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CNOS128

Ideal_Rock
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Elegant,
Do you perhaps have a spring break week coming up, which you can use to collect your thoughts and decide where you want to go from here? You may want to try put this situation out of your mind for a few days until you have time to devote to thinking it through.

Teaching can be emotionally trying even without pushy administrators. I worked in a public school and hated almost every second of it - especially my supervisor (who told me to put on some lipstick and try pants with PLEATS in them. Pleats.). Then I taught in a private school for several years, and it was a whole different story. While I did eventually decide that teaching wasn''t for me, my private school experience at least gave me some fond memories of the profession. You might enjoy the private sector.

Good luck!!
 

Rhea

Ideal_Rock
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What a terrible situation! I don''t understand how anyone could treat a fellow co-worker like that. Even if they don''t like you personally, a teacher is needed, and you''re it. I hope that your union rep is helpful.
 

pyramid

Ideal_Rock
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Date: 3/23/2009 11:46:38 PM
Author: Elegant
Sooo....

I'm sitting there with everyone at the table and my principal says she's been hearing things about me - my grade level complaining, some other teacher saying things about me, and an office staff person saying I said the 'f' word in the office with parents around...all lies. My rep asks my principal if there has ever been a discussion before this and she said no and I guess my rep was satisfied with that. Basically my principal accused, I had to defend myself because my union rep was very quite so I assumed I better answer, and next week the principal will be setting up a meeting so that the grade level and the other teacher can talk and start over. I didn't have to sign any paper work but I agreed to the meetings for next week.

The back stabbing grade level teacher who I know told my principal all of these lies sits next to me today at the end of the day while we were meeting as a team and asks if everything is okay and would I like to talk about it. Another grade level teacher also asked me if I wanted to talk about it and I told both of them nicely that I didn't feel like talking about it. They pried but I just repeated that I didn't want to talk about it.

I'm sick and tired of trying to please my principal and show her how hard I am working when people around me are making up lies. And she is taking their word because I am the new one.

So I am still waiting for a call from my rep to discuss the severity of the issue and next steps.

I feel an extreme amount of hatred and I am at my wits end. All day long I couldn't wait to get out of there and just had a sick feeling in my stomach. I keep telling my bf that I want to resign really bad! I just don't feel like putting up with it anymore. Time for a career change. In my entire 8 years of teaching, I have never had a problem like this. Ever. I'm sick with disgust but I have to fake that I am happy everyday and never say a single negative thing ever - everything is just perfect and as soon as I walk on campus it is all smiles. I am a genuine person and hate being fake, but I guess that is what I will have to do...

Any suggestions?

Again, thanks so much for your concern.

This is terrible and makes me feel angry for you
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Are there any psychologists here who can tell us laypeople why people in society act this way. Is it as someone said here previously to make themselves feel better, I mean do they actually believe the lies are the truth when they tell them in order to put someone down. In a way the principal probably should believe her staff who she may have no reason to mistrust from the past, but surely there should be measures in human resources to protect new employees from this where the 'face' just does not fit but the employee has done nothing wrong and it is those older employees who are doing wrong in order to get the new person ousted for their own ends - which are??? I just wonder if it is people who have never grown up and if there is a reason they are not morally sound or still childish - is it past experience which may not be great as a child or is it just an evil streak in them?

Yes I agree you will just have to put on a fake smile and go to school and I feel you there as I am not a fake person at all either.

Mind you I know a practicising Catholic who became very childish against her daughter-in-law when her son had a daughter with another woman and she wanted to be able to have contact with her grandchild. She became very catty and childish and her son who was thought to be above such behaviour and the type of person who would have been against things such as the situation here with the teachers, came across as very honest in principles, was not that way at all in the way he cheated on his wife and then hung out with his girlfriend/mother of the child and her pals who I believe are a very catty, childish and immoral lot, who may have good morals in someways i.e. looking after their own children but are backstabbing on other people/old pals in the same way those teachers are doing.

