And the award for most awkward, uncomfortable breakdown of the year goes to...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Em_Catz, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Dec 20, 2010

    I feel really weird/bad about something that happened earlier.

    Basically, I was getting ready to go home. I had laid out the gifts I got that morning from my students. Nothing big, just a couple mugs, a necklace with a snowman, body lotion and a pen that says, "First Grade Rocks!" All cute. (which reminds me...i gotta get some thank you cards!)

    Another teacher came in my room, saw my gifts and was like, "What...did you send a note home or something for gifts?"

    I laughed a little and joked, "I've just got it like that I guess". And. She. Started. Crying. Big alligator tears. I was shocked and I didn't know what to say.

    The teacher began to rant. She said, "I don't understand it. I'm a good teacher too! I give out stickers. I work hard to meet everyone's learning needs. I stay after everyday. I give out treats. I don't talk to my kids like dogs the way a lot of teachers around here do. I really care about them. I even got them all Christmas goodie bags with nice stuff from Oriental Trading. And all I got was two gifts.

    I told her not to be upset because at least the kids were thinking of her and she got something. I worked at a school where the parents were upper class and I rarely if ever received (or expected) presents. Edit: I think I also told her that the kids aren't required to bring anything so whatever we get is extra.

    I also mentioned that since we teach at a title one school, a lot of the kids parents don't have much money.

    But she remained upset and said, "Then why did they give YOU so much stuff?"

    I really didn't know what to say or do. I gave her tissue and a hug and tried to tell her that I'm sure all her hard work is appreciated and not to be upset, but she finally was just like, "Whatever, you don't understand"

    And she left. :eek:

    :help: What do I say when i see her tomorrow? What was I supposed to say when we talked today?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Wow! I can say that each year I put forth the same effort with my kids and some years I get more gifts than others. Nothing is expected and everything is much appreciated! It just depends on the group of kids and parents. Some years you will get the very involved parents who send in anything you need. Other years you won't. I think that with the economy where it is, we are lucky to have the parents send in anything! Many of my students have parents who have been out of work for months.
     
  4. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    :yeahthat: I'm trying to decide if I should approach her or just pretend like nothing happened.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I would just let it go unless she approaches you again. She probably was just feeling unappreciated! It might have just been her way of venting. It's hard when you do everything that we do and don't get a thank you.
     
  6. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Dec 20, 2010

    Pretend nothing happened. I had an embarrassing breakdown with dh today and way over reacted. I was not mad at him, but I cried and raised my voice anyhow and the whole time I knew it was too much but I couldn't stop. I'm sure that is what happened with her. Probably a build up of stress.
     
  7. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Let it go. Neither of you are in this career for the prezzies or even the praises. You're in this because you care deeply about the students. I think she might have lost sight of it for a moment because of Holiday Blues. I'm sorry you were caught in the middle of her bluestorm.
     
  8. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I might be tempted to send a note or a card, as an encouragement to her, letting her know that you were there if she wanted to talk. Then I would probably act like nothing had happened. She is undoubtedly embarrassed by what happened, so just a smile might be enough to get her through the next few days.
     
  9. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Dec 20, 2010

    She's stressed.

    Give her a hug tomorrow so she knows you understand, but don't say anything unless she brings it up. And then keep it very light.

    At least I hope that's what it is.

    One of my good friends broke down a few years because she didn't win the teacher of the year for our school. She was so embarrassed for crying, but couldn't stop. It was total stress and feeling overwhelmed and not appreciated. She isn't the kind who normally would give a flip about things like that.
     
  10. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    wow there is definite underlying issue there. I have the problem when I get stuff it just being more of a pain (of course I am very thankful and excited for the kids). But there are only so many mugs or pens one teacher needs.

    I am more likely to keep cards and handwritten notes on notebook paper posted in my room than keep a mug.
     
  11. gigi

    gigi Groupie

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    She is stressed, saw the gifts and that was the end of it. Did it myself today (at home).
     
  12. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Definitely stress like the others have said.

