Give Me a Break!

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Mystique, May 12, 2009.

  1. Mystique

    Mystique Rookie

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    May 12, 2009

    From the beginning of the school year, my new principal has told me that I tend to isolate myself from the other staff members. Technically, I'm still considered a new teacher from the rest. I get along just fine with everyone, I'm polite and discuss topics with them when necessary. But I'm just the type of person that focuses on the job-teaching and helping my students whenever I have a free moment, and I enjoy that. The principal has stated more than once that I'm an excellent teacher. She just doesn't like the fact that I don't hang out in the lounge everyday and chitchat on a daily basis. Of course, I have a few close teachers that I talk to. I don't see anything wrong with this.
    I'm upset because she has discussed this issue with me more than once, and I'm getting fed up about it. I do my job successfully, treat everyone professionally, yet I'm still frowned upon because I don't tell people my life story. She mentions that I'm going to be tenured, so she wants me to speak up more and share. I do share when its necessary, but what I do on break is my time-I shouldn't have to feel obligated to go in the lounge if I don't want to, right? I just don't get it. If I'm a great teacher, why give me a hard time?
     
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  3. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    May 12, 2009

    It's the same way in my school--- if you're not willing to gossip and share your life with people, they'll still be nice but you won't be invited to certain things or really be in the know. I'm naturally not involved like other teachers are--- I don't like to gossip, I don't have much to say about my own life (I'm single, engaged but not getting married any time soon, and I do more stuff online than in real life). But I really adore my students and love teaching--- you can't shut me up if its one of those topics.

    It's a shame your principal doesn't get it that a person can naturally not want to be social. To appease her I would at least drop by the faculty room once in awhile and chat and maybe go to an event you don't have to normally go to.

    I hate eating lunch in the cafeteria--- too loud, but that's where the teachers eat at their own teacher table. So once in awhile I'll suck it up and go sit with them. I don't have to say much and I think they do appreciate knowing I will sit with them. But really I've never heard of a teacher being fired for not socializing enough :)
     
  4. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    May 12, 2009

    Ooh one great idea that I did recently, I hosted a small BBQ at my apartment for some of my co-workers. We had a really great time and enjoyed being out of school and getting to know each other. We didn't gossip at all so I was very comfortable and enjoyed myself. Perhaps now that it's getting towards the end of the year, you could host a little something. You could even bring in some treats to the faculty room and I'm sure they'll be greatly appreciated too. :)
     
  5. Mystique

    Mystique Rookie

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    May 12, 2009

    I'm naturally a quiet person too, and tend to do things online as well. I have gone to the lounge a few times, but I guess I can make an appearance more often. I just find it funny how this is the first school I've worked for where the principal makes my lack of socializing an issue. I've always been this way! She even says that people will see me in a different way when I do talk, and may not know how to respond, since they're not used to me talking. In response, I just said that I'm there for the kids, and people will think what they want. I can't please everyone.
     
  6. Mystique

    Mystique Rookie

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    May 12, 2009

    That's a good idea. I usually bring in special treats for my students, so maybe I'll bring something special for the staff too. I will definitely do this! Thanks for the idea!
     
  7. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    May 12, 2009

    My school is similar, and I had this problem for the first few months (also new there this year), but I quickly realized that if I wanted to be in the loop on anything, I needed to take part on the "chitchat".

    So, I started eating lunch each day in the lounge, and chat with the secretaries from time to time. Due to this, I now know about events, major annoucements, even scheduling changes, way in advance of pretty much everyone else. It's been a bit odd for me, but it's also been very beneficial ultimately.
     
  8. scarlet_begonia

    scarlet_begonia Comrade

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    May 12, 2009

    I am in a similar situation. My director has said to me many times over the years that I don't stop in to chat. And I've never said (but always wanted to say!) that I'm with my kids, doing my job, and I don't have TIME to stop in and chat. And the people that are dropping in your office are abandoning their kids while they're talking to you! So I started making more of an effort to stick my head in the door and say "Hi!" and I also go out with co-workers to dinner. I've baked cookies too. It really helps if you are the quiet, do-your-job type.
     
  9. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    May 12, 2009

    I use to hear this from my co-workers ... they have pointed it out less to me since I changed my response to "I don't want to participate in the negative talk, the next time the topic is of celebration or bragging about a student or our school, you'll find me in that conversation." Smile.
     
  10. fratermus

    fratermus Companion

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    May 13, 2009

    The social topics in the lounges I visit are:

    * dancing with the stars
    * who is getting married
    * who is having a baby

    none of which interest me.
     
  11. english_bulldog

    english_bulldog Rookie

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    May 13, 2009

    I don't talk about my personal life much in school. There are one or two teachers that I confide in, but they were my friends before I even started working there, so there was precedence for it. Other than that, I generally don't get mixed up in the gossip. I just don't have time for it, really. *shrugs*

    Plus, I see teachers who get too wrapped up in it and they just become "Negative Nancies", as my mom loves to put it. Everything has to be a dramatic situation for them, and it's rather draining.
     
  12. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    May 14, 2009

    Draining ... EXACTLY!
     
  13. blindteacher

    blindteacher Cohort

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    May 14, 2009

    I am quite the same way, Mystique. At first my principal came to me, more out of concern, because she was worried I was having trouble mingling. However, like you, I am just naturally not much of a socialite and prefer to keep to myself in the professional setting. I also prefer to focus on my students rather than gossiping with other teachers.

    Perhaps you could explain to your P that this is simply your style and that it is what you are happiest doing. Even though it sounds like your P makes it out to be a problem, maybe you could flatter her and say "thanks for your concern but I am doing just fine."
     
  14. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    May 14, 2009

    I justed wanted to add that not ALL teachers lounges (I am sure that is grammatically incorrect) are centered around gossip. The last thing I want to do at lunch is talk about students, so we don't :) We do talk about our favorite tv shows, discuss the Cardinals and Cubs, how our own children are doing, how it's going taking care of our parents, ect . . . Our lunch is a time to destress and relax. Most of the time my stomach hurts from so much laughing :)
     
  15. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    May 14, 2009

    I agree. There could be gossip, but mostly ours is about sharing our lives. Listening to each other rejoice, whine, and share about the trials of their lives. We don't spend a lot of time talking about our students. We can't eat lunch together, so the twenty minutes or so that we spend during our planning is wonderful stress relief.
     
  16. nteacher

    nteacher Rookie

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    May 14, 2009

    yikes

    Some of the replies you guys have posted are just as negative as the "gossip" you find to be so troublesome. Why wouldn't you be interested in a coworker getting married or having a baby?

    It seems if most of you would just lighten up you might find that talking about "Dancing with the Stars" isn't as terrible as it seems.

    I am an extremely shy person, but I have found that being friendly to coworkers makes my job so much more enjoyable! Don't let yourself miss out!
     

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