September 7, 2011 10:54 AM Subscribe
How do I deal with a basically useless rule that I am supposed to enforce (at work)?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I work within the administration for a language program for American students, in the country where the language is spoken. I am American, but the in-country director and other staff are all natives of the country.
The director made a rule that the American students must speak the language they are learning "at all program activities, events, in classrooms, and offices". Okay, seems somewhat reasonable (students have advanced language skills).
She reads this rule to them at orientation, but does not talk about it. They continue to speak English at orientation. She says nothing. I work in the office where students come most often, and she is next door. Therefore, I see the students the most. Last semester I started speaking English with them part of the time, because she didn't seem to be enforcing the rule at all. She then told me that I, and they, were speaking English too much and that I need to enforce the rule. So this semester I have told them when they arrive that they must speak in language in the office, and I have not been speaking with them in English while in the office. (the office is kind of a communal space where they spend a lot of time).
Most of the students will speak in language most of the time. When they haven't, I've been reminding them to, but then I notice that I am the only one doing so, which seems strange since I am the only non-native language speaking staff member. The director will stand right in front of them, smiling, while they break the rule, and say nothing. I have asked her to say something and she says she will but I haven't heard her say anything yet. None of the other staff say anything. So I feel like I look like a jerk to the students.
Frankly, I hate being the only one to enforce this rule and I don't undestand why it's a rule if it is not enforced by the director. Further, if the director is not enforcing it then of course the students are not going to take me seriously. Moreso because I am not a native speaker.
So my question is, how should I deal with this? I already told the students to speak in language in the office so I feel if I stop holding them to that I look like an idiot with no authority. At the same time, it is also idiotic to be the only one to enforce the rule and I can't force the director to enforce it.
This is driving me somewhat crazy. I am thinking that now I should speak to them in language, but not really enforce the rule. If the director says something I will then tel her I cannot be the only one to enforce the rule- that won't work.
However the students are in the office a lot and I find the whole situation awkward. There are other staff in the office but they do not enforce the rule.
Any thoughts would be helpful!