Hard time with team member.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bewlove, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    Nov 24, 2015

    Hey, friends. I am having a TOUGH time with my teammate. She is also my team leader, so while I'm not sure that she is really my "boss", she is in a leadership role.

    She is so critical of everything that I do. I'm not saying that there aren't times that I may make a mistake-it is my second year and I am new to this school. I'm learning. But, rather than guiding me, she just makes derogatory comments in front of others. For example, I had a student take a test to determine RTI groups while there were some workers in my room. They were quiet, and I don't feel like my class was chaotic or loud. However, he didn't do so hot on the test. While we were discussing it as a team, I suggested that maybe he was distracted because of his surroundings. She made a couple of frustrated remarks about how I shouldn't have tested him during that time. Then she finally said, in a slow and frustrated tone, "Well, we just need to think about these things..." like I am a child being reprimanded. Obviously, if I had thought the environment was too loud or distracting, I wouldn't have had him take the test there. This may not seem like a bid deal, but when you are on the receiving end of these types of comments approximately 3 timers per day, you start to feel torn down, degraded, etc.

    I have tried the "kill her with kindness" approach thus far. Every day I ask her how she is, how her day is going, what her weekend plans are, etc. And every day she is very short with me. She never speaks to me unless spoken to. I'm honestly not sure why. I feel like I get along with everyone else in the building just fine.

    My new plan is to just not speak to her unless spoken to. However, we work closely as a team, so that is difficult. She will still manage to find a way to tear me down. My other teammates have noticed and mentioned it.

    She is making me hate coming to work. I love teaching and kids, but I am a sensitive person. I can't brush her comments off. She makes me feel incompetent and like I'm not worth anything to our team.

    What can I do? I don't really want to run to admin........I don't want them to think that I am the issue. So far, I have only received positive evaluations and remarks from them. So the hate is just coming from her.

    Help :(
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Nov 24, 2015

    Your team leader, among other things, is supposed to be your advocate, sometimes even your coach. This is clearly not the case, so she is not doing her job. I would talk with the administrator over her, mentioning your concerns more in terms of asking for guidance than complaining.
     
  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Nov 24, 2015

    As hard as it might be, I would try to approach her directly. Ask her for a few minutes of her time where it's just the two of you. Let her know your feelings and make it clear that you respect her leadership role and want to work together as a team. If she continues her remarks after that, then go to admin and let them know that you've already tried to discuss the issue with her. Both your admin and your team leader will likely have more respect for you if you try to work it out with her first. If you get admin involved before you even try discussing it with her directly, then she will probably react more defensively, and you'll have an even tougher hurdle to overcome.
     
    Obadiah likes this.
  5. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Nov 25, 2015

    I agree with the above, that sometimes discussing with the offensive person is the best result. Whatever happens, I would highly recommend not losing your temper. That might only finalize the situation and make any progress impossible. I would also hesitate in doing anything that would malign the lead teacher with the administration or even other teachers; she's survived there for some time, so she would know how to reverse the situation to make you look guilty instead of her.
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Nov 27, 2015

    If the other teachers on the team are noticing it also, you may want to talk with them first. They may have some insight, if they have worked with this teacher previously. It might be something as petty as you taking the spot of her best friend, or something. I'd recommend talking to her alone first, and then talking to her with your team second (or maybe with a "neutral arbitrator" like a guidance counselor). If that doesn't work, then you need to go to admin. If I were you, I'd start documenting your interactions, and pissibly consider asking your team to invite an administrator to team meetings, etc.
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Nov 28, 2015

    I have similar issues with my team leader. Luckily for me (not for them) she acts this way with the entire team, so I'm not really being singled out. My team is a little different since I teach sped- while we're technically a "team" we all have different roles. Our team leader is the school psych. The district set it up so that psychs have to be team leaders. Mine is very convinced that her job is much harder than everyone else's and she resents doing anything related to being the team leader. I get really irritated when she tries to be critical of something related to instruction because she's not even a teacher! She is extremely sensitive and gets hurt over the tiniest things, and then really takes it out on people, frequently by trying to make them look stupid in front of others. Luckily a lot of other teachers in the building have started noticing too, because she'll do the same things to them in RtI meetings.

    Last year I also tried the "kill with kindness" approach and while we seemed to get along better, it was so stressful for me. Since she's so sensitive, I always feel like I have to walk on eggshells with her. I have too much going on at work to worry about babysitting an adult also! This year I've tried the avoidance route. Honestly, our relationship is a bit more strained, but I am 100x happier just avoiding her and getting my job done. When I absolutely need to talk to her, I'm polite and get right to the point. Of course there are benefits to working closely with your team, but only if you have an effective team. I wouldn't worry about working together all of the time just for the sake of working together if your results aren't effective.

