Weird Tension with neighboring Teacher

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by MsAbeja, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. MsAbeja

    MsAbeja Companion

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    Mar 30, 2017

    Hi All,

    I'm a first-year teacher. I actually student taught during the first semester of school and then took over the classes during second semester, once my credential cleared (my cooperating teacher went on leave.) I have worked at this school district as an Instructional Assistant for over 5 years.

    Recently, there seems to be a lot of passive aggressive, tense energy coming from a neighboring teacher and I have no idea how to handle it. She has always been very nice to me when I was an assistant. I subbed for her class once or twice before I got my full credential, and she's always seemed very friendly.

    However, lately she seems to be giving me the cold shoulder, and acting really fake with me, and I'm confused. Yesterday she called my class two separate times during one block period to tell me that we were being too loud. The first time no one was even talking, we were watching a video and I don't think the volume was loud, but she said her students were taking a quiz so I suppose it could have sounded louder to her silent room. She called a second time, and the truth is we were playing some review games, so all of the groups were talking and sometimes getting excited when they won a match, but the were not yelling or anything like that.

    She has called once before, a week or two ago, and when I answered the phone she said "Is this a sub?!" implying that the students were so out of control loud that I MUST be a substitute teacher.

    Thing is, I really don't think that my kids are loud. They might have their moments, and I could have understood these calls a few months ago when I was still getting into the hang of being The Teacher, but not recently. I will say that classroom management is an ongoing area that I find myself tweaking and working on, but in no way are my students out of control.

    Her two calls yesterday really bothered me, it felt very critical and even petty. After the second call I seriously felt as if I was walking on eggshells, trying to get my kids to talk in whispers in order to not upset her again.

    Today one of my students mentioned that the other teacher complains about the volume of my classes often during her classes. I asked him if we were frequently too loud and he said that he barely even notices it, but that this other teacher sometimes has days when she's extra strict and short with the students, and he thought she was just in a really bad mood yesterday.

    We go on Spring Break next week, so hopefully two weeks away from school will help, but I'm not sure what I can do short of installing soundproofing on the walls and making my students whisper all the time!
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Mar 30, 2017

    Sometimes classrooms carry sound a lot better than we might like. In an old classroom of mine I used to be able to hear, quite clearly, conversations from a classroom across the hall! We shared an air duct that apparently created perfect acoustics between the two rooms. It was completely bizarre since we didn't even share a wall!

    With that said, I have been next to rooms that were loud. Not necessarily out-of-control loud, but loud nonetheless. It can be very distracting to listen to the goings on in another classroom when students in my classroom are silently taking a test or giving/watching presentations. This is especially true even for well-controlled review games because you always get those collective "Oooooohs!" and other sounds. I don't know if you're being too loud or not, but she is your neighbor and your classroom is apparently too loud for her. Even though it's not ideal, it might be time to tighten up when it comes to noise production in your class, at least for the time being.

    For the record, I don't see anything fake about her asking you to keep it down. In fact, it seems like kind of the opposite: she had a problem and she addressed you directly. That's pretty professional.
     
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  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Mar 30, 2017

    I agree with Caesar. The sound may be traveling further than you thought.

    Also, there is a possibility that the other teacher is more sensitive right now due to things out of your control...personal problems, family problems, health problems, etc, and she might just be taking it out on you.
     
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  5. MsAbeja

    MsAbeja Companion

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    Mar 30, 2017

    Oh, I didn't mean that she was being fake when she told me to keep it down. There is a weird subtext that I can't quite put my finger on, but it has been going on for a while now. The phone calls are the only tangible thing that I can refer to, because the other is more of just an off energy between us, which didn't exist last semester.

    I do know that she is going through some stuff this year, something actually happened at school and she didn't feel like the admin had her back. A group of teachers got together to address it, and I had initially said that was planning to attend the meeting, but my own family drama cropped up and I had to bow out at the last minute. I'm not sure if the weird energy stems from that or not. I suppose I should address it head on, but I'm not entirely sure how.

    Also, as a first year teacher I know that my classroom management is a work in progress, and maybe I'm overly sensitive to the idea that other teachers are judging me and my teaching style/ability. I'm also not sure if I'm going to be asked back for next year, which adds to my own sensitivity and anxiety, I suppose.

    I did suggest that we try to coordinate so that I don't have review games on days when she does quiet note taking or quizzes, but she said that we can't work our schedules around each other, or something. I don't know, my suggestion got the brush-off, anyhow.

    After Spring Break I will make a point of being aware of our noise. I downloaded a noms-ometer onto my cell phone and my computer, and maybe using it will help the students also be mindful of their volume.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017
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  6. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I wouldn't take it personally. You don't have to be 'liked' by every teacher. Just keep doing your job, try to keep the noise down, but don't let her get you down or second guess your decisions.
     
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  7. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    Apr 1, 2017

    WIth the noise monitor app. If it is one that you can project and let the kids see keep this in mind. The first few times you use it kids will likely try and see how loud they can get and what happens when it reaches red or the too loud area. There will be some push back
     
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  8. MsAbeja

    MsAbeja Companion

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    Apr 1, 2017

    Haha, yeah that occurred to me when I saw the noise-meter that I downloaded onto the laptop, it has a big display that flashes red when it gets too noisy, and I'm fairly certain that my 8th graders would take it as a challenge.

    I have another app on my phone that is much more simple, just reads off the decibels with a description of what each decibel level means--leaves rustling, whisper, quiet conversation, conversation, and loud music are some of the levels. My class has never gone above the "loud music" range, which I think is around 70 decibels. And even then it was only momentary peaks, and quickly went back to the "conversation" level. So, I think I will continue to use that app, just for my own knowledge. It's nice to have some objective judge of their volume.
     
  9. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Apr 2, 2017

    Another teacher and I had classrooms only separated by a wall. We both had loud classroom activities, so we decided the best arrangement was to ignore each other's noise. Later, a new teacher moved in, and oh, was it difficult remembering to keep my classroom noise down. A couple of times the teacher peeked in to ask me if we could quiet down some.

    I like the noise meter idea even if only for your own reference. It helps you be more objective in monitoring your level. Perhaps during a game, the projected meter could indicate bonus points for teams not exceeding a certain level.

    A suggestion: 8th graders might show keen interest in incorporating some sign language. www.aslpro.com is an excellent resource. For an applause, Deaf people wave their palms in the air. There are also signs for "wow", "cool", and a special ASL idiom for "you missed what I said; you weren't paying attention" phrased as "train go". For an extended resource, some of the books found on https://www.parentbooks.ca/Deaf_&_Hard_of_Hearing.html might be of interest to the students.
     
  10. sophomorehope16

    sophomorehope16 Rookie

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    Apr 16, 2017

    Can I just say I'm so jealous with your two week spring break!!!! Damn, we only had one week in my district. It sucks.
     

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