The teacher that won't participate... in anything.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by i8myhomework, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 18, 2014

    This is a rant. There is a situation going on that is both saddening and frustrating, which stinks because my school is normally such a positive place.

    There is a third grade teacher and this is her second year teaching at this school. Last year she a little...anti social? Made very few friends and never had any interest in participating in fundraisers or activities. Now, a lot of the school activities aren't mandatory but at our school there's an expectation. We have had quite a few teachers that have come in, not participated, then quit the next year because they realized the school environment is not for them. We are all very close knit, we do a lot of activities for the school and a lot of us hang out together outside of work. Several times a year we all go out for dinner with whole faculty and admin there. So I guess you can guess the environment of the school.

    This morning one of the assistant Ps mentioned to a few of us in the break room that this teacher spoke with her and says she feels left out and that no one invites her to do anything. Apparently she's upset and expressed interest in leaving. Meanwhile last year:

    -She didn't attend any of the faculty and staff dinners
    -Always declined when she was invited to a movie or lunch or shopping
    -Leaves as soon as her aide takes over for bus duty
    -Declined to participate in every single school activity, for which there were many.The carnival, several bake sales, field trips, etc. You name it, she didn't go near it.
    -She eats lunch in her room and declines invites to join others
    -Never has any suggestions during Team meetings, even when directly asked.

    Anyway, I just feel frustrated and baffled. I feel like a lot of us have been nice, tried to get to know her, have tried to encourage involvement without being pushy or overbearing. I also understand that she, like most of, has a life outside of teaching. I also understand that school activities aren't for everyone and not everyone wants to participate in all of them. Which is perfectly okay. I am just really confused. If you choose not to participate in anything and never accept any invitations or bother to get to know anyone then why are you upset about not feeling involved? What?!

    The Welcome wagon was in full force this year as well. But so far... nothing. She's still leaving early and not really socializing.

    So... apart from hogtying this woman and toting her around in a wagon to all the fundraisers for the rest of the year... how can we make her feel more involved? I'm tapped out of ideas, as are my coworkers.
    :help: :dizzy:
     
  2.  
  3. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    4,395
    Likes Received:
    7

    Sep 18, 2014

    There might not be anything you can do. She might just be unhappy there, and when asked she had to tell the P a reason why. If you've done everything you can, then it might just be her.
     
  4. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    5,009
    Likes Received:
    391

    Sep 18, 2014

    She may just be an introvert.
     
  5. 1cubsfan

    1cubsfan Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 18, 2014

    She could be operating out of insecurity. She may be thinking, "They all no each other. I won't fit in. I just don't click with them. They'll just judge me. I don't have any good suggestions to make."

    She isolates herself, but perhaps she doesn't see why.
     
  6. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,949
    Likes Received:
    17

    Sep 18, 2014

    Her happiness (or unhappiness) is not your problem to take on, IMO. You have done your part by trying to include her in things, the rest is on her.

    I'm a big believer that I have enough problems of my own; I can't afford to take on any unnecessary stress or someone else's problems.
     
  7. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 18, 2014

    I agree with Go Blue. I've done a lot reflecting this year on how I interact/have relationships with my co-workers, and I am def. a people pleaser by nature. I want everyone to be happy, feel included, etc. I will spend my own money on gifts for people if they seem sad, I will obsess if I think I've upset someone and work to make they 'like me' again, and I'll go out of my way to invite them to events even if I don't REALLY want them there.

    This year, I had to tell myself to STOP. Seriously, it's not healthy. It's ok if people don't like me for their own reasons. It's ok if I only get myself coffee in the morning and not grab some for my entire hallway. It's ok if I have dinner with just one teammate and not the other.

    I have seen some of the teachers at my school exhibit behavior as you wrote about-they don't come to our school parties that are off-site, they don't come to evening events, they never invite people to just have lunch with them in their room or join them if they are going out. Yet they get super bent out of shape if you don't invite them. That use to stress me out. This year, I just keep reminding myself it's their problem and not mine. They get the same invites as I do. They've been there 15x's as long as I have-they obviously know when the big events are. It's the principal's job to talk with them if they aren't participating, not mine.

    So as long as you know you're doing the best you can, with limits, just keep telling yourself that she has the same opportunities as you do to participate. And she can make friends just as well as you can-I was new last year and I made a point to eat lunch in the lounge every day, pop by people's rooms, get involved in committees, etc.

    Hugs!
     
  8. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Messages:
    725
    Likes Received:
    78

    Sep 18, 2014

    I wonder if she sees you all so close and when she is around you, you are so involved in you and your friends that you forget she is there. Maybe it's like the kids in the lunchroom when a new kid comes in. The kids think that they are really friendly but not really. Has anyone ONE person asked her to sit by her at a PD and included her? Going out to eat with all of you who are so comfortable with each other may intimidate her and make her feel definitely on the outside. I know at our PDs, people are saving places for their friends so you know where you don't sit as they will ask you to move. Maybe it is some of that. On another note, it really isn't your responsibility to include her if you already do stuff with friends.
     
  9. physteach

    physteach Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    24

    Sep 18, 2014

    I don't really hang out with my coworkers, aside from times when I have to (required school stuff, "strongly encouraged" social events). I don't dislike them, but I have a very full life outside of school, as do many of my coworkers. We did have a person who really pushed for more constant socialization a couple years ago and I found it bizarre. I love teaching, I love my job, and I genuinely enjoy my coworkers, but my free time is for me and my family.
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,262
    Likes Received:
    745

    Sep 18, 2014

    Wow, I feel so sorry for this introvert who wants to be left alone. Please, please leave this teacher be. She is not social and that is fine. She is hired to teach, not to be social. Therefore, either leave her alone or talk to her kindly one on one. To some being in groups with their peers is a huge energy drainer.
     