    You could try talking to your team lead and see if that goes anywhere. I tried this approach a few times last year and felt that it just led to more fighting/tension, but if you haven't tried it yet it's worth a shot. Going to admin is not really an option for me because they pretty much think our psych walks on water. She is constantly in private meetings with our admin and they make major decisions based on what she wants to do, so if I tried to go against her to them it would just reflect badly on me. If you do plan on going to admin about your team leader, I'd think about what her relationship with them is like, especially since she's been there longer than you.
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Nov 28, 2015

    As a team leader, I never speak to anyone on my team like that. However, that's also my personality. I am very respectful to others. In any situation, I always feel it is best to address issues privately and directly with the person you are having an issue with. Bringing others in before addressing it privately could be looked at as an attack, or stepping on toes. Many times the other person is not aware of how he or she comes across, so communicating how this affects you is your best bet in stopping the behavior. If you address it privately and it still continues, then you would be justified in going to your P for assistance.
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 28, 2015

    If it were me, the few times I had to interact with her, I would continue the kill-her-with-kindness approach, and just not address her at all other times unless she addresses me.

    One thing that I find is great about being a teacher, is you always have the option of just closing your door and not dealing with certain adults you don't like. You currently team plan with each other and you can't really avoid that, but since the others notice her behavior towards you, they can also see she is being unreasonable.

    If all else fails, the smile-and-nod works wonders and you don't have to say a thing or even listen. I've gone off to my happy place for minutes at a time, while the smile-and-nod technique did all of the work for me.
     
  10. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Nov 28, 2015

    I'd take a different approach based on what I've gone through. At my current position, I took over for a teacher that was put (pushed?) into a different teaching assignment at the school. That teacher welcomed me with open arms, but her buddy teacher couldn't stand me.... wouldn't talk to me, look at me, etc. Because I understood what had happened, I decided to give it some time to develop my own relationship with her. Turns out we have very similar personalities and I will now stop and chat with her while I'm picking up her homeroom. But, like with any relationship, it takes time.

    Jot down what issues she has with you and then try to bring it up again before that same issue pops up. If you know a student is taking a test that needs a quiet spot, chat with her one-on-one privately to get her insights. It will at least show that you're taking to heart what she is sharing with you. Maybe something is going on that you're not aware of that is making her testy - not saying it is okay, but perhaps you both need some adjusting time.
     
  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Nov 28, 2015

    I highly concur.
     
  12. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Nov 30, 2015

    Some teachers are not aware of this, but they become so used to talking down to children that they do it to adults as well. During student teaching, my mentor teacher did this, and it was incredibly frustrating. He didn't only do this with me, but his paraeducator, his wife, his grown children, etc. Just continue to act professional, and if you feel like she is talking down to you, you can say something to the effect of, "I'm not a child, please speak to me like an adult." I use the smile-and-nod technique often as well.
     
    teachsph2008 and BioAngel like this.
  13. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Nov 30, 2015

    I am in a similar situation except for we don't have one lead teacher. We take turns which is fine. I do have a problem with the teacher that seems to think she is lead teacher and everyone treats her as such. She is arrogant, controlling, bossy, and she talks down to EVERYONE. Her voice, her laugh, and her demeanor are simply annoying to me. I am professional when I need to be which I really can't say the same for her. She has made several digs at me which I found offensive and unprofessional. In my every day life I generally don't put up with much from people but because I need to be professional I have taken her with a grain of salt. I have held my tongue more than once around her. As far as her being a good teacher, she might very well be one for academics but I have seen and heard somethings that make me believe she is not about the WHOLE child. She has had several parents take their kids out move them to other rooms or completely withdraw them from school. So that being said I feel your pain!!!! Like several people have said just "Smile and nod"
     
  14. teachsph2008

    teachsph2008 Companion

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    Dec 6, 2015

    I tend to feel the same way you do in situations like this. What has helped me is separating my feelings from facts. Although I may IMMEDIATELY feel sad, hurt, pissed off, I ask myself is this person writing my evaluations? Is my principal happy with me? Anyone else said something to me about this?

    I won't say this method has eliminated my feelings, but I can now get over them quicker instead of dwelling on them.
     
  15. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Dec 6, 2015

    As a team leader, I have wound up having to be the intervening person in disputes between teachers. They don't seem to want to talk to each other directly but also don't want the other to know they've talked with me. It gets to be a juggling act! I would like to think that the members of my team would come directly to me if I did something that was problematic, but if they cannot talk with each other, I'm not so sure.
     

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