Do you guys remember Nick Carraway from "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald? He was trying to talk some sense into Jay: "You can't repeat the past." And Jay Gatsby said, "Of course you can." So, I'm gearing up for this school year. I'm working hard at my classroom management and lesson plans. I do have a problem. I figured I would share with you guys. This is really important. I'm not telling you this to gain sympathy, and I'm not intending to vilify anyone. I'm telling you guys something that has been bothering me for a long time, something that's kind of been preventing me from wanting to go back. It's not about the inner city kids. It's about my old co-teacher. I do apologize in advance if this upsets anyone. Please know that it's not my intention. I just feel lost and vulnerable, so I wanted to come share with you. I was working with a very difficult co-teacher last year. She really, really hated me. From the second I walked into that classroom, she always belittled me or made me feel like crap about myself. She's not supposed to teach the class. I am. She's not in charge. I am. But still, she stepped on my toes ALL THE TIME, and she would complain that I wasn't contributing. I've been talking to my therapist about this. I just can't get over the way she treated me and the awful things she did and said. I'm really passionate and in love with literature, and that angered her so much. Every single day in the classroom, she would put me down in front of the kids: "I have no idea why Ms. H is here! She should have been a librarian." Or "I understand that you're passionate about literature, but you have to tone it down." I took out a non-school related book one day because I couldn't find the chromebook key cart, and she said, "Are you sure you should even be here?" As a new teacher, I would often make mistakes trying to adapt to the new school. I'm not going to lie. I was on the hot mess express! I acknowledge my shortcomings, and I always did with her. She would MAGNIFY the fudge out of them and give me hell every single time I messed up. "Many libraries are hiring!" She did something so awful that I can't seem to get over. When I first came to this school, I didn't realize that my VP boss hated guided notes. She says they're too "elementary", but this was after what my co-teacher did. I did things a bit differently with my other two blocks because my co-teacher wouldn't even let me come up with ANYTHING for the class she shared. So one day, she went into my folder while I was writing on the chalkboard, stole my lesson plans, and put them in her purse. Because she's bff's with the VP, she spied on my lesson plans and turned them in. I got in trouble with my boss at my post-observation. My observation lesson did not have guided notes, and I did not even give them to my VP. My VP gave me a low score for a lesson I did not teach! And what's weird: the stolen lesson plans were on the VP's desk with my co-teacher's handwriting. I got sick with the flu, and I was out for two days. I stayed after school when I came back to discuss our agenda for the new book. It's amazing the security guards didn't come to our classroom. She was yelling SO LOUDLY and completely lost it. - You're so obsessed with books! It's too much! - Why are you taking care of your nieces after school? THEY'RE NOT YOUR KIDS!!!! - Do you know all the horrible things our students say about you? They hate you! - You shouldn't be here! I don't understand why you're not a librarian! (I asked her to stop saying this and undermining my authority in front of the kids, and she did stop eventually). - I was going to report you for harassment! (This was because I referred to her as the Queen of AVID since she recently won an award for outstanding service in AVID) I bought her a $150 Alex and Ani birthday present because I did appreciate all the things she did for our class. I really wanted us to be friends. On my birthday, she did give me a birthday card, but I could hear her and the other ELA teachers talking about me while I was in the copy room. I think they were making fun of me for wearing the birthday badge my students had made for me. "Is she serious? And she's 28?" We taught a class in another teacher's classroom, and I was always the scapegoat if a student "stole" the teacher's cookies or if the classroom wasn't in order. Mind you, I was always late to my second class because I would always plug in the chromebooks, erase the board, and put the desks back in order. It was my job, after all! But she and this teacher are also bff's, so they always used to power walk to and interrupt my classes to tell me how crappy my classroom management skills were. "Not exactly your strong suit!" I went to her office one day because I needed to talk about fixing everything, all this hostility. She can be kind of aggressive and defensive, which is totally fine, but I actually started to cry. It wasn't because of her. I had gotten back from vacation that weekend, and my ex broke my heart. I told her the truth about how stressed out I was, how I was actually on anti-anxiety medication and going to therapy, and how my ex just recently hurt me, so I apologized that my work wasn't up to par. A week later, she said to me, "Are you sure you really want to stay here at this school? Because the other day in my office, you were having a MELTDOWN!" ----- I know this is all in the past. I know that, and I am grateful. But I can't stop thinking about it. Is it normal to feel so hurt? Maybe I was a crappy first-year teacher, but it's not like I didn't try. My principal told me that he was proud of me. And my VP was the one who rehired me! I guess I'm just afraid because I work in this school where many of the ELA teachers are so close to each other, and they all hate me. I can't walk past them without them giggling or talking. I'm afraid because I want this to be a pleasant environment. I asked my mentor last year (who's also bff's with the co-teacher), and she said to me, "I think the message has been received. You two are not a good match, and you won't be working together again." How will I go on working with no support from colleagues? I feel like I only have one friendly ELA colleague, and he's always the first to help me. But how can I stop my past from interfering with my future, like Nick Carraway advised?