A friendly reminder (and a vent)

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bella84, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2018

    As the title says, this is just a friendly reminder that you don't know what others are going through at work. I think we spend a lot of time thinking about how our actions affect our students, but sometimes we don't afford the same consideration to our colleagues. I experienced something awful this week, and I wish it hadn't happened.

    To lay it all out, I had a miscarriage late this week - while at school, when I had only five minutes before I had to pick up my class. Despite my inkling that this would happen, I was still pretty devastated by it, but I managed to get through the school day. I'm doing somewhat better now, but I can't seem to get out of my head what happened the next day. I had told three colleagues the day that it happened, and they were all very supportive and helpful. They even covered for me to get me out of our parent back to school night that just happened to be later that evening. The next morning, though, we had an assembly, just like we do every week. Recently, we hatched some baby chicks at our school, and the PE teacher wanted to celebrate by having the entire school do the chicken dance. She called up nine staff members, at random, to do the dance on stage. She thought that she was being fair by drawing names, without first checking to make sure that people were willing to have their names entered in the drawing. So, my named turned out to be the very last name called, and I had to go up on stage and do the chicken dance in front of the entire school - while I was reeling inside and barely holding it together on the outside. Prior to that, I felt that I had accomplished something huge just by getting myself to work that morning and putting on my fake smile. I lost it after the dance though - in private, not in front of everyone. Fortunately, I have a really wonderful colleague who knew what I was dealing with and took over my class for me so that I could have a few minutes to myself. I was then able to make it through the day, but I was thoroughly embarrassed, as I'm sure the misery was apparent on my face the entire time I was up on stage. My students noticed, and they didn't hesitate to tell me. I avoided colleagues all day after that because I didn't want to hear anything about the look on my face - whether it was a joke or actual concern.

    Anyway, I know that she didn't know, and I know that I could have stayed home. But I did what I thought was best - go to school and try to make it through the day with the support of the few colleagues who knew. It was Friday, and the weekend was near. But having my name drawn at random without asking me ahead of time if I was up for it is something that I am having a hard time accepting. I'm angry about it, and I wish the other teacher had had the forethought to think about others before doing it that way. Even on my best day, I would not have been interested having my name called, and, on my worst day, it just felt like pure cruelty. So, again, this is just a reminder to think about what the teacher next door or across the hall might be going through before making a judgement about them or deciding to put them on the spot in some way.
     
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  3. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Sep 9, 2018

    Oh Bella,
    I'm so sorry - sending electronic hugs and you are right - We (I) often forget that everyone might be going through things about which we (I) have no idea. Thank you for the reminder - although I am sorry that it came at such a price to you. My heart goes out to you.
     
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  4. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Enthusiast

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    Sep 9, 2018

    I’m so sorry for your extreme loss... I cannot even begin to understand as I don’t have children and I greatly admire you for persevering in spite of this. I hope you can cope eventually.

    Hang it there! We’ve got your back!!!
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Sep 9, 2018

    Bella, I can relate more than you know about the miscarriage, and in reality, there is not a bone in my body that would head towards that stage to do any kind of dance, let alone the chicken dance. I am sorry that you were forced to endure this at the worst possible moment, but the last thing I would worry about is the look on your face. As others learn the details of your day (and somehow they always do), others will feel as you do, that a public performance should require consent before having a person's name in the hat. There are those who would find this harmless fun, and be willing participants. For some of us, it would be like hazing, no matter what day, irregardless of the circumstances, and just as hurtful.

    One of the worst things about being a teacher is that we are surrounded by children, who we like and want to protect, on some of the worst days of our lives. It is made worse because our students often read us far better than the adults we interact with. From my heart to yours, I send condolences.
     
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  6. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    Sep 9, 2018

    Hugs! So sorry for your loss. I can relate in a small way. A few years back, my father passed away on the first day of school. I took off for a few days and communicated everything with my principal, but he didn't share anything with anyone. When I returned, I actually had a colleague ask how my vacation had been. Talk about a tough time to hold things together!
     
  7. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Enthusiast

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    Oh my gosh, that’s horrible. In public schools, are principals allowed to share that information with staff or can they only say you are taking an extended leave of absence for personal reasons?
     
  8. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Devotee

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    Sep 9, 2018

    I'm very sorry for your loss. Doing the chicken dance in front of the whole school would be difficult for me under normal circumstances. The teacher should have gotten your consent.
     
  9. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    I am so sorry for your loss.
     
  10. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Sep 9, 2018

    An administrator should never share that information with staff. Unless, however, the staff member has given his/her permission for the principal to divulge that information.

    I don't know how it works in other districts, but in mine, an employee can enter their absence into the system if it's between 1-5 days. They have to input a reason, but they don't have to personally tell us (admin) anything. Any absence that goes beyond 5 days in a row needs to have a doctor's note (the note is not submitted to the school office, it must be faxed directly from the doctor to the Personnel Dept).

