Sunday, September 1, 2013


On Friday I had a coworker, we'll call him "Fred," come into my room and tell me that we would no longer be team teaching Science and Social Studies together. That I could teach my class both, by myself. He then said, "You are a very pompous person to work with," and walked out.

I was surprised and shocked. In 23 years of teaching, no one has ever spoken to me that way, much less a man. (In one of my later emails to him, I did tell him this.) I also thought it was rude just to walk out and not even discuss what he was upset about. Which I didn't even find out the real story to until late, Friday evening.

Now I was going to have to spend my holiday weekend planning for Science to start on Tuesday when I had planned to be teaching Social Studies.

In emails back and forth I found out he thought I had "thrown him under the bus" to the administration, when in fact I hadn't. It was a misunderstanding which I could have cleared up quickly, if he hadn't have stormed out of my room and refused to talk to me.

He also thought I was being too controlling. He said, "Life, including work, cannot be controlled.  All we can do is to work and manage on a day by day basis to reach our goals." In response to that I said, "I admit, I do try to control things. I like planning as far in advance as I can. I understand that sometimes that does come off as controlling and for that I am sorry."

We managed to resolve things to the point that now we are back to the original plan of me teaching Social Studies and him teaching Science, I do not have to redo my plans and we will get together and talk in person on Tuesday.

Then today I had an EPIPHANY!

Being at a new school and wanting to pull my weight, I was offering suggestions, helping out where I could, bringing in things for everyone to use (Interactive Notebook ideas etc...) and putting in my two cents when we were planning as a grade level. Something I had always done it the past.

I think Fred felt threatened by this. Him having been at this school for ten years (since the school opened) and being the "go to guy" about all things and then having me come in, brand new, as far as he was concerned, even thought I have been teaching for 23 years. He didn't see me as being on an equal playing field with him, since he is so much older. As far as he was concerned, I was an interloper, taking over his turf, not someone whom he could see as a coworker with equal skill sets and knowledge to share.

Not necessarily the way he should have handled it, but I understand him more now.

I was told that he doesn't play well with others, so I will keep my thoughts and suggestions to myself and let him continue to be the resident expert.

1 comment:

Connie said...

Controlling...yes, I can see that. Pompous? That's funny.