Working with a spotlighter...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Hiyateacher, Jul 26, 2020.

  1. Hiyateacher

    Hiyateacher Rookie

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    Jul 26, 2020

    Hello! I have a situation with a co-worker that I would like to get some two cents on...

    I share a classroom with a teacher that I like, but I find her to be a "spotlighter". She is an excellent teacher, a few years younger than me, but can be so exhausting. She is constantly texting me with new ideas and always want to share resources. I believe and collaborating with teachers with new ideas. Still, it's also the middle of July, we're both finishing teaching summer school together, and I just want some time to recharge and not think about school so I can brace myself for what will probably be the most stressful school year of our lives. I call this co-worker a spotlighter because she continually has to broadcast what she is doing on social media, and always makes sure that our admin sees what she is doing. I think she wants to do right by the kids but rubs me the wrong way how she always has to make sure admin sees her doing it.

    I am by no means a lazy teacher. I care about my kids, and I care about my job, I just believe in having a balance between my home life and personal life. My classroom might not be the most Pinterest appealing, and all of my lessons might not be over the top, but I care about doing my job and do what I can within my means. I had a rough beginning to my career, and it nearly killed me. Oh, so that's why I'm a firm believer in that balance.

    This colleague also coaches three seasons, is going to grad school oh, and has taken on running a student organization in our school. As a slightly older colleague with a few more years of teaching under my belt than her, I've gently warned her that if she's not careful she's going to end up burning out real bad.

    I also feel like I am steamrolled sometimes by this colleague. I genuinely believe that she means well, but she also wants all the glory and for everyone to see what a fantastic teacher she is. We teach the same program, and we share a classroom. She's in there two class periods a day, and I'm in there for the rest of the day. She will sometimes sit in the room while I'm teaching, and she's on planning, and I've had to have a few conversations with her about not jumping in and taking over my class. She also didn't use to include me in things, and there was a lack of communication between us. She's gotten much better about that, but the problem is she's over including now with the constant bombarding of new ideas.

    I hope this above post makes sense. I do like the person, but she is so exhausting. I also want to collaborate with her, but I think our difference in personalities makes it difficult. I am by no means a spotlighter. Like I said earlier, I was burned badly during my first few years of teaching, so I believe in keeping to myself and doing my job; if an admin sees, great, if not, I know I'm doing my job. I would appreciate any stories about people who have been in similar situations and any advice you might have.
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Jul 26, 2020

    I know people in many walks of life that can pull off what she is doing and it doesn't take a toll on them. It is frustrating to see. I wish I had half their energy and stamina.

    I will say, she has no right to step in your lessons when she is sitting in your class to do her planning. I suggest you ask her to stop doing so or to plan elsewhere. But make sure you never plan in her classroom while she is teaching if you choose this route.

    Experience with people like this: let them do them and you do you. Aside from what I said above, it is not your place to change her.

    First, I offer that you stop projecting your experience on her. If you told her once about the potential of burn out, drop it. Move on. That is for her to learn on her own now or not. She really may be one of those people who thrive living the life she is living. They do exist. I know a few.

    Second, I offer that you consider your two statements about inclusion, nothing vs too much. There isn't always Goldilocks moments. The own-ness is on you to handle your reaction regarding the information you are receiving. You told her she wasn't sharing enough, and now it is too much. It seems she tried to accommodate your wishes of being included. Unless you can specifically define what you want to be included in and what you do not, you need to relax a bit on this issue and manage your reaction to her sharing. If you can determine specific types of information you want shared with you so that there is no grey area, tell her. What-I-meant-by-including-me conversation would be warranted. I meant I would like to see xyz but not really abc.

    Third, if you need to recharge, let her know you are taking time to recharge and not think about school. Ask her to not text about ideas until after a specific date and let her know you will ignore the texts if they do come. There is nothing wrong with doing so.

    As for her talking herself up via various methods, you just have to get over that or step up your game and put yourself out there. Stewing about it doesn't help anything and hurts you more than anything. She isn't going to change, nor should she have to just because she isn't like you and doesn't do things the way you do. Sure, she gets more exposure. What is your issue with that? You said it is ok if you aren't recognized.
    So, I must ask, are you really ok with not being recognized?
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 26, 2020

    I have some experience with this. All I can really say is that it's impossible to control what other people do, and it will drive you nuts if you try. Where that person infringes upon your work or your space, you need to speak up and (professionally, graciously) tell them to back off. Where it doesn't impact you, let it be.
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jul 26, 2020

    I’m an introvert, and spotlighters suck the energy out of me.

    I do spend quite a bit of my free time doing little things work-related, but not because I have to, it because I want to. I’m not always saying “look at me”, which is the part I find exhausting.
     
    bella84 likes this.
  6. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Jul 27, 2020

    I had not heard this term for those people before, but I like it. I work with several, and they are exhausting!
     
  7. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Jul 27, 2020

    I would tell her to write down all of her ideas and email you with them once a week. That way they will be organized AND limit the times she bothers you.
     
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  8. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Jul 27, 2020

    For the summer at least, put on an auto response to your email about you being away from the classroom until your return date. Then stop responding to emails. It’s harder during the school year but that part is at least doable.

    If she has your phone number, you can respond with something to the effect of, I’m trying not to think about school until the year starts! Let’s talk about this in August/September during our planning time.
     
  9. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Jul 28, 2020

    I think the main problem is that she has her phone number and is constantly texting her. I don't think that's professional at all. The only time I get/send texts to co-workers is in cases of emergencies like if I will be out sick (can you make copies for me) or asking what time something was going on, etc. She should not be texting you during the summer about school.
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jul 28, 2020

    There are 2 things with this behavior that I would deal with separately. One are the external things that you can see...her constantly sharing ideas, her texts, her emails etc. The second is the internal, why she is doing the behavior..her motivations. This is what you labeled as a "spotlighter". The first one is something you can deal with and can lead to solutions. The second one is one that I find only leads to trouble. This is when you judge why a person is doing some behavior. Even though you probably are more right than wrong, it will only lead you to having negative thoughts towards this colleague by stereotyping her as a "spotlighter". The truth is we never completely know someones heart, and I have found from past experience a label ends up leading to walls being built instead of bridges. I'd lose the title "spotlighter" in your mind. She may see herself as someone who is being generous with you and as a "generous sharer".

    There are lots of teachers who absolutely love to share their ideas and love it when others share it with them. They are creative and they are energized by these moments. The problem is while it energizes her, it is annoying to you. I think by focusing a bit on your own needs while allowing her to be herself would be the best bet. Ideas can be good, but getting them texted to you is sure to be annoying to you. I think asking that you have them emailed may be a good solution. If you don't want to read them, then don't and put them in a folder for later. You are in control of your time and what you read in your emails.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
  11. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Jul 29, 2020

    You know, I am a lot like your coteacher. I love thinking about school and talking about school. But one of my coworkers, who is a really good friend, just texted me and said. Hey, you have great ideas, but when I am not at school I don't want to talk about school. She was upfront and honest and now I just talk to her about school stuff at school and home stuff at home.
     

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