Saturday, June 02, 2007


I’m completely flummoxed by one of the people on my team right now.

I’ve got a tough little guy in my class. One of the brightest I’ve ever had, but also one of the most energy-draining and time-consuming. He opts out of what we’re doing most of the time, and any more I let him because a) he’s already got the curriculum mastered and b) it’s not worth the time that it takes away from the other kids to keep him on task.

I had some preliminary talks with the team member about putting him in her room next year, as she and another teammate are moving up to 2nd grade. It was a normal conversation, and I didn’t think much of it. The next day she catches me before a staff meeting and unloads—I hate her, I’ve always hated her, I’m going to put this kid in her class just to get at her, she hoped that I wouldn’t give him to her out of spite, and a couple of other things that didn’t really register with me because I was absolutely blown away.

That was on a Thursday morning. We didn’t talk at all the next two days (she was gone one of them), and then we were forced into contact the following Tuesday for our Professional Learning Community meeting. It was icy, probably more on my end than hers. She sent me a conciliatory email afterwards, but I ignored it because I was steamed.

It wasn’t the piece about hating her that really got to me. I’ve never hated her, even if we have had our disagreements over the years. The part that pissed me off, and the part that still gets my jaw set when I think about it, is the idea that I would put a student in the wrong classroom out of spite. That, right there, was a beautifully horrible window into just the kind of person she thinks I am.

She might not like me. She might not really like the program I run. But to entertain the thought, even for a second, that I would intentionally put a child in a bad situation out of sheer revenge calls my professionalism into question in the most appalling way possible, and I don’t know that I can ever get past that in my dealings with her.

A side effect of what happened is that I’m completely uncomfortable placing kids in her room next year. If I give her students who are at all difficult, is it going to be reflected on me? Fairness dictates that I spread the pain around (and with my class, there’s plenty of pain to be had), but the blowback could be bloody, and I don’t want to deal with it. I half considered making the PE teacher place my kids, but then I got stubborn because, damn it, it’s my decision and I’m not going to be pushed out of making it.

This all came about three weeks ago Thursday. Since then she’s approached me a couple of times with little things, trying to get things back to normal, but I haven’t forgotten and I certainly haven’t forgiven. A big part of me knows that I’m being petty, but every time I see her it’s like getting kicked in the groin all over again.

Summer vacation is welcome any time now. It’d be good for everybody.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got a common boss here - I think it's time to go to them. What you're describing is a serious issue, and I'm glad that you took umbrage with the most serious part.

There's no shame in sitting down with the other teacher and an administrator and going over this scenario. Consider this - the other teacher's bizarre, misguided discomfort with student placement will likely carry over to next year. If she holds this against you, she just might hold it against the kids.

It is most definitely time to talk to an administrator.

9:27 AM  
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6:56 AM  

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