Among the several lessons that life has taught me, one that has stood me in good stead is the need to guard your turf. Just like a dog who zealously guards his defined zone, you should guard your turf.
Defining your turf is easy. A zone where you are the expert or you define the rules is your turf.
Here’s an incident that should give you the idea.
A class X student’s parent once barged into my office and demanded why I was sitting idle in my office when the public exams were going on. I asked the parent to calm down and told him that the students were writing the exam in another school that was a designated center and we teachers from private schools are not given permission to be there.
However the parent argued that we should be near the exam center vicinity in case his daughter or any other kid needs help. I assured him that academically the kids had been trained throughout the year. They were bound to do well. In case of other non academic issues like medical or administrative/operational issues, the government teachers at the designated exam center have been trained well to handle the same and they also have our school numbers in case they need to reach out to us.
This still did not convince the parent. He insisted that we are refusing to help students. I continued questioning him persistently on what help was he expecting from our end. He finally blurted out that he expected us to supply answer slips to his daughter. I firmly said that I do not support or indulge in such malpractices.
This reply of mine did not go down well with the parent. He started shouting at me and said that if this is the case I will withdraw all my remaining children including nephews and nieces from the school. I said he can do so if he felt that way. However I did not budge from my position.
As of today, 3 months from the time of the incident, he has withdrawn his kids. That is not an issue, but if I had let him trample my turf and dictate how I need to do my job, I would have ended up committing the biggest blunder of my life. I am proud that I guarded my turf zealously.