Author Topic: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker  (Read 10371 times)

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whatsanenigma

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #45 on: February 28, 2014, 12:25:03 PM »
That is a good update.  Please keep us posted!

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #46 on: February 28, 2014, 12:35:29 PM »
This situation aside, I wouldn't instantly get upset if a teacher made a child cry.  My oldest is in 7th grade and he can be kind of sensitive and will get choked up when scolded. Heck, even if the adult is not yelling, just giving a kind scolding or rebuke, he gets emotional.*

So some kids might react with tears easily, either crocodile tears to try and get out of trouble, amp up the drama quotient, or make the other person feel guilty and let them off the hook. Or the child is genuinely sensitive and doesn't deal well with being corrected, even if it's kind constructive criticism.

Now on the other hand, I've also run into people who think that anytime a female turns on the tears, she's trying to manipulate someone, or must be in the midst of a cycle.  ::)

But as for the situation at hand, I do think it was terribly inappropriate for Muffy to pull Lulu (who doesn't strike me as a drama queen, based on OP's description)  out of OP's class to harp after her enough to make her cry and miss that much of her lesson.

*Can't imagine who he gets that from...oh yeah, me.*
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alkira6

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #47 on: February 28, 2014, 01:15:17 PM »
I agree with the actions the OP took. You handled it like an adult and kept the proper people in the loop. In my district there is no way that I would have a one to one with another teacher about behavior.  There are too many seemingly reasonable people who go "hood" in the blink of an eye.  I had a parent do this a couple of weeks ago when I told her that I broke up a wrestling watch her child was involved with in the middle of the hall. She cursed me and threatened to have me arrested  ::)

Hillia

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #48 on: February 28, 2014, 01:17:29 PM »
I think the way Muffy responded to the news that the student cried is a problem. Yes, some kids are more sensitive and cry easily; sometimes a child's behavior has been serious enough that strong words are necessary and the child might cry.  But I would never expect an adult, especially one in a position of authority over that child, to respond with 'So what?'.  An acknowledgement of the child's emotional state and some show that the adult is not indifferent to her suffering would be expected. I would not expect a teacher to ignore a disciplinary situation because of fear as to how a child would react, but I would expect at least some amount of respect and concern for the child's feelings.

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TootsNYC

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #49 on: February 28, 2014, 01:37:58 PM »
Here's the other thing that struck me about this:

Muffy is " the orchestra assistant "

Is that a teacher?
Is she really in a position in which she is allowed to pull a student out of instruction time? Is she really in a position in which she is allowed to scold a student?

TurtleDove

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #50 on: February 28, 2014, 01:41:12 PM »
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. 

A recent post made me go back and look at the OP.  This is kinda confusing to me - OP, why did you let Muffy take Lulu out of class if she didn't have the authority to do so?  Or did she?  Obviously Muffy handled this poorly, but in the future if Muffy (or others) don't have the "right" to call students out of class it would make sense for you to "protect" the students that way - just say, "Sorry, Muffy, you can talk to Lulu later."

MorgnsGrl

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #51 on: February 28, 2014, 02:00:32 PM »
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. 

A recent post made me go back and look at the OP.  This is kinda confusing to me - OP, why did you let Muffy take Lulu out of class if she didn't have the authority to do so?  Or did she?  Obviously Muffy handled this poorly, but in the future if Muffy (or others) don't have the "right" to call students out of class it would make sense for you to "protect" the students that way - just say, "Sorry, Muffy, you can talk to Lulu later."

I don't disagree with this, but in this particular case I'm kind of glad that didn't happen, because otherwise maybe no one would have know about Muffy's uncaring attitude toward students in general or about her unkind behavior toward Lulu in specific.

TootsNYC

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #52 on: February 28, 2014, 02:02:30 PM »
Well, when Muffy asked, it wasn't actually classtime; if I were the OP, I'd have expected it to be a short conversation. Like, "we need to reschedule your oboe lesson" or "do you know what happened to that music stand you borrowed?"

Something administrative and short--I certainly wouldn't have expected it to be something contentious enough that anybody would have ended up cross (as Muffy way) or crying (as Lulu was).

A little backseat driving (sorry, GNSW):

Quote
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.

Actually, at this point, a teacher would have every right (and maybe ought to exercise it) to say, "Sorry, you'll have to finish this later, I need Lulu in class."

Quote

 Started working.  Peeked again.  Now Lulu was crying and Muffy was looking cross.

At this point, to be honest, I'd expect a teacher to break it up and ask the student to return to the classroom.

Quote
  TWENTY MINUTES LATER, Lulu enters my class a sobbing mess.
I sorta think that well before this, a teacher would say, "Give me back my student. It's classtime."


But of course, in real life the teacher is juggling lots of other kids, and the lesson itself, and is sort of "delegating" the job of "having enough common sense to send a student back to the classroom" to Muffy.

