Sunday, November 2, 2008

My first group reflection

My first group reflection occurred on the 7th of October. At the time I obviously did not type out the reflection because it didnt go the way I wanted the experience to go but now I see it as a good learning experience. I can still remember what I said because I did a previous paper on the same reflection.

My account was of my first fieldwork experience. I had two supervisors(male and female). Both were really good occupational therapists and outstanding people. One of the supervisors however had a really thick accent which I had a lot of difficulty interpreting what he wanted me to do and felt embarrassed for everytime I had to say "Sorry, what did you say??.." Because it was my first fieldwork placement I would also like to add my inexperience at how to manage myself and knowing my limitations and my values and beliefs. I had (back then) very perfectionistic tendencies which I bought with me into my studies. In all cases it was me taking on too much and not knowing how to organise myself. But despite this weakness, I was very assertive. I asked a lot of questions, made friends easily with adults and stuck up for myself readily.

I then relayed to my group of an instance that occurred between myself and my male supervisor (with the thick accent). It happened approximately late in my third week. It was lunch time, and I was writing my notes down from the sessions with the students and starting on some paperwork for my other supervisor. My male supervisor promptly came in and interrupted me with some paperwork and recapping he wanted to do with me. I said yeah sure, can you give me 15mins to finish this other stuff? Sure he says. I went back to typing whatever. 5 mins later he interrupted me again with some more work he had found for me then asked me for the paperwork that I owed him.
This really pissed me off, because I could only mutitask and prioritise so much. I didnt say much except to again ask him to ask again later as I had a lot of work to do.
He got very angry at this stage and yelled at me, saying I should be doing the work he set up for me. At this, I too got angry that he was even talking to me in this manner and stood up and told him to back off and that I was working bloody hard for him and the other supervisor and that he had no right to talk to me like that. We both immediately stormed off in opposite directions.

Several influences contributed to that event and us sorting it out. Firstly, I knew my supervisor was incrediably stressed by a wedding he was planning the next day. So for the past couple of days he had inadvertantly sniped at a couple of staff members who all agreed he should not have been at work. I myself thought I handled him yelling at me pretty well. I knew he was a fantastic guy and supervisor and I myself am one of those people who dont judge people by how they act when they're stressed. Also, I'm pretty sure I was the first student nay first young person to stand up to him and stand my ground and I think that shocked him.
Later on that same day, he came up to me and apologised for his behaviour. In a REALLY humble sincere way too.

I was really disappointed at my groups response for varous reasons after telling this story. Firstly, at least two members made out my former supervisor to be a nasty sounding monstor. I was also annoyed at the teacher who pointed out that I was making biased assumptions of my own in the personality similarities between my former supervisor and my step father (who were both from the same town and county in Scotland). I could have (not that I was aware of doing so) - but I was just trying to point out that I understood my supervisors values and beliefs based on his culture.
Secondly, a number of members agreed that I should have laid an formal complaint. I did privately with my other supervisor but not to Otago Polytechnic, as I was worried about how this would affect my working relationship with him. I wanted to sort it out in an adult manner and I felt I did that, especially with standing up for myself with such outward decorum.
After, the feedback I felt as if the majority of the issue I had relayed was all my fault. I was trying to be open minded but I felt as if the group had no perspective from my eyes and were only relaying their own immediate advice - which we later we found out was not the point of the group. Thinking back now, I think I wanted positive feedback for the way I managed the situation and discussion of how I could have done it differently. All of which did not occur.
I did not feel as if I benefitted at all from that group reflection.

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