Not feeling like you "belong" at your school

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jan 24, 2013

    I've been feeling a bit bummed out about work lately. I don't really have any friends in the area. I moved an hour away from home for work. My fiance and I hang out a lot with his friends from work and their girlfriends/wives. Other than that, I don't really have any friends around here.

    In the past, my most closest friends have been people that I work with. I understand that some people like to separate their work and social lives, but I enjoy having friends at work. It makes the workplace more enjoyable. It is my 2nd year at my current school. The climate is very strange this year. Many of the young teachers are VERY stressed and on the verge of nervous breakdowns. One recently quit, and there are many others who want to look for a new job after this year. I feel that these teachers are pretty "whiny" and negative. The unfortunate part is that they are all on my team. :( So, I think that many other teachers think that I am the same way as them, and they view me as being whiny and negative, even though I don't really act that way. I considered these people my friends, but I have a really difficult time being around their negativity lately. I realized that they were really bringing me down.

    There are a lot of people in my school who are close. They have their little "morning meetings" and get together and talk. I understand that it is only my 2nd year, and that it takes time to build relationships, but I just feel so left out. It's like half of my school is whiny and negative, and the other half are all BFF's and have a history together. And then there are the people who just view work as work, and don't really care.

    I don't really know the point of my post, but I just feel really bummed out about it all. The climate of my school is really weird this year...It's hard to explain, but I'm trying to figure out where I fit in, and I want to make a good impression on people. Whenever we do have an event of some sort, I always go. I just want to work with other people who love teaching as much as I do, and want to be friends with me. I feel like a 5-year-old! :lol:
     
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  3. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Jan 24, 2013

    :hugs:

    I understand the feeling.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    I also understand. I'm in a new school, and although I already knew or knew of most all the teachers because I went here and even had some of the teachers in elementary, it is NOT the same as my last school. I miss my friends and I can tell I just won't find those same close relationships here.
     
  5. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jan 24, 2013

    I'm sorry to hear that others feel the same way as I do, but it IS a bit comforting. ;)

    A few months ago I learned about a "secret" wiki where people plan summer gatherings. At first I was a bit hurt that no one ever told me about it, but I guess the gatherings mostly involve their kids, and I don't have a kid. I have had a really tough week, so I'm probably just crabby and over-reacting!
     
  6. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I wish we could all be at a school together!!!
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jan 24, 2013

    My team is always joking about how we're each others only "real" friends at work. It is different for me because I used to work on a small staff where most everyone was really close. This building just has a different environment. Our admin is pretty bad so there is just this general feeling of fear/distrust in the building. I trust my team and I'm afraid to go outside of that boundary since there are people that report back to the P. I don't want to go to any work happy hours or anything like that because it feels like "work" to me and worrying about what I'm saying/what people think of me/what might get misconstrued is just so exhausting. I think a lot of other teachers feel the same way about their teams. Although I love my team and consider them close friends, we're all so different in ages/lifestyles (some of them are married/have kids and are all wrapped up in that, etc.) that we don't really spend time together outside of school. In my last location I only really had "work friends" and although it was nice for work, I am thrilled that I have so many "non-teacher" friends here. There are a lot of teachers my age in the building and sometimes I wish I were closer to them...but based on what I've seen, I just don't think our personalities are a good fit.
     
  8. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Jan 26, 2013

    :hugs: That sounds hard. It's funny because even though I feel close to my team at work and we laugh, joke around and have powwow's, I almost never hang out with them outside of school. To be honest, it feels kind of weird and I'm always afraid we'll have nothing to talk about when the kids aren't around (which is a little true...even though we talk about things other than the kids, 95% of our convos are about the children, admin, or something school related).

    My fiance doesn't have many friends in this area and the people he works with are kind of unpleasant and cliquey, so he feels like you I'm sure. It's hard. I wish we were at the same school.

    Fiance and I have talked about signing up for Meetup.com. It's not a dating site, but different social groups in the area that get together because all the people are interested in a particular topic/activity/event. I saw one for "Triple Dating" in which you meet two other couples and go out for something fun, like bowling, a movie, a concert, etc.

    I feel a bit isolated and lonely even though I grew up in this area and have several friends I grew up with that live nearby.
     