    Personally, I like when people give me a heads up. I like to know what's going on so I can assist in any way possible--even if it's just providing emotional support. One year, we had a third grade teacher who had a parent (I believe it was her mother?) suddenly pass away. I wrote her sub plans for 3 days in a row because one of the other third grade teachers was brand new and the other was on maternity leave and had a sub.
     
  11. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Sep 9, 2018

    I'm so very sorry for your loss. You are an amazing person to have pulled it together. You are amazing for having been nice enough to go up for the sake of the event. I wouldn't chicken dance on my best day, but there you were. You are amazing. Hugs to you.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Sep 9, 2018

    I had tears running down my cheeks reading your post, bella. I'm so sorry. I am amazed at how well you were able to carry on.Thank you for your reminder about how important it is to remember to treat each other gently.

    We often have "teacher games" as part of our assemblies, but participation is strictly voluntary.
     
  13. MathGuy31

    MathGuy31 Rookie

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    That is terrible. I hope you are doing better than is saddening to go through this. The teacher that did this had good intentions from what I've read but shouldn't draw names to have teachers do this and could have thought this through beforehand. The principal or any member of the admin may have required or strongly suggested that this teacher would do this and put out teacher names. When our school does things for student council, we always say, "it's optional but never by any means feel you (teachers) have to participate in so and so". I hope any teacher on here that reads this should also be able to say "no thanks" to these things. I would let your admin know as well about this. My guess is that the leaders of the school required this. That is what happens when most of our student council events come up, our principal shares and says what some ideas should be for the school and unfortunately they aren't always so good like the one at your school.
     
  14. Aces

    Aces Comrade

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    Oh honey I'm so sorry to hear that. Is there any thing I can do? My heart is hurting right now.
     
  15. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Thank you all so much for your condolences. Part of me wondered if I overreacted due to my state of mind right now, but it helps to know that, so far anyway, no thinks that I did. I agree that some would find this to be harmless fun, but, for me, it added to the pain and misery and that I was already feeling. I sat there watching the other eight names get pulled, thinking "there's no way she'll pull my name... I can't do it." And then she did. I got some looks of concern from those who knew, but no one, including me, knew how to save me from having to go up there without making a scene. So, I went up there and felt like I was in cloud, just wanting it to be over.
     
  16. Aces

    Aces Comrade

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    No no honey your reaction is completely appropriate. For me, in a good day u would have done it just because I'm extra and don't care. But if something had of happened to one of my kids? Oh geez I don't even think I would have come to school! I think I would have used a personal day. And perhaps that might be prudent for you to consider for tomorrow, just to make sure you're okay?
     
  17. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    It wasn't our principal who required this. It was completely the PE teacher's idea. It's just her personality to do something big and "fun" like this. I'm sure the principal gave her permission to do it, but I'm confident that it wasn't his idea. In fact, I told a fourth colleague about the miscarriage right before the dance. She's a close friend who I hadn't already told. She had heard that I had a "family emergency" the night before and she wanted to check on me. Then she told me about the conversation that she had with the PE teacher the night before about the chicken dance and how she was going to draw names. My friend was all worried that she'd get called up there, and then I was the one who did.

    I actually didn't even tell my principal about the miscarriage. I had planned to return to school for the back to school night on Thursday night when one of my teammates called me and told me to just stay home. She told me that she'd just tell the principal that I had a family emergency and couldn't be there. Apparently he didn't have any issue with it and said that I'm usually there for everything and it's not his business to know what was going on with me that night. He just wanted to know that I was okay. I very much appreciated that this was his response. Part of me thinks that I should share my situation with him, but it's nice to know that he doesn't think that I owe him an explanation.
     
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  18. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Sep 9, 2018

    I'd be miserable under those conditions, even without suffering a miscarriage. I'm glad you were able to hold it together, but you shouldn't have been put in a situation like that. Honestly, if people are going to do something where they are embarrassing colleagues, they should ask for volunteers in advance. The kids don't need to know that not every name is in the hat.
     
  19. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Actually, I had a personal day planned for tomorrow anyway, for a completely unrelated reason. So, it works out nicely that I do get an extra day before returning to work. Honestly, that's probably the main reason that I went to work on Friday. I already knew that I was going to be out on Monday, and I didn't have any sub plans together for either day. So, I figured that I could get through the day and make it to the weekend.
     
  20. Aces

    Aces Comrade

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    Well make sure you take some time to get yourself back together, ok? Things like that hit hard and in unexpected ways after the fact.
     
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  21. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2018

    I am so sorry. Some people think their good ideas are good for everyone, without thinking it through.
    Be good to yourself.
     

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