My First Year...placed with a monster of a Co-Teacher. Help!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MsDaoust, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. MsDaoust

    MsDaoust Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2015

    This is my first year as a teacher. I got a job at a charter school teaching 6th grade ELA/SS. What I wasn't told was that I would be co-teaching. We each have our own room with our own kids (roughly 20 for each of us). But basically all 40 students are ours. We have to plan together and do everything the exact same.
    I met with my new partner, and she is a massive control freak (those were her own words.) I have so many awesome ideas, and I have already been working on my room the past two weeks. She has already told me I have to change everything because thats not how she does it.
    She told me she does not grade papers, so I will be doing all of that. She also told me that during pre-planning this week, she will be planning everything and I will be decorating her room. I am not an intern anymore! I am not there to be pushed around, we are supposed to be equals.
    I am struggling to stay positive. I am very excited to be teaching. She has been teaching for over 14 years, and she hates it. She no longer wants to be a teacher. She told me not to volunteer for anything, and not to put out any extra effort for the school.
    This being my first year, that just isn't my style. I want to be as involved as possible.
    I am very thankful that I found a job teaching the subject I love.
    Any ideas on how to deal with this crazy year that is about to come my way?
    I am thinking that I can suck it up for a year, and try to make the best of it. But at the same time, it's my first year and I want to do things the way I have been dreaming of for so long.
    Thoughts? Suggestions? Help?!
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Aug 9, 2015

    You need to nip this in the bud, now. You are NOT responsible for decorating her room, you are NOT responsible for doing all the grading for her class, you are NOT responsible for changing your room around to fit her whims. Period. As far as the planning goes, it is natural that she take the lead there, since she's done it for so long, but you are a professional, and your opinions should be valued as well.

    You need to schedule another meeting with her and address these things head on. If that doesn't work, take it to administration. A colleague being a control freak is one thing. A colleague expecting you to decorate HER room and do HER grading is another thing. Ridiculous. It makes me mad that somebody would even have the nerve to verbalize that to a colleague.
     
  4. Mr.Literature

    Mr.Literature Companion

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    Aug 9, 2015

    I recently made a post about a co-teaching nightmare I had as a first-year teacher.
    I had a ton of great advice from people on here. I'll link you to it when I have a chance.

    This sounds like a very horrible situation to be coming into your first year and I'm truly sorry. That being said, I truly think you should contact administration. You can be very kind and professional when you do this. Just ask to have a sit down with them and your co-teacher so that expectations can be outlined.

    The biggest mistake I made was backing down and not pursuing help from either my academic coaches or mentor. I was in a bit of a different pickle in the sense that this person was friends with the principal. Hopefully asking for help will work in your favor. It isn't fair for her to treat you as anything less than a professional. I understand she has 14 years under her belt and this is very valid. However, you can both learn from one another. You bring fresh ideas and she can give you insight on things that you hadn't even thought of.

    One thing I will mention though is that you said you decorated the room already. Why don't you offer that she can change her space and you can sort of split up the room in half? Either way, be vocal, be polite, and be the bigger person. Don't let someone like this win because it isn't worth it. Because of my co-teacher I hated coming into my classroom every day. But now I'm in a new school and let me tell you I am in heaven.

    I truly hope things work out and you should keep us posted!

    *edit*
    You also mentioned at the bottom of your post that you wanted to do things the way you had dreamed of. This is good, but just keep in mind that in a co-teaching environment it is all about give and take :) some days you just have to let go and let the other person do what they think is best. It is a balance. And if you survive this year, you'll survive the rest!
     
  5. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Aug 9, 2015

    Um. No. What? No. Just no.

    Grade her work? No. Decorate her room? No. Don't suck it up! "I'm sorry, but I'm just too busy to grade your students' work or decorate your room for you."

    Plan some stuff and say "here's what I'm doing on X day." If she refuses to ever go along with your plans and ya'll get called out for teaching differently, explain that she refuses.

    You've got to take control before school starts or she's going to walk all over you. She's apparently been getting away with it for too long.
     
  6. MsDaoust

    MsDaoust Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2015

    Thank you for pointing out that you looked back and regretted it! That is one of my biggest fears. But to know that someone else was in a similar situation, and didn't speak up and regretted it, is an eye opener for me.

    I am someone who hates confrontation, and I hate running straight to my principal before the school year even starts.
    I just have to find a NICE way to not back down!

    Thank you for sharing your story with me!
     
