Venting Already :(

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by iteachbx, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Aug 21, 2012

    So some of you might remember I was having some issues with my co-teacher at the end of last year. Well yesterday we got together to go shopping for the classroom. We had originally planned to meet at 1 and go to 2 or 3 stores. Well at the last minute she pushes it back to 3:30 and we only had time to go to 1 store because she had to be somewhere at 6.

    I really, really tried to have an open mind because I don't want to start a 10 month school year off at the wrong foot. I know there's really nothing I can change right now and we're going to be together everyday all day for the next 10 months so I better try to deal with it. But while we were out she took 1 call on her cellphone and made 2 other phone calls. I'm sorry but I think that's just rude. None of the calls were absolutely essential. We're in the middle of talking or looking in an aisle and she's all of a sudden on the phone. When she wasn't on the phone she's texting. And when she's texting she can't seem to pay attention to anything else. We'll be in the middle of a conversation and I have to repeat myself because she was texting when I was speaking. I don't know I guess I don't have as many friends or people to talk to as she does but when I'm doing something like that, I'm not even looking at my phone.

    Also- we decided last week we were going to go to school next Wed and Thursday to start setting up the classroom. We said we'd stay until they kicked us out so we could be done because they never give much time to work on anything during inservice days. Then she tells me yesterday that she has to leave by 3 on Thursday. We're not allowed to stay whenever we want- the custodians will kick us out around 6 or so, so it's not like we can just stay extra late on Wednesday. I really don't think that's going to be enough time to set up the classroom. She has no way of knowing because she was hired last year after I set up the classroom. I was accused of basically being too anal last year and caring about unimportant things to much so I don't want to make a big deal out of it. But it really, really matters to me how the classroom looks. I don't want to rush to get it done or not finish things and be stressed out trying to get them done after school starts. Should I say something about going in on Tuesday? She's planning on going away Friday and I'm sure she won't be able to go, but I'd rather just go myself and start getting stuff done.

    Ugh- sorry this is so long. On top of it while we're shopping she says to me, "Can you imagine buying all this stuff yourself?" --umm yeah I did last year when you were hired the day before school started. I brought an extra coupon so we could both get free planners and she didn't even say thank you. But she made sure it was in a separate bag so she could take it home with her. I know there's nothing I can do and I should try to stay positive but I held all of this in last year and went insane in June.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 21, 2012

    Is this too passive agressive?

    Dear Sue,
    Forgive me for jumping to conclusions, but it seems apparent to me that you're dealing with a crisis of some sort, and don't have the time or energy necessary to devote to prepping the class for the start of the school year.

    Please let me know if I can be of any help, beyond actually doing the classroom. As we originally planned, I'll be at school Wednesday and Thursday, setting things up. I have some new ideas that I had hoped to run by you, but they're less important than what you're dealing with. So, assuming it's OK with you, I'll just implement the ideas I had over the summer.

    Please, let me know how I can help.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Love it, Alice!
     
  5. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Love it, Alice!
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 21, 2012

    In the event that it is an actual crisis, and not just a diva moment, you come across as sympathetic.
     
  7. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I like it- but I know what the "crisis" is--- her wedding next summer. But I will try something along those lines if I decide I'm going to go in earlier or on Friday to set up so that we have enough time.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You could change 'crisis' to 'I know you've got a lot on your mind' since you know it's the wedding...but sheesh...I hope she isn't goingto be distracted all year...just do your thing...but don't do for her what she should do herself.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I would put her in the position of having to explain that it's her wedding that's keeping her from doing it.

    But I agree... no more coupons, no covering for her. You do your job as you see fit. Keep her abreast of your plans. If there's something she would have done differently, then she should have showed up to do it.
     
  10. ShellyAve

    ShellyAve Rookie

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    Aug 21, 2012

    Alice you are a genius.
     
  11. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Aug 21, 2012

    Agreed.

    And :hugs: to you iteachbx!
     
  12. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Aug 21, 2012

    You ladies are so indirect. It's like the death of a thousand paper cuts. :)

    I had an issue similar to this with my former co-teacher. He was slacking off and not doing anywhere near his share. I just flat-out told him that I felt like his head wasn't in the game and I couldn't do it by myself. It strained our relationship for a while, but he put forth a lot more effort after that.
     
  13. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    :yeahthat::yeahthat:

    The snarkiness isn't a good way to start off the year. Just like you have to be clear with your expectations with students, I think it's important to be clear with colleagues. I witnessed people using silly emails and dropping not so subtle hints to one another, and it's honestly very juvenile, and in a way, unprofessional.
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 21, 2012

    To each his own.

    But I don't read any snarkiness into my email. If I was in the midst of a crisis and received such an email, I would take it as an honest offer of help.