Is there really good and bad in everyone after all and it depends if your face fits and that people are getting what they want in life. Which leads to thoughts of selfishness. E.g. Look out for number one and no one else.
 

swimmer

Ideal_Rock
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The other teachers are probably feeling threatened. There is no reasonable cause for acting so childishly, and clearly there is really limited leadership coming from the top that is giving them permission to act so out of line. Having worked as a school administrator previously, there just is no productive reason for them to listen to gossip. Sometimes teachers come into my office to kvetch and the appropriate thing to say, "are you wanting to chat with me as a friend, we can do that, but not here or now. If you have a complaint to file, here is the form to fill out in triplicate." Accept gripes -from teachers or parents- is unacceptable without asking something like "and how are you working to improve the flow of information?" That cuts down on the whining so that we can productively focus on what needs to be improved. The lack of leadership at your school is really quite frightening. Of course your union is going to be crap in that scenario, just sounds like a terrible downward spiral

My only advice is to look around at other postings. Any admins will know which nearby schools are toxic and won't judge people for jumping ship. Last year three of our hires were from a school that is imploding, we were lucky to pick up some great professionals who didn't want to deal with the nonsense. I hope you find a place that is healthier and more functional. The strains of nclb and red tape are enough to drive a sane person screaming from the classroom. If your colleagues are not on your side, then simply staying afloat is going to be a PITA.

Hugs and good luck to you Elegant.
 

Sabine

Ideal_Rock
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Elegant, I am just infuriated for you over the fact that your LEADER caused you so much worry over catty gossip. While I do think it is good that the principal mediate a meeting between you and those who have complaints, I don''t think they went about it in the correct way, and I hate to say, but it doesn''t sound like the principal is really on your side, which just stinks! Hopefully those who are spreading lies will be called out when they have to tell you to your face what the problem is!
 

applequeen

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Something very similar happened to one of my best friends. In her case a new principal was assigned to the school during her last year before she would be tenured. The pricipal made several comments about "cleaning house" throughout the year (basically so he could have say in who was hired). When the time came to recommend the non tenured teachers for re-hire my friend was not recommended. Despite having an excellent record and fantastic reviews for every year she had taught there was nothing she could do to keep her job. The principal had 100% say in the matter.

It''s been 3 years since that happened and she spent the first year working a variety of jobs to find something she liked and the second year working in a call center (which she didn'' t really like) but recently (year 3) she was promoted to a regional training position... which she loves. She''s thrilled that she found a job using her teaching degree (she has a Master''s) again without having to go back to that environment. She considered going back to teaching for awhile but I think she was just scared.... her confidence was really shattered since she had always had such good reviews.

I''m sorry you''re going through this... it all seems so unfair. Good luck!
 

pyramid

Ideal_Rock
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Like the above poster''s friend I had always had good reviews in my previous jobs for 17 years. I know it is not up to employers to give people life training but like her friend my confidence has been knocked for years and still is a bit just because I did not realise that people could be so back stabbing. As I said at the time, if I had made a mistake at work I could have taken it and left and blamed it upon myself but the confidence feeling is that your whole life is shaken because you cannot understand what has happened and have no reasoning behind it. Therefore when it happens TO YOU you cannot think in the way others do reading a post like this, you cannot think of the backstabbing for taking it personal as being a fault of your own, or trying to unearth that yes it is those nasty people but maybe, did I do something wrong after all. Ofcourse, at least with lies, like saying you said something in front of people, you know whether you said it or not.
 

Italiahaircolor

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Here''s the thing...there is a huge area between telling everyone to ''f off'' and being so fakely sweet it hurts. That area is called be civil.

You''re going to have an opportunity to speak your peace at this upcoming meeting. You can lay it out and play it straight letting them all know in no uncertian terms that your not intimadated or threatened and you know your innocent of their accusations. And then from that point moving forward you can be very professional with them. You don''t need to fake smile or compliment their dress...you weren''t hired to be anything but a teacher....keep your nose to the grindstone and you''ll be fine
 

IloveAsschers13

Brilliant_Rock
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896
Oh elegant- this sounds AWFUL! I hope that everything works to your advantage, as it should. I HATE when things are so POLITICAL- for example I have coached for a bunch of years at a private school, and the parents were SOOOOO vocal about whether their children would get to play or not- AKA it didn''t depend on their skills, just their parents opinion. FRUSTRATING!

