How are your co-workers treating you?

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by ZoomZoomZOOM, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Nov 3, 2008

    We've been teaching now for 46 days (I know this because we keep track in calendar!) and truthfully, I only have one close friend at my school. And honestly, I only think we're good friends because we're both new and both new to the school and our classrooms are near one another.

    Not only that but I've been approached by two different co-workers who've asked me if I was "okay" and if I needed to talk about anything, I could come to them. :huh: I have no idea what they're talking about. Then I got the impression that they think I'm uptight or something. (When I told a friend of mine this, she cracked up and said, "YOU? UPTIGHT? They don't know you very well!") And it's true. They don't.

    To make matters worse, I went to a school social outing after pt last week, and my friend and I sat by ourselves because no one else would sit with us. I don't get it. We're pretty friendly people, and smile and say "hello," etc. Granted, I don't eat in the lounge for lunch, I stay in my room. Only because I tried it one day and nobody even looked at me. It was like I didn't exist. I thought "screw this" and went back to eating in my room.

    I'm serious guys, it's really making me paranoid and has me doubting myself. I wish it didn't bother me, but it does. I get the feeling that they're all talking about me and there's some viscious rumor or something that has everyone ignoring me. But I have no idea what it could be.

    What is the general attitude toward new teachers in your building? Our staff likes to "talk the talk" and "walk the walk" aka "If you need ANYTHING AT ALL, don't hesitate to ask!" but then when you smile at them in the lunch line, they look right past you. :confused:

    [note: if you guys all come back and say, "No, my staff is GREAT! We go out all the time and they're nothing but friendly to me!" I'm going to burst out into tears!]
     
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  3. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Nov 3, 2008

    Last year, there were 3 first year teachers and we all formed a bond. My school is very clickish, gossipy and petty. Not only were we not entirely accepted by them, but we didn't necessarily want to be! We have our own little group and it is fine.
    I am just now (5 marking periods later) beginnig to feel comfortable with a few of them.
    Hang in there!
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 4, 2008

    I think they may be misinterpreting your actions.

    You need to take control here. Of course you should be eating n the faculty room-- why on earth would you avoid it? They think you're standoffish because that's how you've been behaving.

    Today, go into the faculty room at lunch, pick a table and say, "Do you mind if I join you??" No one will mind.

    Two coworkers have attempted to include you. So approach those two with a question. They'll be happy to help and may prove to be a valuable resource. So find them today. Tell them you realize the holidays are coming up, ask them what goes on in your school.

    You and your friend sat alone at the social outing. The other teachers assumed you were more comfortable that way. It's up to you to break out of your shell and join a group.

    I think you'll find that a little effort goes a long way. The upcoming holidays are a perfect chance for you to ask questions and become part of the larger group at the school. It's going to take some effort though; everyone is so wrapped up in their own lives an their own classes and their own work that they simply don't realize that you're feeling left out.
     
  5. resourcestress

    resourcestress Rookie

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    Nov 4, 2008

    I agree you need to make an effort but I must also mention my school is the same way with petty clicks who don't approach new teachers. I eat in my room because I don't want to talk about things that don't interest me and that sounds petty but most of the teachers are much younger and I have nothing in common with them. At larger functions I do make an effort to talk to those in my field and we get along. Schools can be very petty. Hang in there. They may have asked if you are okay because you looked stressed or they felt you might be overwhelmed being new. Sometimes I have an expression on my face that people read as anger but it's worry or stress and I have to explain.
     
  6. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Nov 4, 2008

    You said you ate in the lounge one day, but then gave it up. One day is not long enough. Make a committment to eat in the lounge every day for at least 3 weeks. If you still aren't meeting anyone, then I can see not keeping up with it -- but one day? That isn't trying. Make a point of saying at least one positive thing to someone each day in the lounge. That may lead to a conversation. Without a conversation, you will never get to the "making friends" stage.

    Second, work isn't a place to necessarily "make' friends. These are your colleagues, not necessarily your friends. Try to develop friendships outside of work. You can't count on your work place for all of your friendships. Yes, it is nice to have some friends at work -- but teachers are often so into their own world, it takes a lot to draw them out.
     
