Author Topic: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker  (Read 9429 times)

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GSNW

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Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« on: February 27, 2014, 01:35:25 PM »
So this background is sort of long, my apologies for that!

We did an activity in class yesterday that is one of my favorites (it's called The Great Fossil Find and if you're into or teach paleontology concepts it can be found here: http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/gr.fs.fd.html).

At the beginning of the period, during the announcements, the orchestra assistant (Muffy) came and asked for one of my students (Lulu).  They went into the hall.  At the end of announcements as I was pairing kids up, she still wasn't back.  I peeked into the hall and they were having an intense conversation.  Started working.  Peeked again.  Now Lulu was crying and Muffy was looking cross.  TWENTY MINUTES LATER, Lulu enters my class a sobbing mess.  I stepped back outside with her and ask what's up, she said, "I don't know Mrs. GSNW, I keep thinking this conversation is over but she won't stop talking to me about it." 

Obviously that is not a lot of detail, but the rest of the class is waiting for me to continue with guided activity, so I have Lulu wash her face and tell her it'll be OK (Lulu, by the way, is a GREAT kid -- she is an exemplary student, very bright, courteous, etc).  By this time I am PO'd.  Lulu missed 20+ minutes of my class for some sort of confrontation that left her unable to function for the remaining time in class, and she is obviously extremely upset. 

I spoke to the dean during passing period and asked her what to do?  Gave dean the basics - kid pulled from my class, very upset, freaking out, etc.  At the end of the day Lulu came in and said, "Mrs. GSNW, are you the one that told Ms. Dean about what happened?"  I said yes, and Lulu gave me a hug and said, "Thank you SO much."  I didn't get more details but Lulu said she felt much better and "it's finally over."

So now I'm sure you can guess, Muffy is furious with me for stepping in to the situation.  She sent me a very nasty email (over school mail no less!) which I have pasted below:

GSNW -
Ridiculous - if you have a problem with how I deal with a student deal with me about it because your class is not the only thing happening on campus.  I talk to kids when I need to and I NEEDED TO TALK TO LULU.  She cried so what.  I thought you and I were better friends than that -

Muffy

I did not respond to the email, because really what is there to say?  I don't know what the conversation was about and I'm not super interested in the details.  If something required that much discussion or was serious enough to warrant that level of upset, it was not handled in the right way.  I would not be surprised if Muffy confronted me, so can I say...

"I'm not going to talk about this with you."
"I really don't see the point in discussing this."
"I don't feel I owe you an explanation."
Nothing, walk away.

I don't know, any other ideas?

TootsNYC

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2014, 01:49:18 PM »
I would absolutely forward that to the dean, with a note that said, "Thought you might want to know."

And then I'd just avoid the woman at all costs.

But as you point out, you may not be able to, so I like your, "I don't see any point in discussing this." and then, "Excuse me, I'm running late, and I need to get going." and walk away while she is talking.

buvezdevin

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2014, 01:58:06 PM »
Well, you don't know specifics of how or what Muffy communicated to Lulu, is I would guess that your convo with the dean was about how to address a student missing class time and being unable to engage due to student's upset at the discussion for which she was pulled from class.

In other words, you spoke with the dean about Lulu, not Muffy - right?  I would not reply to the email, but if Muffy presses you in person, I would reply "Muffy, I spoke with dean about Lulu being unable to participate in class - I don't know what you discussed with Lulu, and don't need to know - my concern was only Lulu."
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
Mark Twain

Jones

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2014, 02:01:18 PM »
Forward the email to the dean for sure.

I like the first two phrases you posted, and the "just walk away" option. A denial of friendship would be on my "to-do" list as well, if she tries to say that in person. Your association is professional, I presume, and part of being professional is reporting suspected emotional abuse and preventable activities that disrupt the learning process.

GSNW

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2014, 02:02:30 PM »
In other words, you spoke with the dean about Lulu, not Muffy - right?  I would not reply to the email, but if Muffy presses you in person, I would reply "Muffy, I spoke with dean about Lulu being unable to participate in class - I don't know what you discussed with Lulu, and don't need to know - my concern was only Lulu."