I hope that these teachers see the mistakes they are making and i hope you stay strong and this GOES away hopefully.

Keep us updated!!
 

platinumrock

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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2,262
Oh sweetie, I''m so sorry to hear that you are going though this! Is your school finished with state testing? Did you have Spring Break yet? We''re finally done with FCATs and Sat 10''s, so I''m finally about to sit down and catch up with PS.

I was hoping that things improved between you and your school. And to hear this update...I am at a loss for words.
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HUGS
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I''ll come back and check on you soon. Hang in there!
 

gwendolyn

Ideal_Rock
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Elegant, this is simply awful, what you are going through. As a fellow teacher, I have no difficulty at all imagining how you feel. Back-stabbing coworkers can make your life an absolute hell with almost no effort on their part, and can, frustratingly, impact your career for life. Stand firm, and when you can, find yourself another school where you''re appreciated for the wonderful person and teacher I''m sure you are. *hugs*
 

Definitely. Maybe

Brilliant_Rock
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I''m really sorry this is happening to you. Your coworkers sound awful for creating lies about you. I really hope these next meetings go well for you. You have a lot of support and understanding here on PS. Best of luck.
 

Elegant

Brilliant_Rock
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Hey there! Thanks so much for your support and kind words - they really do help and mean a lot!

Well, the meeting was Monday this week...the next day the principal asks to see me for a minute and actually had me sit down and read the accusations and her interpretation of my responses on a "verbal reprimand" form. She told me to sign it, I said I wanted to talk to my union rep first, she said if I don''t sign it she will have to write that I refused to sign it - so I signed it with the opposite hand I usually write in so that it wasn''t my actual signature, and I wrote that it was in receipt only. She gave me a copy and sent me on my way where I had to see my students 20 minutes later - I was on the verge of a breakdown. I was shocked. I scanned a copy of it and emailed it to my union rep immediately after she gave it to me, and she responded back that she was VERY shocked my principal had done this and never heard a word of a reprimand in our meeting on Monday.

Very sneaky. Very dirty. Very underhanded.

I just got back from camp with the students this week and as I pulled up to the school, the feeling in the pit of my stomach was of utter terror and anxiety. On the way back to school all I could think about was having to go back to school on Monday and just have the feeling of her watching me and the fear that she will make up more lies to try to get rid of me. I am still waiting on hearing from my union rep.

I can see what Pyramid is saying about maybe saying something in front of people. I had conversations with these people, but there are things that were reportedly said that are lies. That''s what sucks.

I don''t know if I can make it til the end of the year - two more months - either I won''t be able to take it anymore, or she will get rid of me by the end of the school year. I already got a pink slip, and she knows it, so she is really trying to make sure I don''t get hired back.

People I have been talking to have been saying everything will turn out - but I am living it and the anxiety and stress I am feeling every time I drive up or walk on campus is tremendously horrible. I think I will go to the doctors.

My union rep said she will go to the meetings that the principal has scheduled just to be a witness, especially after this has happened.
 

Steel

Ideal_Rock
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Oh dear.

I am so sorry this is going on. I hope your rep gives you some constructive advice soon.

In the interim I would not sign any documents unless you are 100% happy with the content and implications. In response to this warning/reprimand I would respond in writing that the reprimand mentioned in the document 'does not relate to you', neither is it an accurate record of events. Further would I mention that her insistence that you sign the form was not appropriate as you had asked to speak to your rep and you hope that such pressure will not be repeated as you exercise your rights. I would get all that in writing to your principal ASAP to counter the form which has been signed.

Secondly as I said before, please go to your GP/Doc and get a record of all this crap. ETA: Sorry hon, I missed that you said you were going.