    This time of year can be overwhelming for SO many reasons.. and she's likely feeling underappreciated and overworked in a few aspects of her life.

    Maybe wait a couple of days and shoot her an email.
     
  13. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I would go in tomorrow and pretend nothing happened. I'm sure she's embarrassed.

    I just think that's such an odd thing to be upset about. Most times the parents are buying the gifts anyway-it has nothing to do with how much a kid likes you. The kids kept asking me "why are teachers getting presents today?". I didn't get very many this year either-even some staff parents who usually will at least do a little Starbucks gift card or some gesture. It didn't upset me in anyway. I just think it's an odd reaction.
     
  14. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Could it be that her love language is tied up in gifts? You know some people have grown up in families where love is equated with the quantity and size of gifts. Is it possible she just lost it because of outside issues and it was set off by the competition factor?

    Year to year the gift thing varies. Some years I have received more candy than a person should ingest in a year's time, other years I have received enough lotion for all of a small state, and others not much at all. Maybe she doesn't realize that.

    How awkward for you! I'm in the just ignore it club and give her a nice card that encourages her. If she brings it up....well then you can talk about it. If she doesn't, just have amnesia.
     
  15. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I think I know how she feels. It is probably not the gifts but the thought behind it. Not to toot my horn, but I know I am a good teacher. Yet, other teachers always seems to get tons of gifts, and never me. While I don't care about the gifts, it would just be nice to get a thank you. My favorite gifts was a book a kinder wrote for me and a thank you card and a verbal thank you. :) Oh and a puzzle one of my sixth graders made for me to solve (it was a hidden message thanking me for helping her with math). This year, no thanks. Oh well , just then loving math is enough for me.
     
  16. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    Is this her first year? If so, maybe her expectations were too high. I only received 2 gifts this year. One was from another teacher who's son is in my class and the other was from a grandmother, this is the 3rd yr in a row that I have had one of her grandchildren. I don't expect anything so I am always surpised when I get anything.
     
  17. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I'm not even sure what advice to give s I won't. That was definitely an awkward situation to say the least. I hope it goes well when you see her again.
     
  18. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    I know some people say not to mention it but maybe you should. Obviously something is really stressing her out....give her a card and let her know all of the ways she helps you and how she is great with her kiddos. Let her know that everyone is stressed and that you are there for her. Sounds like there are other things going on.
     
  19. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    thats a good point. maybe thats how she was raised and is used to getting gifts from her family as a child to show their love

    that would bother me to and to be honest last year i was a little hurt myself because i did not receive any sort of appreciation from the parents except for one. it IS the thought. for instance, i had one child who colored me a christmas card and glued little pictures of animals from a magazine to it. that's the kind of stuff that makes me feel good

    personally, i would want someone to talk to me about it because i've had breakdown moments and normally i have no one except my mom. i remember my first year teaching i was about to start crying and i felt like i had no one at school to turn to for support which made me want to cry even more. i ended up getting in my car and driving to mcdonalds parking lot where i sat and sobbed. :(
     
  20. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    eek! I hope it's just stress too. No need to be crying over gifts. I would probably feel so awkward that I would just leave it be.

    I'm very surprised at this reaction as my coworkers and I laugh and giggle at the end of the day showing each other what we have received as gifts from our students. Sometimes it's pretty cool stuff, sometimes it's a stuffed animal from the dollar store or a mug that was apparently used at home.

    This year my coworker kind of sadly stated that she didn't get much this year. I told her "yea, I didn't get much last year from that group either but...whatever" We are a Title I school with free breakfast and lunch. You just gotta let it roll off your back....
     
  21. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    I got four Hershey's miniature chocolate bars from a fifth grader. For Christmas? That's what she said but it was a bribe to keep me from giving her a zero on a project she had not done. Bah humbug. I gave her the zero.

    In my opinion, it is wrongheaded to expect the children you teach to feel that you've done something special for them. Some might show appreciation in the way of gifts but professionally, expecting it? I don't think so. That's the wrong kind of reward system. That's something you seek outside the school building if you need it.
     