(ooh, it's so easy, this backseat driving! I bet I have enough time to make a couple of side trips, it won't take anytime at all!)

whatsanenigma

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #53 on: February 28, 2014, 02:05:28 PM »
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. 

A recent post made me go back and look at the OP.  This is kinda confusing to me - OP, why did you let Muffy take Lulu out of class if she didn't have the authority to do so?  Or did she?  Obviously Muffy handled this poorly, but in the future if Muffy (or others) don't have the "right" to call students out of class it would make sense for you to "protect" the students that way - just say, "Sorry, Muffy, you can talk to Lulu later."

I suspect, though, that OP thought that the conversation would just take a minute or two and that it really was important.  And I highly doubt that Muffy said anything like "I need to talk to Lulu so I can badger her about something and make her cry".  And Lulu doesn't seem like the kind of student who would openly say, "No, please, Miss OP, don't make me go with her"-she probably just wanted to leave the classroom in a dignified manner and get the conversation over with.

I'm sure it all seemed pretty normal, and maybe OP even had reason to think that the orchestra director had sent the assistant to do something-and as proxy for the actual director, that could carry more weight in terms of allowing a student to be taken out of class for a moment or two.

Bottom line, though, is that hindsight is 20/20.  The OP did what seemed reasonable at the time, and I am sure that knowing now what she didn't know then, she will in the future do exactly what you suggest.

whatsanenigma

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #54 on: February 28, 2014, 02:11:15 PM »
Well, when Muffy asked, it wasn't actually classtime; if I were the OP, I'd have expected it to be a short conversation. Like, "we need to reschedule your oboe lesson" or "do you know what happened to that music stand you borrowed?"

Something administrative and short--I certainly wouldn't have expected it to be something contentious enough that anybody would have ended up cross (as Muffy way) or crying (as Lulu was).

A little backseat driving (sorry, GNSW):

Quote
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.

Actually, at this point, a teacher would have every right (and maybe ought to exercise it) to say, "Sorry, you'll have to finish this later, I need Lulu in class."

Quote

 Started working.  Peeked again.  Now Lulu was crying and Muffy was looking cross.

At this point, to be honest, I'd expect a teacher to break it up and ask the student to return to the classroom.

Quote
  TWENTY MINUTES LATER, Lulu enters my class a sobbing mess.
I sorta think that well before this, a teacher would say, "Give me back my student. It's classtime."


But of course, in real life the teacher is juggling lots of other kids, and the lesson itself, and is sort of "delegating" the job of "having enough common sense to send a student back to the classroom" to Muffy.

(ooh, it's so easy, this backseat driving! I bet I have enough time to make a couple of side trips, it won't take anytime at all!)

I agree with this post a lot, and I think you make a good point when you give specific examples about what an orchestra director might need to talk to a student about for a minute and why it would require that the student leave class for a moment.  A rescheduling of a lesson, especially on short notice, would be something a student needed to know about ASAP, and a misplaced music stand (or any number of other things) could mean that the students in the next class are somehow inconvienenced.  Band or orchestra is not the same as a regular class would be, in that aspect, I think, and I think that based on the information the OP had at the time, she did what was reasonable...especially if she thought the request might be coming from the actual director.

TurtleDove

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #55 on: February 28, 2014, 02:14:53 PM »
What I took from TootsNYC's post (which I agree with) was that the OP probably should have noticed Lulu was gone past the announcements and called her in before she missed any of the actual class time, let alone twenty minutes of it.  Monday morning quarterbacking, but still.  :)

lowspark

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #56 on: February 28, 2014, 02:40:12 PM »
LOL yeah, I think it's Monday morning quarterbacking. I can see GSNW being caught up in the process of dealing with kids, getting the lesson started, etc. and just not thinking about LuLu. Especially if, before this incident, GSNW had no reason to think anything more of Muffy other than she's a fellow instructor in the school. I would think that now, if a similar thing happened, that is, Muffy pulling a kid out into the hall for a chat, GSNW would be on high alert.

But you know, when you're in the midst of doing your job, 20 minutes can fly by with hardly a notice until you suddenly realize so much time has passed.

GSNW

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #57 on: February 28, 2014, 03:51:51 PM »
So, another good update!

I totally agree with the "quarterbacking" assessments - and I do this to myself too, FWIW, because REFLECTION.

To address a few questions or respond to a few points:

1.  Not unusual for the music dept at our school to pull kids (this is another issue entirely, but it's normal) for various stuff.  I assumed Muffy wanted to talk about a bow or a fiddle or something.  We have three music teachers (band, choir, and orchestra), and they each have an assistant.

2.  Muffy is not licensed personnel.  She cannot be alone with a classroom of students, for example, nor is she "qualified" in the way that licensed staff are qualified.  Of course, that in no way makes me her supervisor - her supervisor isn't even the orchestra teacher, her supervisor is the dean (each one of our administrators supervises different departments).  *My* supervisor is our assistant principal, who I would have spoken to had I seen him first.  Actually, if it had been the principal, same story -- here's what happened, what do I do?  If anything?