Thirdly if your legal system is like ours, your mark is your mark. It does not matter if you sign with your foot. It is good that you wrote receipt only; that was quick thinking.However if it was not correct that you had received a vebal reprimand then you should not have signed – you have acknowledged in writing that you have been formally reprimanded when you feel that you have not.
 

April20

Ideal_Rock
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Aug 1, 2008
Messages
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I am so, so sorry things are playing out as they are. I know it must be a pit of anxiety for you every day. I hope those that are creating the chaos are exposed for what they are.
 

Rhea

Ideal_Rock
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I don''t know what to say. This is a crappy situation for you. I can''t believe that they would treat you like that.
 

katamari

Ideal_Rock
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Just wanted to let you know we are still thinking about you, Elegant.
 

Porridge

Ideal_Rock
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I''m so sorry Elegant. Seriously, what is wrong with some people. I hope it works out ok for you and that your union rep is good. Sending loads of positive thoughts your way!
 

Skippy123

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Date: 3/30/2009 1:00:12 PM
Author: Porridge
I''m so sorry Elegant. Seriously, what is wrong with some people. I hope it works out ok for you and that your union rep is good. Sending loads of positive thoughts your way!
ditto, I am sorry as well, I don''t get why people can be so evil; they sound awful. (((hugs))))
 

lliang_chi

Ideal_Rock
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Elegant, I''m really sorry to hear about this. Big hugs being sent your way.
 

tlh

Ideal_Rock
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I also just wanted to send you a huge hug! I am so sorry you are going through this. I agree, anytime she pulls you into a meeting, I would say you will need to schedule a time when your union rep can be present, and not sign any documents unless your union rep is present AND you agree with the content. It can be tricky, because sometimes you need to ackowledge the reprimand, but this just all seems soo shady!
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Keep your rep on your speed dial. Again, I am sooo sorry!

*******HUGS********
 

bee*

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I''m so sorry to hear what happened the next day. I agree with Steel-do not sign anything else. That was so sly of the principal.
 

AmberGretchen

Ideal_Rock
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Elegant - so sorry this continues to be such a horrible situation, you don''t deserve to be dealing with this AT ALL.

I agree with the others - don''t sign anything else. So what if she writes that you refused to sign it? You are completely within your rights to not sign something if you don''t agree with the contents and also if your union rep isn''t there, and its unprofessional, unethical and underhanded of her to ask you too.

I really hope you can make it through this situation OK!
 

OUpearlgirl

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Elegant, I am so sorry you are going through this. I don''t understand why anyone would do such a thing! Hang in there, you know we''re all here for you!
 

mayachel

Brilliant_Rock
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Just wanted you to know that I''m following your story, and wishing you all sorts of good vibes, peace and happiness with this situation. Do your best to stay grounded and sure of yourself. It sounds as though you have done nothing to deserve such backlash. Hopefully it will all come out in the wash.
 

Blair138

Brilliant_Rock
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Apr 8, 2008
Messages
1,207
Elegant I am so sorry that this is happening! I just went back today from being off for spring break and I literally ruined my entire break by thinking about my boss and going back and how she could make my life hell. I have about 3 months left too and I don''t think I can make it either. I am looking for a new job, and trying to be positive, but I just want out. I almost wish I would have gotten fired (even though that is a horrible thing to think now) because that is how upsetting my job is...

I think of you often, please know that you are not the only one in your situation. I try to think positively but it doesn''t always work. Keep doing what you are doing and just make sure you have your union rep with you. Fight and do what you can, but I understand your situation and know that you can''t do much, the school system sucks in that way...

Please keep us updated!!
 

swimmer

Ideal_Rock
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How awful! What on earth is going on with your principal?
If you are a first year teacher in that district, sadly there is very little that the union rep can do for you. Part of NCLB and ed reform has been principals'' choice. Principals have the right to terminate teachers or any staff pretty much at will. They do not even have to provide a reason for termination. Its a weird profession where pre-tenure we can be fired for any reason at all with no protection, but once you have tenure it is pretty darn hard to be terminated. It seems like both should be closer to the middle.