  22. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I agree it sounds more like stress than anything else, but her comments about the stickers, treats and (especially) the Christmas goodie bags make it sound like she is trying to buy the affection of her kiddies. That is just wrong on a number of levels.

    It IS hard to feel unappreciated for the effort we give and I'm sure that had more to do with her reaction than anything else. Sounds like she could definitely use a hug and some encouragement for the job she does. Even though we do this job because of the passion and love we have for the kids, it IS nice to get a pat on the back or an "Atta Boy" from time to time. Every one likes to be recognized for the effort they give.

    You know the teacher and the situation better than anyone here, so I'm sure you will find a way to lift her up and let her know how much her hard work means. She may well be embarrassed by her breakdown, but some heartfelt words of encouragement will still be appreciated.
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    She was upset. I think I would acknowledge that with a "How are you doing?" this morning, then let it drop. If you have the money and time, a small bags of Hershey's Kisses or Hugs might make her smile.

    We all know that the gift thing, particularly with first graders, is more a function of the parents you get than of your connection with the kids or the kind of teacher you are. If the parents think to buy teacher gifts, then the kids have nothing to say about it. I buy, wrap, and give the gifts to my kids to bring in, case closed.

    When Brian hit middle school, he announced that it was no longer cool to bring in teacher gifts, and that even a platter of cookies to the faculty room would be too embarassing. He's kind of shy, and what others think of him really matters to him at this point, so I've gone along with his wishes.

    But first grade? It's not about the teacher, it's about the parents. Also, I would be willing to bet that she has a lot of first time parents, who simply don't realize that some parents send in gifts, or that they supplement the gift that's given by the class.
     
  24. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Thank you to everyone and Alice for all the thoughts and advice. I stopped at Starbucks this morning to grab a coffee and following your advice Alice, I picked her up a danish and hot cocoa. She wasn't in her room, so I left it on the desk(custodians unlock our doors in the morning) with a little note that said, "Enjoy this sweet way to start your day" (yeah yeah, corny, but she teaches Kindergarten so I'm sure she's used to it:lol:)

    She thanked me later and said she was having a "moment".
     
  25. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    That sounds like a really nice way to cheer her up. :)
     
  26. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Thank you! I thought it was a discreet, non awkward way to handle it. I bet so many problems could be solved with a hot cocoa and a danish. :lol:
     
  27. gigi

    gigi Groupie

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    I'm so glad it worked out Peachy! That made her day I'm sure.
     
  28. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    ..or a glass of wine :)

    I'm glad the awkwardness is gone.

    Sometime you just need to vent to a friend. She's lucky she chose you.
     
  29. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    How incredibly awkward. It was kind of everyone to assume she was stressed. Not knowing her and forming an opinion based only on what was given, I would have simply assumed she was feeling ticked about losing a popularity contest. Some people really do care about such things. I'm thinking of one person in particular...

    We were out on the last day of school because of a winter storm and I got an email from a teacher friend that read: This sucks. I guarantee you I won't get my presents now! And I bet they'll forget in January and that will be the end of that! She also mentioned that a couple students did bring in gifts early anticipating school closing and she criticized one of the gifts. I didn't even know how to construct a response to that.

    :dizzy:
     
  30. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Wow! Those people really shouldn't be teaching. It isn't about the gifts unless you count all the lightbulbs that you turn on as gifts.
     
  31. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    YIKES! Gifts are great -- everyone enjoys getting them, but like a previous poster said (i think it was alice) the gifts aren't a reflection of the kids, rather they are from the parents. the gifts i consider from the kids are stuff like when they bring in drawings or one little girl knows i like turtles, so when she went to chuck e cheese, she used some of her tickets to "buy" me a plastic turtle ring. :wub:
     
  32. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    That was really sweet of you... I am sure that she really appreciated it! She is lucky to have a friend like you :)
     
  33. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    aw, well thank you. we have to support each other as best we can because, who knows, it might be ME next time freaking out over something seemingly mundane
     

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