3.  I would not have dreamed of approaching Muffy myself.  There are teachers on campus I would talk to if I had an issue/problem with how something was handled, Muffy isn't one of them.  Aside from the fact that a child was in great distress is Muffy's known quick temper and instances where I have observed her to be quite irrational. 

4.  Crying kids - I have made kids cry before, maybe five or less times that I can recall, as the result of a firm discussion or them hearing something they didn't like.  I do not like making kids cry and I feel badly if they do, but (reflection!) if I can honestly say I would have said exactly what I did if my AP was observing me at the moment, I am OK with it.  It's definitely not a "so what?" situation, more that I'm sorry the kid is upset about whatever it is they needed to hear - or in one instance I can think of, I was relieved to see an emotional response to a serious issue.

It is not so much that there was crying, but the kid that was doing the crying - Lulu is a kid that works hard in all of her classes (as evidenced by academic and citizenship grades), she is polite, she is a joy to have in class - truly a pleasure to teach.  All kids, even those types, make mistakes - but her obvious distress after a confrontational conversation with her orchestra assistant made me instantly question what the heck Muffy thought she was doing.  As I said before, if the situation was serious enough to warrant that kind of confrontation, it probably should have been handled through the dean's office or other progressive discipline.

So here is what apparently happened:

Lulu was in the music hall in the morning (before school).  Muffy saw her and made a remark about Lulu's dress (which is within dress code and she's been wearing it all year), something like, "That shows too much skin and is not appropriate." 

Lulu replied that she had worn it before, Muffy apparently went on a rant about how "In my day we didn't dress so trashy, we respected what our instructors said," etc etc.  Lulu got upset and left.  What Muffy was basically doing (in my opinion) was trying to cover her butt because she knew what she said to Lulu was not cool.  Interestingly enough, the dean already knew about the conversation in the music hall because another teacher overheard it and told the dean about it. 

Lulu came to talk to me again during class today.  She is afraid of retribution from Muffy.  She said that Muffy has been trying very hard to act buddy-buddy with her in orchestra, asking her how she is doing, pressing her for more details, etc.  If Lulu doesn't open up to her (beyond "I am fine, thank you," Muffy becomes annoyed and starts asking more specific questions ("How are your other classes, is everything OK?  Are you SURE?  Is ANYTHING bothering you?" and this is making Lulu quite uncomfortable.  I was able to help her through the teachings of eHell, which was great!

I talked to Lulu about polite spine.  I told her it is okay to say, "I am fine Ms. Muffy, but I would like to concentrate on my instrument."  Or, "Please don't keep asking me - I'm fine but I want to string my bow."  Lulu has also asked me and her other teachers NOT to let Muffy pull her from class again (which we are comfortable doing and it speaks volumes that no one asked her why). 

I also told Lulu that she needs to remain polite with Muffy but is not required, due to her being a student, to engage in personal conversation with her - and if Muffy presses the issue to TELL ANY OTHER ADULT. 

It is a tough lesson for kids when they figure out that not all adults can be trusted.

The other good news is that I haven't seen Muffy around or heard from her at all, so I feel like I'm in the clear on that.



TootsNYC

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #58 on: February 28, 2014, 03:56:37 PM »
So she was haranguing the kid about her dress?

Who does Muffy think she is?

I would imagine that even *you* can't make a student go home and change clothes without going through the office.

Why would she not think that she needed to get an administrator to deal with a dress-code violation.
  (and yes, I know I didn't put a question mark at the end of that, bcs I really don't expect an answer)

jedikaiti

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Re: Goal for Today: Ignore Nasty Co-Worker
« Reply #59 on: February 28, 2014, 04:01:38 PM »
I work in a very different kind of educational establishment (and in a different country to boot), so I am genuinely curious about the way this was handled and how others are suggesting it be handled.

If one of my colleagues made a student cry, I would go and speak to that colleague myself, and tell them that their behaviour was out of order, and not to repeat it around me. I am an adult, and i work with adults, and i feel that this sort of thing is best handled by a face-to-face conversation at the time.

What was the necessity of reporting Muffy's behaviour to the Dean? Is it  SOP, in any case of a disagreement between teaching staff, or was it more that in this case a student was reduced to tears?

A person of authority in a school should NOT be making students cry like that. It's one thing if a kid cries or has a tantrum because they aren't allowed to have a piece of candy, or recess is over, or something like that. Dragging a child out of class for an extended period and making them sob to the point that they effectively miss an entire class period is COMPLETELY out of line and in that case the higher-ups need to be made aware of the situation so they can handle it appropriately.


ETA: Just saw OP's update.

She pulled a kid out of class to berate and insult her over a CLOTHING CHOICE? Not an egregious one, but one that's well within school guidelines and has been worn previously without problem? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Muffy needs to NOT be working with children, and should not be allowed to have one-on-one contact with Lulu, or unsupervised contact with any student.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 04:08:00 PM by jedikaiti »
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