Elegant, what is being done to you is so very wrong. I wouldn''t want to work there at all! Postings will be coming out for positions soon if not already. Go elsewhere to find your happiness. I am so sorry you are stuck in this situation which doesn''t even seem to have anything to do with you.
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
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Elegant,

So sorry to hear about everything.
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I'm a teacher too (middle first, then high), and I have definitely witnessed how catty teachers can be. My theory is that since it is a job where you never usually get promoted beyond being a teacher, what teachers care about is their "turf" -- what grade they teach, what classroom they get, how nice the furniture is, how sweet their schedule is, etc. And since deciding who gets these things is usually left up to a peer--department or grade leader, or at most, an assistant principal who has barely observed you and doesn't really know who is doing what--the way that teachers get what they want is not always through hard work. Instead, it can be through manipulations, machinations, and the alliances of the many versus the few.

So you got a pink slip, what does that mean? It sounds like it's still not for certain they'd be letting you go, right? Do you want to leave? Do you have other options? Are you interviewing?

If you don't have a new option readily available, then I'd beat them at their own game. Figure out who in that grade level group is the most sympathetic to you. Figure out which administrator or higher up can and would go to bat for you. Speak frankly and plaintively to those people. Lay it all on the line. You want to succeed. You want to have a second chance.

I'd do your best to give the principal "proof" that you are trying to improve after receiving the reprimand. I'll email her to say that you are keeping detailed notes of all meetings and are filing all communication and would be happy to show it to her at any time. You might aggravate her if you just show up with a big binder that you want her to read, but if you just tell her that you're doing it (and you really need to, in case she checks), then how can she prove you are not complying? I would also say something like, "I very much value your advice and guidance and hope to impress you with the improvements I've made by year's end. Thank you for taking the time to help me." She can't argue with that, can she?

As for the catty group as a bunch, I'd try to fly under the radar by making a stab at befriending them. Gossip with them. Compliment their teaching. Ask for their advice. Say you like their outfits. If you get to stick around next year, you'll soon be part of their group, and they'll turn their attentions to ostracizing someone else.

One of my newspaper kids was being bullied by some powerful girls in the class, so I told him what I'm telling you. In a group setting, you have to figure out who has the power--a few of the students, and me, obviously. Figure out who you shouldn't piss off and who you should be nice to. Of course, I reminded him, if I think you're being fake nice to me, it'll backfire, right? Maybe I've read up on Macchiavelli a little too much, but this is what I've learned in the two schools where I've taught. I saw a nice (but powerless, as far as department politics go) teacher's student teacher get passed over for job she was qualified for just because her co-op wasn't on the inner circle of things and because she's not socially aware. She dressed oddly and walked around without saying hello to people. So the catty women in charge of things who care if you gossip with them decided she couldn't be a good teacher.
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It's important to be on good terms with everyone and to only share your real thoughts with *true* friends. Often, there aren't any of those around, so keep your thoughts to yourself!

I have several times headed off the attempts of other teachers to get the classes that I taught/wanted to teach by keeping my thumb on the pulse of the department, developing confidences with a variety of teachers and knowing who really had the power.

Sorry if I'm scaring you. Sometimes DH concedes that I'm "a little evil." But I usually get what I want!
 

Elegant

Brilliant_Rock
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835
Well, to sum up the crap I have been through...quickly...

I ended up doing a grievance, she responded that I needed to request an informal meeting before I did the grievance - SHE needed to give me an informal meeting. Anyways...

Today, since I am in my first probationary year, she told me that the district has decided to not extend my contract - so I won''t have a job with the district next year. She wanted me to sign paperwork but I refused - so they will send it certified mail. They can do this because the district has the right, without cause, to not continue the contract.

She got what she wanted. She seemed pretty happy about it.
 

OUpearlgirl

Ideal_Rock
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Are you kidding me? I''m horrified.

I am so, so sorry. I think it''s a blessing that you are out of this district.
 
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