  11. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,262
    Likes Received:
    745

    Sep 18, 2014

    To include an introvert, try to include her in a small activity that feels safe to her. No more than 4 total teachers involved and something without a lot of pressure to talk such as happy hour or a staff Christmas party. Invite her to a movie or play that she might like.
     
  12. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 18, 2014

    This is EXACTLY how I feel! I'm working on just letting it go. Part of me feels terrible she feels excluded... and yes, it does cause me stress, but that's because I work alongside her.

    Really I had just chalked it up to her being an introvert and left it alone. But now the assistant P tells us this and I'm like, "huh?", and the cycle of guilt started back up.
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    11,096
    Likes Received:
    2,752

    Sep 18, 2014

    Having been a new person to enter a large group of long-time colleagues, I think this may be a highly likely scenario. Any invite is added "after" everyone else has decided to do things together. The sheer numbers and familiarity of the "old group" create a wall that may be too daunting to scale. I could work with these colleagues one on one, but when they were en-mass, there was no way to "be" one of the crowd - I was always a stranger. The old group knows who eats what, loves to go where, and enjoys ______. That didn't happen overnight, and neither will the solution. Thin your ranks, approach singly or in much smaller groups and give everyone a chance to find common interests. Some introverts don't really care for the company of others, or crave it, while what many perceive as an introvert is actually someone who likes human contact, but suffers from shyness. I am the second version. I can appear confident when teaching or in charge of a group, but when I'm not calling the shots, the old shyness thing rears its ugly head. Being older doesn't necessarily make us braver, despite longing to belong.

    Try one on one, and give it more than just one shot for her to come out of her shell and believe that you really are interested in her. How could that hurt? :unsure:
     
  14. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 18, 2014

    No one is trying to make her be social? We always extend an invitation and that's it. It was her that went to admin and mentioned wanting to leave because she feels left out and that it seemed like none of invited her to do things. Our AP asked if she could talk to all of us about it and she gave her the go ahead...

    Oh, and yes, we have invited her to non-teacher stuff like movies or out to eat. She always politely declines.
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    4,449
    Likes Received:
    1,460

    Sep 18, 2014

    I've never worked at a site where teachers hung out (as an entire group) outside of work. Everyone has kids and/or a spouse who they want to get home to.
     
  16. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,262
    Likes Received:
    745

    Sep 18, 2014

    I wouldn't blame yourself on this. Realize that being an introvert like her around a lot of really social people is going to make many introverts feel left out. That isn't because you are trying to leave her out. I get that.

    If you want to help (realize you don't have to) there are many other ways to make introverts feel included. Getting her lunch during the week, and eating with her at school. Sending her kind cards or notes, remembering her birthday with cards or a small gift. You say you offered her to go to the movies. Was it to go with 1 or 2 of you or the staff? If it was the staff, she will say no every time. Strong introverts avoid groups, even thought they have a need to feel wanted.
     
  17. teachinnola

    teachinnola Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2012
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 19, 2014

    These are really good suggestions, and I think these could really help IF you feel like doing this. I do feel, though, that if this teacher wants to be included badly enough to go to admin, she needs to start saying yes to invitations, eating lunch with the other teachers, etc. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and "fake it 'till you make it" when it comes to social interactions (I am an introvert, too, and have to force myself to go to events that I spend days dreading. They usually turn out to be not so bad). She will never feel like part of the group unless she is actually, you know, being part of the group. These aren't total strangers, either. They are co-workers that she has been around at least a year.

    Personally, I would just keep extending invitations as you are now, but maybe ask this teacher for her input to make her feel more valued by the group. I think inviting her out alone or with a couple of other people is a good suggestion, but I really would not stress over it if you don't want to put that much effort into it. She just may not be a "good fit" for the type of school setting that you have, and there isn't much you can do about it.
     
  18. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,948
    Likes Received:
    1,441

    Sep 19, 2014

    Is the invite you extend always for a big group outing/activity? Maybe she would respond to an invite 1 on 1 with someone to start with. She might become familiar with people that way instead of all at once in a group. Not sure what her deal is but it could be any number of things.
     
  19. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,411
    Likes Received:
    579

    Sep 19, 2014

    If you are inviting her then she should not feel left out. If you inviting her, that's all you can really do. You should not be responsible for the social life of your coworker. She is a grown woman, and if she has trouble making friends that's really on her. As long as she is being invited, and no one is being mean to her, you have done your jobs. Good grief! It's not like she's a student with a 504 or behavior plan or something. I barely have time to focus on all of my students' special needs, much less worry about meeting the social and emotional needs of my coworkers beyond the basic being polite, pleasant, and considerate. Don't get me wrong, I have several coworkers I'm close to, and I know what's going on in their lives, and I like to do little things like put chocolate in peoples' boxes when I know they are having a rough week and things like that, but I will not be responsible for the social well-being of another adult.
     
  20. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    1

    Sep 19, 2014

    There have been good suggestions here. I am not an introvert, but I guess my main problem is that if she is one, why is she complaining about not being included? Why would she have the v.p. say anything?
     
  21. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    157

    Sep 19, 2014

    I suspect this conversation was instigated by the VP, not the introverted teacher, and the teacher was trying to come up with an excuse for not being more involved. I think the VP has made this situation, which was manageable, into a bit of a mess.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Caesar753,
  2. Backroads
Total: 416 (members: 4, guests: 382, robots: 30)
test