  7. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Nov 4, 2008

    It sounds like you don't want to be a loner but your actions are telling people that you want to be left alone. One day in the faculty room is not enough. If you want to relate to your coworkers, then hang out with them during the down time. They didn't know you before so I'm sure it was awkward. Try again and jump into the conversations. Show them that you want to get to know them.
     
  8. PinkFish

    PinkFish Rookie

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    Nov 4, 2008

    I was feeling the same way about my coworkers. My team teachers would stop by and ask me how things were going but yet they would just ask and run along. I felt totally rejected and had had a very similar experience in the lounge and was eating in my room. Then one day I had a meltdown because I felt so alone, it gave my team a chance to see that I really felt isolated. Now my team teachers feel like family. We talk in the mornings and I made it a habit to eat in the lounge (although I prefer eating in my room where I can clean up a bit and check my email). It wasn't easy but I started just walking up to them and starting converstaions with them asking them how they were and now I really feel like part of the team but it wasn't easy.
     
  9. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Nov 4, 2008

    I agree with others, I think you might be the one who needs to start the conversations...but also remember that you have been in school for only 46 days! You still have about 75% of the year to go! That is a lot of time to "make friends"!! My first year at my current school I had one co-worker that I was close with, and as time has gone on I have many more. I agree that it is not only about friends- co-workers are there to support you in your classroom and share ideas, not necessarily talk to you about personal things...so keep your one friends close for those personal things and try to talk to others about school-related matters- ask them about their students, find something about their classroom to compliment on, talk about a school-function, etc. I am sure things will get better as the year continues!:hugs:
     
  10. scooter503

    scooter503 Comrade

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    Nov 4, 2008

    A lot of it has to do with school environment. Two years ago I had a semester long LTS job at a school that I had never subbed in before. The very first day I was there, the grade level staff invited me to eat lunch with them (they ate in a classroom because there were more staff than room in the staff lounge). I always felt very welcome and they were SO helpful whenever I needed something (and didn't make me feel bad if I had to ask).

    Now, I am a first year teacher at a school where I had subbed for the past four years. So, yes, I know the staff well. It is a VERY small school and very clique-ish. I attempt to be friendly with all the staff, but don't like listening to a lot of them complain about parents and students during lunch (but I do eat with them every day). My mentor has not gone out of her way to talk to me since the first week of school, and I take most of my questions to a different teacher (my mentor teaches first grade and doesn't know my grade level/curriculum very well). I have made efforts to be friendly by joining their "group" and talking after school, but honestly just feel they are gossiping and my time would be better spent getting stuff done in my room.

    So, in my opinion, yes, make more of an effort, but it may not help. Different schools have different environments, and yours may just be a less friendly one.
     
  11. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Nov 5, 2008

    Wow, lots of different advice! Some of you told me to start conversations and ask for advice whenever possible... and then a couple other folks told me that they tried this but had a hard time because of the different teaching levels/grades, etc. I think that's what I'm running in to. I teach the only self-contained special ed classroom in the school. While the rest of the students in the school are 5th grade and above, my kids are about K-2. So yeah, it's kind of hard to find common ground where the kids are concerned. Maybe that's part of my problem. But I liked the idea about asking Q's about the school and holidays. I'll give that a try. As far as eating in the lounge, I'm not sure that folks notice that I don't eat there. We are on a block system, and everyone gets 30 mins over three different lunch shifts to eat. I believe that 1/2 the staff eat in their own rooms. The other 1/2 are divided into three shifts over an 80 minute period. For all they know - I'm in there, but just on a different shift. So I don't think they would think me stand-offish because I eat in my room.

    One breakthrough, and I think another gal mentioned this - is that I've been invited to go to out on Friday after school with three other new teachers that are feeling left out. So hey, at least I have those guys! :)

    (And just for clarification because I think my original post was misunderstood - I'm not looking for close, personal friendships. I'm just looking for some friendly acknowledgement. I feel that I already give this to everyone I see on a daily basis.)
     