  9. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    Jan 26, 2013

    I joined a small, tightly knit staff 4 years ago. It took a while to really feel settled and like I 'belonged'. Maybe last year?? So my 3rd year there. Does your school organize social events? I forced myself to go to social events outside of school to help get to know my colleagues. Also offering to collaborate helped a lot, too. Now I am very close to some staff members - one even set me up with a family member!

    ETA: Invite some over for a dinner party with their spouses - start initiating things!
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Wouldn't that be cool! :thumb: I have a feeling we'd never get anything done! ;)

    I feel the same way DP and I've been at my school for awhile now. My team is always changing with people either leaving for another job or moving to another grade level (then I just never see them anymore).

    There are a few groups of teachers who socialize together, but really not very many. I don't think they are meeting for happy hour or anything, unless I'm completely out of the loop. We all have such different lives-some are parents, some aren't, some work a 2nd job, etc. It does hurt though particularly on teacher workdays where a group will go out to lunch together-I don't really feel comfortable just inviting myself, but I envy that connection they have.
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jan 26, 2013

    DP~I'm sorry you're feeling this way. Like MissScrimmage, it took until my 3rd year (this year) for me to really feel like I fit in with the staff. I have gone out with a couple of staff members outside of school to dinners and movies and that has been really fun. Hopefully we can continue to do things like that.

    Kinder~I have a feeling you're right!
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    I don't really want to do things outside of school...in general I don't "socialize", so inviting people over for supper or going to the movies or whatever wouldn't happen in a million years. It would just be nice to "mesh" and enjoy each other's company while at school. I'm not part of a team, so that's unlikely to happen much.
     
  13. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jan 26, 2013

    I am so sorry to hear that. At my old school (this is my first year at my new school) I didn't feel like I had any real friends. I definitely had teachers who I would go to Starbucks with, or something similar, once in a while, but a close friendship, not really. I am starting to make some friends at my new school and feel closer to my team than I did to the teachers at my old school. I think it might just take some time, but I am more concerned about the negativity at your school. That can really bring a person down. I sincerely hope that the morale improves soon.
     
  14. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jan 26, 2013

    I am only close with one person at work. My team is full of veteran teachers with spouses and kids, where I am single and 24, so we just aren't in the same place. I wouldn't mind going out with anyone, but nobody ever really does stuff like that.

    I usually make most of my new friends at work, so it's been kind of hard for me!
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I teach at a large school with around 130 teachers. I feel pretty isolated these days. Part of it is the physical location of my classroom, which is away from the building and waaaay out in the boonies near the tennis courts and football field. Another part of it has to do with some major staffing changes over the past few years. I used to feel like I fit in, and I got along with lots of teachers there. Nowadays, though, I realize that I don't even recognize lots of the teachers that show up for staff meetings. I have a handful of friends that I sit with during staff events, but mainly I just hang out with one other person in my department. She'll be going out on an extended leave next month, so I don't know what I'll do then. I'll probably become even more anti-social than I already am.
     
  16. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    Caesar, that sounds pretty...well, not good.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that a big part of it is that we've basically stopped socializing as a school or even as large groups. We used to have a fair amount of time built into our development days where we would interact with each other. We used to go to baseball games as a staff (well, whoever wanted to go). We used to have happy hours after school. We don't really do any of that anymore.

    We also have a lot of newer and brand-new teachers on our staff, and they are in the part of the year where they're just trying to keep their heads above water.
     
  18. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    This makes a big difference. I joined a well-seasoned team. I was the first brand new teacher in at least 10 years! Since everyone else was on top of their game, there was lots of socializing so I jumped right in and got involved.
     
  19. brigidy

    brigidy Comrade

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    Jan 26, 2013

    While I get along with everyone I work with, I have difficulty making good friends. I am teaching at a different school this year so that makes it even more difficult. So, I do understand.
     
  20. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Our school has gotten very "cliquey" over the years. We are a small staff to start with, so it is really noticeable. I have been thinking about asking for a transfer.
     
  21. Jlyn07

    Jlyn07 Comrade

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    Jan 26, 2013

    This is my second year at my school too and I often feel like I don't belong. During school events (staff meetings, superintendent's days, etc) I don't have a group to sit with and that makes things awkward for me. I'm pretty shy and don't open up very easily so I don't feel comfortable just going up to someone unless I know how them very well. Everyone says hi in the halls but I don't think it makes a difference to them if I'm there or not if that makes sense, but I find that happens in all areas of my life so I think it's more of a me issue. Either way it gets very lonely sometimes.
     

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