Difficult Teammate

Discussion in 'General Education' started by corunnermom, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. corunnermom

    corunnermom Rookie

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    Sep 16, 2018

    After being out of the classroom for ten years, I reentered as a first grade teacher at a very challenging school. I knew coming back would be difficult, but I'm slowly finding my way and figuring things out. I'm open to feedback and ask for help when I need it. For the most part, my school has a positive climate and the staff is very kind, understanding and helpful. We all have big jobs to do and we work as a team to help our kids.

    However, my teammate is very difficult and I'm not sure how to interact with her. In general, she has a very strong personality and is very black and white in her approach to teaching. She does not accept criticism well and I've never heard her admit her mistakes. She has been very rude to me. For example, before school started, we had a lot of meetings and our principal told us to come at 8 to school to start the meeting. Keep in mind that I had spent hours working in my classroom during the summer. I was unaware of contract hours being new to the district. For some reason, the district fails to tell you the important things. I walked into my classroom and my teammate said, "I was wondering if you'd be coming to school today. Contract time is 7:30 and you're late." I went in my room and just bawled as result of her comment and just being overwhelmed. Another time we were entering interventions for students and for some reason I couldn't remember what biweekly meant! My brain was jumbled. She said, "Biweekly means twice a month not twice a week. Duh?" She also got upset with me because I didn't ask our office aid to staple our math assessments. These are just a few of the comments she has made. The other day I made doggie treats for my dog and brought some in to share with her dogs. She said, "I can't give these to my dog. She's overweight as it is." No thank you at all.

    I try to ignore her most of the time and only meet with her when I have to. I'm not really being a team player but I'm tired of being abused. I dread our team meetings not only because she's nasty to me, but she talks very negatively about the kids...how low they are, how their parents don't help, how they talk too much, etc. I get negative about my kids when I'm with her and I DO NOT want to go that route. When I have a question, I ask someone else from another grade level or support team. I'm doing the best I can to figure out this whole teaching thing again and have enough anxiety as it is without having to work next door to someone so difficult! Any advice, ideas, thoughts?
     
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  3. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Sep 16, 2018

    My team member was a PIA too my first year. The make up of the team was S and myself (both newbies) and L & C (both seasoned teachers.) L was a huge pain. She was a "highly effective'' teacher in first grade and boy did she let us know it... and would complain constantly about her kids in third grade and how her scores will just plummet. She had her way of teaching and pretty much thought it was the only way... very by the book and boring (imo.) I remember I'd throw around ideas and say "what about...?'' and she would just shoot them down, "No that wouldn't work because...'' or "Well it's not in the curriculum so we can't...'' even though she did plenty of things "off book.'' I once asked her for some game ideas and she basically said "I don't believe, as teachers, we should be playing games in the classroom because blah blah blah''
    She was a pain on the first grade team and they were HAPPY to be rid of her. But we had her on our team and she really was my first intro. to how teachers on a team can be. Once I figured out what I was doing (by second quarter,) I just stopped planning with them and only attended required team meetings.
    I remember we were on a field trip one time, and she had a student with CP, walked with crutches, but they weren't smart enough to get a wheelchair for him and the walk was quite lengthy so she wanted me to CARRY him on my back. I didn't think it was appropriate, and was really shocked when she asked me, then she got all pissed at me when I wouldn't and barked at me in the hallway (in front of my mentor teacher.) My mentor teacher came in to my room later in the day to check in and tell me that she was WAY out of line. Uh yeah!
    I learned that this profession can be/ is dominated by a lot of really annoying people who really only care about their image and reputations.
    I basically just found my people (which included J, a second grade teacher,) and glued myself to her. :)Without her, I wouldn't have made it through that year.

    Find your people. That's really the best advice I can give.

    And not to generalize but I've had more bad experiences with ELEMENTARY colleagues than MIDDLE school colleagues.
     