    Has anyone seen a pot and a black kettle around here????
     
  15. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    I think it's pretty clear there is not a personal crisis here though. I understand that you think my sense of humor is unprofessional, but I think having a good sense of humor is completely appropriate whereas sending admittedly passive aggressive emails like this, which can easily be used against you is not a good route for the OP to take. If you're going to do something like this, at least say it to her in person.
     
  16. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    While I agree with Alice, I think men and women tend to handle these types of issues differently.
     
  17. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Mathemagician~I don't know if you've ever been around a woman who has is in the middle of wedding planning, but it can very well be a personal crisis for her. And my principal has always said that the best way to communicate with him (and most other colleagues) is through email. I can easily forget what you say, but to have the words in front of me makes it harder to forget.
     
  18. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Exactly why the use of email for SENSITIVE issues which you feel STRONGLY about should be AVOIDED. Every single college professor and educator I've spoken with has advocated not emailing over sensitive issues as your words can easily be misconstrued, and tone can be mistaken. I read lots of snarkiness in the email, and the recipient may as well. A spoken word leaves less room for ambiguity.
     
  19. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    And to clarify, I'm sure your principal means for little day to day things. That's pretty obvious. Sensitive issues which are this important are not for email.
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    On the flip side, an email is pretty good documentation that the OP tried to resolve the situation without admin intervention. If it ever gets to the point where the OP needs to ask an administrator to intervene, this email will help support the OP's claims that this co-worker has been dropping the ball for some period of time.
     
  21. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Aug 21, 2012

    I think I would go through with the planned time on Wednesday and Thursday; however I would inform her beforehand that there will be no way I will able to be there until the next time I know she will be there or once the in-service days start. It might be a wake up on Thursday when she leaves and realizes that there are only three more hours of set up to go before the time that is taken up with meetings and things. I would be rather bummed that I would have to do my fast unpacking rather than the slow organized manner; but it might help get it across that she needs to pull her weight.

    I would probably either be willing to take on all the stuff that should be shared or be blunt with the other teacher. If you send the offer to take over and do everything because of her difficult time, I would think that you will be doing everything. Self centered people are not very likely to get the subtle hint that he/she is being self centered. That would not fit with being self centered.
     
  22. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    For once, I agree with Mathemagician. I hate working with women who can't just come out and say what they mean. Passive aggressiveness stinks. If she sends this email, it won't do anything to improve their working relationship, and will almost certainly make it worse.

    I also agree that she shouldn't just do everything herself, because that will set a bad precedent. The two teachers need to have a conversation about how they will divide up the responsibilities this year in a way that is acceptable to both of them.
     
  23. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Well I definitely plan on doing that because last year I was in the situation of doing everything on my own. I think the problem is she's plenty happy with mediocre and I'm just not. I enjoy going above and beyond- this summer I read a whole bunch of books for literature circles and typed up summaries and questions. I re-leveled our entire library and am in the process of creating genre bins. I made and finished a Donors Choose project. In May and June I must have done 300 or more book reviews on Scholastic to get the free bonus points. Then I ordered 90 books with the points and made library card labels for all of the books, and taped up the binding so they didn't rip. ALL of those things are not "responsibilities" they're things I do because I take pride in my classroom and I want to. That's sort of how the year went last year, we shared the "duties" but I had to worry about anything that was special or extra. She kept saying she would do stuff like that but never did. It's not like when we sit down to split up responsibilities I can be like "and you're going to make 3 Donors Choose projects." I think it just comes down to the fact that I have a LOT of passion. She doesn't seem to have much at all.

    I tried to get out of this situation at the end of the year and spoke to the principal. She understood some of what I was saying but really wanted me to give another go at it. Since I had only done 1 year in co-teaching I didn't want to risk getting another co-teacher I was unhappy with and her thinking I'm the problem. I LOVE the idea of it and want to stay in this position. I knew I'd probably have to suck it up for this year. At the end of the year I'll be more feel more comfortable being firm about it if things don't improve.
     
  24. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    As far as the passive aggressive debate goes...I see how it can cause problems. But for people it's just not easy. It's part of my personality and I absolutely hate being involved in confrontation. I know it's something I need to work on- but I don't do it on purpose. For some people it's easy to just come out and say it and be blunt all the time but for others it's extremely difficult and it takes a lot to be that forward.
     
  25. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the advice, I'm reallyyyy going to try to take that advice. I appreciate it.
     
  26. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I am sorry...I am about to step on toes...I was a team teacher. I worked with someone like you describe. And I was (and am) like you. I had to learn to let go. IT WAS NOT EASY...and just because she didn't do all the little things, did not make her less passionate or cared less than me...she just saw things differently than I did. We were not good partners for each other. She was very laid back. I am type A. I have to have everything done my way. She didn't care. But I really stepped on her toes. I had to learn to back off...life went on even if the bulletin board wasn't done. I had to learn to tell peers to tell my partner. Everyone came to me because they knew she wouldn't do the work. I was exhausted. That made things worse.
     