Yup, this exactly!

Deetee

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2014, 02:05:13 PM »
I'm just following TootsNYC around today agreeing with her.

I also suggest that be forwarded to the Dean. If she thinks that next time you should allow children to be reduced to a sobbing mess during class time and that the other teacher was appropriate, she can let you know.

Also, I admire that you were not interested and did not probe into the reasons for the drama. Just the effect on the student and the class.

Maybe for Muffy something like:
[assuming there are not students around]
"This is something between you and the Dean. I'm not getting involved."
or maybe, maybe
"If my class is disrupted and my student is weeping, I will always follow up with the appropriate person, which is the Dean"


MrTango

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2014, 02:23:17 PM »
If I were in your shoes, that would be forwarded to the dean as an "FYI."

I'd also save a copy somewhere, just in case it's needed at a later date.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 02:25:35 PM by MrTango »

TootsNYC

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2014, 02:29:20 PM »
"She cried so what."

 :o

Marisol

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2014, 02:36:46 PM »
Based on Lulu thanking you and saying "it is finally over" something was going on that Muffy was not handling right.

TurtleDove

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2014, 02:45:28 PM »
Well, you don't know specifics of how or what Muffy communicated to Lulu, is I would guess that your convo with the dean was about how to address a student missing class time and being unable to engage due to student's upset at the discussion for which she was pulled from class.

In other words, you spoke with the dean about Lulu, not Muffy - right?  I would not reply to the email, but if Muffy presses you in person, I would reply "Muffy, I spoke with dean about Lulu being unable to participate in class - I don't know what you discussed with Lulu, and don't need to know - my concern was only Lulu."

I agree with this.  I would save the email in case it is needed in the future, but I wouldn't forward it to the Dean at this point.  It could come across as the OP trying to get Muffy in trouble, or not being able to handle interpersonal issues herself, which does not reflect well on the OP.  I think the OP handled this very well so far, the Dean is aware Muffy did something, and will likely ask the OP if she needs more information, at which point, if this develops (or if Muffy steps things up) it may make sense to shar the email with the Dean.

tinkytinky

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2014, 02:45:55 PM »
WOW! "she cried so what". That is cold.

Ignore the email (but keep a copy, forward as an FYI to the Dean). If she confronts you, your answer is "I was concerned for my student, and I will absolutely go to the Dean if warranted because my student is not able to participate in my class." and "In the future, please do not interupt my class time to discuss things with my students." I am assuming that she has Lulu for class at some point in the day. she can talk with her at that time. Because, even though your class "isn't the only thing happening on campus", it was your dedicated time with the class in question. and believe me, if one student is so upset that she couldn't participate, most of the other students did not grasp the activity as well as if they had been uninterupted. And as she is an assistant, why is she talking to you like that anyway?

FWIW, I am furious for you.

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ddawn23

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2014, 02:46:10 PM »
If I were in your shoes, that would be forwarded to the dean as an "FYI."

I'd also save a copy somewhere, just in case it's needed at a later date.
I add my pod to this, and I'd add that Bcc is your friend.  If, in the future, you do need to reply to a prickly email from Muffy, Bcc the dean.

guihong

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2014, 02:51:49 PM »
I totally agree with the advice upthread, but wanted to jump in to say I love that lesson!  I take it GSNW teaches elementary kids, but I think it could be modified for middle school kids as well :).



esposita

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2014, 03:10:25 PM »
I have no advice or anything except anger that a person in a teaching capacity would take the child you describe, reduce her to tears, and send her back to class that way. If you're going to have strong words for a child you darn well better take care of the whole issue, which means that you stay til everything is better and you and the kid are on friendly terms again. Grrrr....

TootsNYC

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2014, 03:48:26 PM »
I totally agree with the advice upthread, but wanted to jump in to say I love that lesson!  I take it GSNW teaches elementary kids, but I think it could be modified for middle school kids as well :).

Whoa, really? I'd been thinking high school or something!

That makes the "She cried so what" response even worse, and the fact that this woman made her cry horrible as well!