  4. Tulipteacher

    Tulipteacher Rookie

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    Sep 16, 2018

    You're not wrong about biweekly--go to an online dictionary and you will see it can have both meanings.

    Now that you know how she is, you know to avoid her. She seems to lack social graces. So you will get an answer from her, like about contract time, but she won't couch it in socially acceptable, polite terms. ("They probably didn't tell you this, but our contract time is actually 7:30.")

    With people that negative, it can be fun to call them out at team meetings by politely saying that things are too negative or that there is no point taking team time to complain about things which the team has no control over. She probably won't change, but you'll feel better and other teammates may also start making the same type of comments you are.

    In our PLC we are required to have norms and one of ours is no negativity. We are supposed to call each other out when someone violates a norm, but nobody ever calls anyone out. But maybe that would work for your team.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
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  5. corunnermom

    corunnermom Rookie

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    Sep 16, 2018

    Thank you for your replies. I'll find my safe, positive people! One thing for sure...if I have some input, I want to change grade levels next year unless she moves to another grade.
     
  6. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    I think that is another reason for teacher burn out and turnover. Many teachers, especially newbies fresh from the gate, succumb to the conflict and just can't take it anymore. We think of teachers as warm, positive, inviting, etc. all the "fuzzy'' things because that's how they're supposed to be with students and yet so many are just terrible people and toxic to work with. And yet, these people, for whatever reason, continue to stay around. If you have "that'' teacher in the school (with a reputation,) the solution shouldn't be shuffling him or her from grade level to grade level. GET RID OF HIM! We all have bad days or can be in bad moods, but there are just some teachers who shouldn't even be on staff. And how they continue to keep their jobs is a mystery to me.
     
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  7. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Sep 16, 2018

    I am so sorry to hear you are going through this. This lady won't be a ray of sunshine for you, but she doesn't have the right to ruin your year. I would want to know how she behaves to other teachers. There is a difference between a nice teacher who singles you out and is mean and someone who has a rough personality and is insensitive to most teachers. I am guessing from your description it is the latter. If it is the latter, I'd remind yourself it isn't you, and avoid her as much as you can. Especially don't give advice or suggestions to her. She'll probably stomp all over you.

    If it is the former, that is different. Make sure you are being the one singled out and she is really nice to others. Then she probably won't stop unless you confront her on this. This could be harassment.

    I don't think this is the case. It just sounds like you are sensitive and kind and she is much more insensitive and blunt in how she communicates. Be the quietest one at a grade level meeting and observe how she is with others. That will give you the best indication of how to proceed.
     
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  8. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Sep 16, 2018

    I'm sure she's just an unhappy person. Most sites have a teacher on-staff who's similar to the one you described (a bully).

    Don't allow her to make you cry. Stay positive!
     
  9. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Sep 16, 2018

    Man, where are you in my district? I'd love it if someone made treats for my doggos. :) I'd have to mash them up since they are ancient and have no teeth, but, I'd be delighted someone thought of my pups. :D

    I'd say this lady is just being a pill for the sake of being a pill. Don't let her make you cry, she is not worth it.

    I'll second what readingrules12 has said, they have offered some truly great advice.
     
  10. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Sep 17, 2018

    Not going into too much detail but I too have a difficult team mate. She makes rude remarks to me and only me. She pouts when she doesn't get her way. I find her very condescending and and for the most part very stuck up. She WILL not change her way of teaching even though the principal on more than one occasion suggest that she should. She tried arguing with the principal about data, saying things like "the day we took the test this kid was not feeling good so the data is invalid" For me I just tolerate her. I am polite. I am professional. But I can't stand her. She looks down her nose at me and my teaching and well I could care less. My scores are not different from hers in the end so me and my whacky self will just keep on keeping on.
     
  11. MathGuy31

    MathGuy31 Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2018

    Good! I deal with one at my school, another math teacher. They are a pain! I don't understand why they are kept there.
     

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