  27. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    I hate confrontation as well (probably more than anyone here), but it's inevitable. It will either happen now when there is still good air and rom to grow as professionals or after you send a series of nasty emails which can be used against you.
     
  28. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    No one has suggested a 'series of nasty emails'
     
  29. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Just one will do the trick.

    And one turns to a series when she gives you a response other than the one you were hoping for.
     
  30. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I think this is the best advise you have received so far.

    As a person who is much closer to you in personality - works above and beyond and puts all my energy and time into it - I must caution you to avoid thinking everyone must be the same as you. It will lead to constant dissatisfaction with the people you work with. Just as you don't want to be like them, they don't have to raise to your standards. It is frustrating, but a fact of life that you are going to come to terms with sooner or later if you want to stay sane. Do what you want to do because you want to do it for yourself or the kids - and don't resent her because she doesn't. Sometimes it is better (in my opinion) because now you get to do it to your standards and it gets done right. She is probably frustrated with you too. I find leaving lists is usually a good technique - sometimes they just want to be told what to do.

    Don't whine and complain to your administrator about every little thing because it will make you unpopular with them. Save it for the big, important stuff. They have enough to worry about without worrying about who is doing the bulletin boards, etc.

    Remember, only you can change your attitude. You work with this person, now you have to choose to be unhappy or happy.
     
  31. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I wholeheartedly agree, Alice! I teachbx - all you are accountable for is your work - the part for which you are responsible. I have a fellow teacher who has very few original ideas, and "borrows" my lesson plans, etc. After I tried to get together with her all summer for planning (we're swapping to the Common Core this year) to no avail (she was always busy), now she wants to cram weeks of planning in to a time when she wants to do it - and I don't have time. If we get to plan together, fine. If not.. oh, well. I have decided that I am not responsible for her.
     
  32. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    That's why last year I never said anything about the situation- to anyone. I didn't want it to reflect badly on me. But when the end of the year came and I finally said something (very diplomatically, most of what I've mentioned here was NOT said) I think the principal kind of pushed it aside like it couldn't have been a big deal because everything seemed so smooth throughout the year. I'm certainly not going to be whining and complaining this year but if I'm not happy with this partnership I want that to be clear (in a professional way) at the end of the year.
     
  33. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Thanks. It's just that with full inclusion- when people from the outside are looking in the line between my work and her work becomes very vague. And it's not just all the extras that I mentioned before. She's very quick to share my ideas as "ours" to administration. I guess that's something I need to be more firm about this year. My ideas are my mine and not everything needs a "we" or "ours" in front of it. I became very accustomed to using those words last year because I wanted to be fair and welcoming to her (she was new, I was there for a few months the previous year.) But it seems the majority of times either one of us were using those words we were really referring to something I did or came up with.
     
  34. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Iteach - I forget that you teach inclusion... While my coteacher (has her own classroom, but the only other 1st grade teacher at my school) doesn't do the paperwork (i.e., lesson plans, etc.), and always wants a copy of mine (yet forgets to share anything of hers), there are ways I have found to ensure that my work stays mine. One not so subtle way is to save MS Word documents as pdf files that can't be changed. I feel snarky doing it, but I did do the work, and she didn't. The bad thing is, I've never minded sharing ideas or work.... I still don't, but I'm not bending over backward for it.
     
  35. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Very clever. I take it you have your name on the top of the paper?
     
  36. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    My name goes in the footers of my pdfs, in fact. Of course, my livelihood depends on my docs to an extent that probably isn't true for most members of A to Z - but the readiness of educational institutions at all levels to decide that they own one's output lock, stock, and copyright is pretty shocking.
     
  37. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    So true, TeacherGroupie! That's why I put some of my stuff on teacherspayteachers (not an ad here, I promise!). I was tired of other people using my work and I wasn't even getting a thank you. I still share, with coworkers and friends, but it's really a boost to my self-esteem when someone spends ($2 - a bundle, lol!) money on something I created! Oh, and Math, yep - my name (and my tpt link) is on my work, lol!
     
  38. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    It sounds like both of you need to adjust expectations. You really can't expect another teacher to have the same priorities when it comes to using their own time to do extra projects.

    I also shy away from sending emails just because I tend to be more direct and would rather have a face to face conversation.

    I don't think you've said anything to indicate that she is unreasonable or incompetent (apologies if I missed that, if so). This means you should be able to find a good base to work from if you can hash things out. Maybe over coffee in a neutral location? Tell her that her being on the phone while out with you is hurtful; she may not even realize she is being rude.
     

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