  12. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Nov 5, 2008

    You will not know until you try.The teachers who came to you were probably trying to be friendly and help you. If there is something you need advice on take them up on their offer.Try to approach some of the other teachers and try talking to them about topics not related to school.If you avoid them you sending them a signal you do not want to have anything to do with them.
     
  13. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Nov 5, 2008

    Zoom, I totally agree with Alice on this one. If people offer help take them up on it.

    Also, don't read in to what is going on too much. You will drive yourself crazy, but do put in a little effort and eat in the lounge occasionally.
     
  14. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Nov 5, 2008

    Good I am glad you got the happy hour invite. Areyou going to go?
     
  15. MMRbella

    MMRbella Companion

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    Nov 6, 2008

    I had the same experience last year (this is my 2nd year of teaching). A lot of people thought of me as "uptight"-- which is really not true. I tried my best to be friendly with everyone, but because I really didn't know anyway that well, I always felt like an outsider.

    However, it was different at the end of the year, and of course-- the beginning of this year. I had a chance to get to know everyone and they had a chance to get to know me. Now I don't feel like an outsider anymore.

    It'll get better!
     
  16. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Nov 7, 2008

    I was a resourse specialist for a yr, which is already pretty isolating because there's just one RSP teacher on any given campus. It was also my 1st yr as a teacher in general. I never had any friends at all. I always told myself that when I get hired, I need to get in there, eat lunch in the lounge, be friendly, the whole bit. Well, I guess that's easier said than done. The other teachers really weren't that friendly. Of course there's that one or two that may be a little friendlier than the rest, but no one I'd call a work friend.

    For me personally, there's a point when I get really tired of having to be so friendly only to get this "what are you doing here" type attitude in return. I'm at the point where if I make a friend or two at work, fine, but if not, I'll just do my job & go home.

    I'm actually the sweetest person anyone will ever know, but people don't give me a chance to get to know me to even know that about me. In my entire life, the only people who really know me are my parents & my boyfriend.
     
  17. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Nov 7, 2008

    I'm starting to get some respect from my department, so YAY! I'm the first Title I teacher assigned to Social Studies, so nobody know exactly what to do with me. Now I'm creating study guides and recording myself reading the material for those who have trouble reading or who are so busy they need to download class to their iPods. Now I have teachers calling me to ask if I can do the same for other Social Studies classes other than the one I help teach.

    We don't see each other in person due to the nature of my school, so the professional respect goes miles.
     
  18. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Nov 7, 2008

    I'm a private school--- I think that's probably why the staff is great: Admins know we can be getting paid ALOT more in public schools. We do go out, I am part of the small "cool" teachers that go out to a bar together once in awhile, I have one really good friend here (same grade, but she's 40), and our Admins plan after-school stuff... we're having a tea today from 3 to 7 to talk about our book fair and what not.

    Yesterday I messed up and put my comments for report cards in the wrong folder. I didn't get chewed out, thank God, but they weren't happy with me. Today, one Admin double checked to see if I was going to this meeting--- I keep missing them, either because I show up too early and nobody is there or I've forgotten. I was kinda peeved about her doing that--- yes Admin I was going... but I had to make sure MY STUDENTS were getting where they needed to go first. To me that's so much more important than me making a meeting on time--- a tech meeting where we did something I already knew how to do.

    Otherwise, even though this private school has a TON of extra work, it's nice. I like my staff, even my supervisor, whom is known for being not so nice to most staff, is sweet to her dept teachers.

    I still think that it takes time to get to know staff and you have to make that effort to be social and put yourself out there. That's why I try to go to any social event that the staff has--- not games, but if I get invited out, I go. I think that lets them have a chance to see you the real you. I'm sorry that your school doesn't seem to have this, but give it some time--- like you said you've only been taking for 40-some odd days.
     
  19. blessedhands

    blessedhands Comrade

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    Nov 7, 2008

    So far they have treated me well. They are nice and friendly and willing to help.