  7. Mr.Literature

    Mr.Literature Companion

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    Aug 9, 2015

    I just re-read your post. My mistake! I hadn't realized you each have your own room. (Things that happen when you try to read the tiny words on your phone)

    Count yourself very lucky that you get your own room. I was miserable walking into my classroom and seeing her there. While I agree that sitting down with her might be a good thing because involving administration can make things a little touchy, it's also good to have another person there to make sure that things don't escalate. You can see her personality, if you know she will bully you and just be incredibly rude, then maybe don't risk having this conversation by yourselves. She might say some inappropriate things that you will then have no proof were said.

    Also, here is the link
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=189725
     
  8. Mr.Literature

    Mr.Literature Companion

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    Aug 9, 2015

    Here's the sad part. I did seek help. I went to my administrator. But was told that it would be best to just leave the situation alone. So for months I just let things go and didn't bother doing anything because of how close to the end of the year we were. This woman really was a monster.

    I also just read your post to my mother (20+ year veteran) and she agrees. That you have to go to administration at this point for your own safety. This is very inappropriate and you need to take care of yourself.
     
  9. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Aug 9, 2015

    I have team taught twice. The first experience was awful. I recommend going to your administrator and asking how they want it done. My first team teaching partner was very close to being fired. She was a mess in the classroom. In fact, she was an first year teacher and they fired her at the end of the year and she did not pass her entry year certification evaluation. I was transferred to the class on a Thursday afternoon on a long weekend and given a purchase order to the local teacher store and Walmart. I was told to redecorate the room and get it organized by Monday. I asked if I could have my co-teacher's number so I could discuss the changes with her. My new principal said, "NO,I told you what to do and I expect YOU to do it." Needless to say on Monday morning when my co-teacher came in and I had done everything the principal had told me to do, she (the co-teacher) threw a fit. Luckily for me, the principal had a plan of improvement where she had been told to do everything a month prior. It was an awful year. I hated being in that position. I recommend sitting down and having a talk with her and administrator.
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 9, 2015

    I'm sorry....she doesn't grade papers? A talk with your admin is definitely in order.
     
  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Aug 9, 2015

    Yep!

    This needs to be nipped in the bud NOW!
     
  12. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Aug 9, 2015

    What a horrible way to start off your very 1st year to be teamed up w/ this, ahem, teacher & I use the word loosely. I feel for you! Yes, don't back down, but it looks like you're going to have a LOOOOOOOOONG year full of butting heads & arguing every minute. I hope she doesn't get into any shouting matches w/ you.

    Does your principal (&/or) VP seem suppoprtive at all?
     
  13. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    Aug 9, 2015

    OH HECK NO!!!!!!!!!!!

    You'll be miserable if you listen to this control freak. She can decorate her own room and grade her own papers. Your rooms do not need to be carbon copies.

    Please stand up for yourself! And don't be afraid to involve admin if she says that's the way she's always done it. Time for a new way of doing things lady.
     
  14. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    Aug 9, 2015

    I agree this needs to be stopped immediately. I would keep record of her requests (if you can get them in writing that would be even better....perhaps if she sends them in email) so that it's not just "He said, she said..."

    I would definitely go to administration either way. I would just be honest and politely say that this is what she requested but that you want to be sure that you are doing what is expected of you from THEM, not her. I bet they will be shocked!

    I do feel for you. I hate confrontation, too, but you'll feel so much better if this just quits before it evens starts.
     
  15. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Aug 10, 2015

    Control is the main issue. She may have other "issues" as well like threatened by change, low self-concept (the need for control) and burn-out. I blame the school for "placing" you without any input, background or compatibility inventories. Before a trip to Ad' consider approaching this person in writing first. Express your concerns in a nice, professional way and how you feel. Somewhere in the letter write Is there anything special I should know about you? Who knows, maybe her father just died and her house was repossessed? In the letter ask for a meeting the next day or two to discuss your concerns. Make a copy and keep it. Purpose of the letter is to give her "think time" versus walking up to her and turning into a confrontation as she defends her "turf". There is no guarantee the letter will have any effect. It will, however, help show Ad' the lengths you have gone to remedy the situation if you decide to involve the front office. And it will give you practice dealing with difficult people, a skill most college methods courses never mention.
     
  16. Dynamite Boys

    Dynamite Boys Companion

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    Aug 15, 2015

    You have your own classrooms - there is NO possible way everything between the two rooms can be the same. Yes - you can teach the same lessons, but you'll still have your own twist on each lesson.

    I teach 6th grade math. There is another 6th grade math teacher. we plan together - we give identical assignments so parents cannot complain that one of us is "easier" or "gives less homework" than the other. We try to teach the same lessons each day - she has her twist, I have mine. Planning together, balancing our strengths and weaknesses, talking about what worked in my room or where I totally failed, is awesome! But, my room is decorated and set up to fit ME - hers is set up for HER!

    You do not have to be identical. Although you'll share information and strength and weaknesses of students, you need to take care of you and your students! Good luck!!!
     

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