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Loretta had a rough night last night. She took advantage of a 10:00 parktime and was restless and whining at 3:30. It was very hard to get her to lie back down, and I suspected this was due to her need to relieve herself. She did not touch her water this morning and peed as soon as we got out the door. I'll be speaking to pete at breakfast.

My pain level is tolerable this morning. I can walk normally but do notice some irritation. I am taking a break from supports for a day--they actually tire me since I'm not quite used to them--but opted for pain meds to give me a bit of comfort so that I can focus on working with Loretta instead of on managing my discomfort responses.

I wanted to write yesterday about the "dress code." This is a significant thing that sometimes keeps people away from the Seeing Eye. We discussed it at the table at breakfast because there was a meeting scheduled before lunch and none of us would have time to change. Pete explained that in the past, instructors would be sent away from the table if they did not come in wearing a suit and jacket, and likewise with students. However, instructors now often wear shorts to the table as long as they are in good shape. The dress code has relaxed significantly as cultural dress norms have changed. In the 1930s, when the school was founded, "business atire" was quite formal. Now, "business atire" often depends on your line of work. It may even be a nice pair of jeans or slacks in some occupations, and many pairs of jeans cost $50 to $75. I suppose this is hard to describe in literature, and they can't require people to bring a certain class of clothing. However, I think the literature does now say "business clothing," and if you call they say to wear things you might wear to work.

I wore jeans yesterday and sat next to Judy Deuschle. I bought new pairs of jeans for this trip because my pairs were all old and frayed at the bottom and had stains on them. I did bring things to dress up in; but in the past I have never been criticized for not dressing up when I didn't feel well. I suspect that the schedule now is also packed a lot tighter than it was when the school was very small, and that's something that they respect as well.

Later this morning, thoughts about dog handling and probably more historical stuff...


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 30th, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC)
re: dress code stuff.
Ok... Before I comment on that part of your entry I've a question for you... Given the fact that you pretty much I'm guessing have cronic pain do you think that if you were new guide dog user going through the training for the first time that you could cope with it?

On the dress code thing...

Honestly working for a nonprofit whether or not your clients dress up is not going to increase your donations. The whole "miss" or "mrs" thing combined with the dress code has always made the seeing eye in my opinion appear extremely snobbish, stuck up, and incredibly rigid even though the employees who are simply following policies may not be. That put me off about them for the longest time, and though I know that things have changed somewhat since your first visit--it made me wonder what exactly makes them so much of an attractive option to you to continue to go there.

That being said, I applied there and was accepted a long time ago and would go there regardless of my own misgivings because of their reputation and their reputation only--but there is something to be said with regards to making your clients feel that they are entering into a comfortable setting rather than a rigid one...

Hang in there!!
May. 30th, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC)
Re: dress code stuff.
I actually have never felt that things were rigid here, and that's part of why I wrote about this. It's very hard to convey the difference between what one reads and what one experiences. Even when I came here in 1991 and they still used Mr. and Miss 9which they don't do anymore), I realized within five minutes that it was not a stuffy atmosphere. We all wore jeans to lunch again today, and it's becoming something that is a choice. A lot of people do go on from here to get jobs as field reps or in other public speaking-type positions, and for those jobs it does tend to matter that you present yourself professionally. Since the Seeing Eye does a lot of hosting of tours for various agencies, it can be important to show up in the dining room not looking wind-blown, and many people really don't know what it means when you say something like, "Don't come in looking like you just ran a marathon in your old cut-offs." Occasionally there are clients here who really wouldn't care, and they do need the extra direction. It's really a throw-back to the old history, when in order to promote access they also had to teach and encourage good hygiene and manners because most blind people were coddled and treated like children. There are many things from that old history that are no longer done--they don't expect you to make your own bed, scrub your own room, etc. But they do try to maintain an image of dignity, and they treat you with dignity in the process. Even when I've been corrected, I have never felt that I've been treated like a baby, and I've never dreaded going on my trips or dealing with staff. I've learned that I can have some healthy disagreement and that there are things I need to do here because this is how it's done, and I have my choices once I get home.

As for why I keep coming back, there are many reasons. One is that I think the school does a reasonably good job of preserving the old stuff that is necessary while adopting the new stuff that is good. They have also been very good about some of the dog hardships I have faced, and I think that nationwide follow-up is crucial.
May. 30th, 2007 11:44 pm (UTC)
Re: dress code stuff.
I always thought of the Mr./Miss/Mrs. thing as a sign of respect--but that might be due to my southern upbringing. I can say that I like it a lot better when my students say Ma'am to me rather than HUH, and I do have a lot of respect for my instructors and what they do for me by training me with my new dog, and/or training the dog I work.

Now, I'm glad that mr/mrs./miss part of the code is dropped, but I am sad to see the dress code relaxed. I always viewed the dressing at lunch as a chance to try new shoes with my dog--to make sure I could wear certain pairs of shoes with said dog when working, and to just have fun. Of course, since I'm teaching now, I can't wear jeans to work, so dressing for lunch would be more like wearing work clothes for me...not to say that when I'm most comfortable, I'm probably wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, but, well, I'd wear 3 inch heels and a formal dress every day if that's what it took to get a properly trained Seeing Eye Dog.
May. 31st, 2007 12:01 am (UTC)
Re: dress code stuff.
I agree about the dressing up... I do quite a bit of speaking and singing in various types of clothing, and I view this as part of the training experience. I hope they will stop scheduling meetings during the 11:00 hour so that I have a chance to do it just for the experience of walking differently and sitting differently with loretta. And it makes me feel different to dress up. It changes my feelings about myself. Sadly, it took me quite a while to realize this. The joke around seminary is that people can tell how much pain I'm in and how little sleep I've had by how dressed up I am: the less sleep I have had, the more "up" I dress.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah Blake LaRose
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