    My CT and I had a small misunderstanding and within a week, I approached her and discussed the issues. We talked and worked it all out and now we are on the right track.

    Overall, they are awesome people (well majority of them) and I love working there.
     
  20. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Nov 7, 2008

    I didn't read all the replies here, but people ask me that all the time. I finally figured out they see me talking to myself or lost in thought and it looks too serious.
     
  21. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Nov 7, 2008

    Lemon, yes I went but only one other gal showed up - the friend I already had!

    MMR, thanks for that. I think you're right. I just need to try and think about other things and all the other stuff will fall into place.

    You guys will be happy to know that I did eat in the lounge today and it wasn't too bad. A few folks chatted with me. :)
     
  22. am elisheva

    am elisheva Rookie

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    Nov 19, 2008

    My school is just twisted....

    We have several new teachers and we all get along pretty well because we all feel like mushrooms...thrown in the dark and fed BS...

    But in my depatrment, I hardly ever eat in the dept. louge b/c it's also the math workroom; it's a long closet with one fridge, one working microwave, hardly any walking space and up to 15 other teachers at once...cluastrophobic and annoying...I need some quiet time, so I usually go to my room or find some other place to eat.

    My dept. head is really close to my P, best friends in fact, so there are those are try to get close to her and will do whatever that takes, even stabbing other in the back. Then there are the rest of us, left to fend for ourselves...such is life. I'm fine with the small group I have; there are still people I don't feel comfortable around at all, so I avoid them if possible.
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 19, 2008

    Another idea for what it's worth.

    Next Wednesday, bring in a plate of cookies or something, with a "Happy Thanksgiving, love ZoomZoom" card on them.

    I bet that a few people seek you out with a thank you. When they do, ask what they're doing for the holiday.
     
  24. Sphinxxy13

    Sphinxxy13 Rookie

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    Nov 20, 2008

    Its just like being in school :p It takes a while to make new friends etc. I feel the same way at my work. I moved from a big city to a much much smaller city. (only 1 high school for the whole place). Everyone has pretty much lived here their whole life, and know generations of families. Talk about hard to fit it. Everyone seems to know everyone else...except for me. I'm just trying to stick in there, and hopefully I'll be able to chime in next time. :)
     
  25. Rockys_Mom

    Rockys_Mom Rookie

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    Nov 22, 2008

    Last year I was completely isolated from all but my paras, and one other teacher, who I also went to college with. I chose to keep myself isolated though, because it was a very unhappy school with very unhappy, petty staff.

    This year, is 180 degree difference. I mainly spend time with my dept (spec ed), mainly because there are a LOT of us. But staff goes out of their way to make you feel included. Our administration also believes a lot in team building, both in AND out of school (if you get my drift). A lot of my friends are also new teachers, but we spent almost 2 weeks together before returning staff began the year.

    I would suggest picking one of the teachers who have already approached you and approach them. Ask them a question, or if they're on the same lunch block as you, to eat in your room. I personally do not eat in the teacher's lounge because of all the gossiping that goes on. I'm not a gossip fan.

    I also began volunteering to work different events at the school. I've sold tickets to football and volleyball games, chaperoned homecoming, etc. I've bonded more with people in that type of academic yet not academic setting then I did in school. You could find a club or sport you have some interest in, that way you and the other staff member have a built in interest base.

    Just a few ideas.
     
  26. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    Nov 22, 2008

    It takes time...especially if the school environment is cliquish. Also since you are new even if you did sub there you weren't there to know what was going on before you got hired on, there could be a lot of other stuff there that you wouldn't know about and the staff could be leary of new teachers. Also, everyone has their own personal issues/problems so don't worry or over think it, just be yourself, say hi to whoever and start a conversation when you have something to say, don't go out and force yourself then it will be awkward and strained. If there is a larger social event with more staff that's when I wouldn't just sit with your 1 co-worker friend but try to mingle more there.:2cents:
     
  27. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Nov 22, 2008

    Hey... I like that idea. :woot: NOT that the other ideas are bad, mind you... :D
     

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