I just returned from my meeting with Chief Mucky-Muck. It went better than I had expected it would.
He told me that all he’d heard (and all he really wanted to hear) was that there had been an interpersonal problem at the school, and that it had escalated to the point where the school wasn’t going to invite me back. He offered me an opportunity to tell my side of the story, confirmed that several of the things that I said had already been told to him by my supervisor (God bless him!), and offered that it wasn’t really worth going in and investigating further because “everyone’s a little bit right and everyone’s a little bit wrong.” I talked about how I’ve learned some very valuable lessons through all of this, how I’ve been almost obsessively introspective about the experience, and how it hasn’t (yet) dissuaded me from continuing in the profession. He seemed pleased to hear that.
I spoke about my frustration at being unable to handle all of this, about how I didn’t feel I was adequately prepared for having to deal with all this nonacademic stuff, and he said something strangely affirming for me. Every year, at least one or two (sometimes more) internships implode, and of those, almost 99.9% of them fail because of situations like mine; bad personality matches. He handled all of this very well because he’s had to handle this before with other interns. He wasn’t shocked or upset or judgmental. “It happens,” he said. “It’s not fun, but it’s not surprising, either. It’s just too bad it had to be you.”
We talked a little bit about what might happen next. He seemed very positive about being able to re-place me, and we spoke about my possibly being able to keep working with my supervisor – I’d like at least a little consistency in this experience. I mentioned that I’ve been in touch with one of my former high school teachers through all of this, and that she’d told me she’d be happy to take me for next semester. She got her Ph.D. from the Ed. department at this very university, she’s been a cooperating teacher AND an intern supervisor before, and she still teaches every year in the summer Literacy Institutes at the university. I left him with the contact information for her and her principal; I’m hoping that the person whose job it is to place me will seriously look into that.
All in all, it was a very good meeting. I didn’t feel that I was treated unfairly (which was a big concern of mine, given how blown out of proportion all of this has become), and I’m feeling pretty confident that I can move on with a new placement and a clean slate when the semester starts up again. I won’t know when or where that’s going to happen for at least another week, though.
Until then, I’m going to continue breathing in and out.