed, catching up on my favorite blogs. Then I went back to the email and took a look at the form. The form states:

To be considered a full-time student you must be enrolled for at least 12 credits (undergraduate students) or 9 credits (graduate students). To be eligible for federal loan funds, you must be enrolled at least half-time. Students enrolled less than half-time are not eligible for most federal funds.

How do you interpret this? The way I interpreted it was that I had to be enrolled for at least 9 credit hours for the school year to be considered full-time and that would be more than what was needed to be eligible for federal funds since it was full-time which is more than half-time. This may be totally off, but I read it several times last night and each time came to that same conclusion. There are 4 terms in the school year, so on the original financial aid form I submitted, I wrote I was planning to take 3 credits per term for a total of 12 credits for the year thinking I would be exceeding the requirements stated on the form.

I still planned to get a new form completed and mailed in, but I was now confused since the email from a guy who’s signature says he is the Assistant Director for the Student Resource Center/Financial Aid stated that I needed to be enrolled for at least 4.5 credits per term to be considered for federal funds. I decided to reply to the email  to see if I could get clarification on the issue. Here’s my email:

On the financial aid form, it states that to receive aid a graduate student must be enrolled at least half-time and that to be considered full-time, graduate students must take 9 credits. Is this 9 credits per quarter or 9 credits total? I was reading that I would need to be enrolled in 9 credits total, and the 3 credits per term would fulfill this requirement since there are 4 terms and I would then be taking a total of 12 credits. Your email and the actual form seem to say two different things to me.

I am also deferring my enrollment. How does this affect the need to redo this form? Thank you for your assistance.

And here is the reply I received today (again from the Assistant Director for the Student Resource Center/Financial Aid):

Thank you for your e-mail.  Under federal guidelines, a student must be enrolled at least half-time per term in order to receive federal aid for that term. If you are planning to defer your enrollment, then you will want to fill out the revised form indicating the number of credits for each term that you plan to be enrolled.  Once we have received your revised form, we will be able to process your financial aid based upon your specifications.  Please feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions!

Well, Mr. Assistant Director of Financial Aid, I did ask you a  question and you kind of just glossed over the entire thing even though it was the bulk of my email to you. Yes, I understand that there appear to be Federal guidelines in place dictating how many credit hours I need to take, but why does your financial aid form seem to contradict this? If it doesn’t contradict the Federal guidelines and I am confusing things, why did you not explain things for me?

It is probably a lost cause to again email Mr. Assistant Director of Financial Aid again, so I guess I will place a call to a person and actually speak to someone. The entire thing is most likely a lost cause since it is very unlikely I will qualify for any financial aid no matter how many credits I am taking.

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