It’s all a matter of perspective.
According to me, this is what happened yesterday morning:
I was playing “Zap!” with my second grade mathematicians. They got a little loud with every additional zap that was added to the game, but they were loving it and continuing the count through every zap.
My principal came in with no smile. He said he was trying to talk with a school tour in the central area and he heard this screaming coming from our classroom and he had to stop and come find out what was going on.
I immediately apologized, explaining that it was a new math game we were playing and that things got a little loud and that we’d make a change.
He ignored me, looked right past me, and asked the kids if there was anything that they thought we should do about this.
They suggested closing the door. He said, “good thinking” and left the room.
I closed the door, mortified that we’d just screwed up his already stressful task of greeting and leading a school tour.
In my mind, I was already composing the hat-in-hands apology letter to my principal.
According to my principal, here’s what happed yesterday morning:
He was in the central area, speaking to a new group of perspective parents on the school tour. He heard some noise from the second grade room. He stopped his schpeal to his audience, excused himself for a moment, and told them that he had to go investigate this excess noise.
He saw that we were playing a math game.
He went back to the parents and said, “it’s math noises. There’s no way I’m getting in the way of that excitement.”
He continued his tour, and even had them peek in our window to see how engaged the mathematicians were.
He made a mental note to thank me later for setting him up for the perfect school tour delivery of what happens in school on any given day.
There I was, convinced that I’d ruined Jim’s morning.
There he was, chuckling in his mind about how he just put on this great tour.
When we finally had a chance to chat face to face and all of these misunderstandings came out, boy did we laugh! He ended up being the one to apologize to me for making me stress for a day.
It’s all a matter of perspective, until you put assumptions aside and get the information straight from the source. As it turns out, your brain may not be the most reliable narrator.