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Old 05-07-2010, 08:21 PM
 
134 posts, read 342,879 times
Reputation: 77

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I've never really had this happen to me because I have a strong teaching team. However, we have a new instructor who has been teaching for 2 years (I have for 10 with a strong teaching performance) who had asked me to make a assess his students and place them on level (probably so he doesn't have to do RTI paperwork or didn't do the RTI paperwork). He practically gave me his class for reading and decided to teach another subject for us (out of kindness?) I went to our principal and asked her if someone else could do the assessment because I am not familiar with his students and have not tested them the entire year.

A few days later, after eating in the teacher's lounge (which I normally don't do) this instructor sends me an email stating things I never said or taken way out of context and goes on further to accuse me being unprofessional. I rebutted his email and clarifying his assumptions are unfounded and incorrect

The next day, I asked another admin to do the assessment and she does not really want to do them either. I avoid the lounge because he was there, and he follows me out to the patio where I sat to avoid him. We have recess duty together (unfortunately for me trying to avoid him) and I feel as though he is trying to 'get in my face' by slamming the basketball hard on the concrete next to me and walking away. He does this several times and then starts to undermine me infront of the students by telling them to stay away from me and play somewhere else and then proceeds to slam the ball hard on the ground. I try to talk to him but he started to carry on like a teenager and he is quite young 20 something. I certainly did not want this to escalate any further in front of the students.

I am too shocked over his behavior to complain which sounds petty. A few other teachers have noticed but I'm sure do not want to get involved. Does his behavior sound like harrassment? I don't think this is going away because rumors say he has called the admin office to share his grievances and our principal is upset.
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Old 05-08-2010, 08:08 AM
 
Location: In the north country fair
5,010 posts, read 10,686,308 times
Reputation: 7866
His behavior is harassment. You should go to the principal with all of your concerns. In fact, you should have done this right away. If he/she refuses to get involved, go to your local police station and file a report stating each incident where you have felt intimidated by his intentionally aggressive and confrontational behavior towards you. Bring any and all evidence to back up your claims, including the e-mail that he sent you. FYI regarding such e-mails: next time you get one, read it and leave it open on your computer screen. Then, go get another faculty member or the principal (to corroborate) and file another police report.

Furthermore, he is obviously angry b/c you have refused to do something for him that he wanted you to do, I imagine b/c he does not know how to perform the assessment and therefore does not want admin to realize that he is incompetent. So, whatever you do, insist that he do the assessment himself; admin and faculty will then see what's going on, and I don't think that he will be around much longer to harass you further.

And for what it is worth, I am much like you: I don't complain b/c I think that it is unprofessional and b/c it is usually involves petty matters such as the above involving people who are unprofessional and love drama. It also detracts from the true purpose for which you all are there: to teach.

However, I have found in environments such as this, that the professional and mature usually lose. You might just be better off someplace else, bowing out gracefully early on rather than allowing him to engage you in a fight, which is where this is headed; he's not going to stop until one of you is gone. Even if the matter is resolved, I imagine that he will hold a grudge and will look for any new opportunities to take you down. But see that your principal and the police have to say; hopefully, they will be supportive.
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Old 05-08-2010, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Eastern time zone
4,469 posts, read 7,192,509 times
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His behavior is petty tantrum throwing. Not sure I'd go so far as to call it harassment. Either way, he's being unprofessional, and I would absolutely go to the team head over it. He's new, and at the risk of being sexist, he's a guy in a largely women-only field. He needs to be made to understand-- by an authority figure-- that he doesn't get a pass just because the school needs male role models or he thinks he's new and brilliant blood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
And for what it is worth, I am much like you: I don't complain b/c I think that it is unprofessional and b/c it is usually involves petty matters such as the above involving people who are unprofessional and love drama. It also detracts from the true purpose for which you all are there: to teach.
Complaining about coworkers is unprofessional. OTOH, bringing a management issue to...well, management...is not. When one of my nurses was causing dissent and discomfort on the unit, I needed, as program head, to know about it. Not in a whiny snipey way, but "Geneva asked me to do this and I had no opportunity/didn't want to trade duties/wasn't comfortable working with that group. She's been making comments about it in front of the students. Since she's only been a teacher for a bit over a year, she may not know how divisive and undermining that can be. Can you help me figure out how to handle the situation?"
Bullies-- which is exactly what this coworker is being, in this instance-- count on their target not wanting to involve higher ups. Don't let him set the stage. You set it, and he'll knock it off, or at least take his act elsewhere.
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:32 AM
 
Location: In the north country fair
5,010 posts, read 10,686,308 times
Reputation: 7866
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aconite View Post
His behavior is petty tantrum throwing. Not sure I'd go so far as to call it harassment. Either way, he's being unprofessional, and I would absolutely go to the team head over it. He's new, and at the risk of being sexist, he's a guy in a largely women-only field. He needs to be made to understand-- by an authority figure-- that he doesn't get a pass just because the school needs male role models or he thinks he's new and brilliant blood.



Complaining about coworkers is unprofessional. OTOH, bringing a management issue to...well, management...is not. When one of my nurses was causing dissent and discomfort on the unit, I needed, as program head, to know about it. Not in a whiny snipey way, but "Geneva asked me to do this and I had no opportunity/didn't want to trade duties/wasn't comfortable working with that group. She's been making comments about it in front of the students. Since she's only been a teacher for a bit over a year, she may not know how divisive and undermining that can be. Can you help me figure out how to handle the situation?"
Bullies-- which is exactly what this coworker is being, in this instance-- count on their target not wanting to involve higher ups. Don't let him set the stage. You set it, and he'll knock it off, or at least take his act elsewhere.
You're right about a lot of elements of the situation. Whether or not a complaint is unprofessional or a relevant management issue is really at the discretion of the management. There is a very fine line between a complaint and an actual concern. But most of the people with whom I have worked are never fair, or concerned with anyone but themselves, and they use complaints to manipulate situations in their favor. I find that the best solution is to not involve oneself in the pettiness and to focus on the actual work. And if admin is the sort that encourages and empowers complainers rather than discouraging them, then I think that the OP is better off somewhere else. Otherwise, it will be an endless cycle.

Moreover, were these two co-workers adolescents, then I would consider it bullying. However, just b/c they work in a school doesn't mean that what this co-worker is doing constitutes mere bullying. As a general rule of thumb, when adolescents engage in harassment of other adolescents, it is considered bullying and is dealt with by the appropriate authority figures (i.e. parents, teachers and admin). When adults harass one another, it is legally considered harassment and is dealt with by the appropriate authorities (i.e. the police and a court of law).
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Old 05-08-2010, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Midwest transplant
2,050 posts, read 5,941,885 times
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If you have any sort of professional association (local NEA) you can file a grievance against him. I would be haunting my building rep or chief negotiator about all of the little pesky things this clown is doing. When it gets to the point of he said, she said, you need someone to have your back. Write EVERYTHING down, journal or diary it immediately and keep a hard copy. He is bullying and unprofessional. At the same time, be super conscientious about your actions, and try to stay near other professionals to diffuse his efforts to coerce and intimidate you.
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Old 05-08-2010, 05:03 PM
 
25,619 posts, read 36,684,227 times
Reputation: 23295
You better start taking copious and contemporaneous notes. This weasel is a manipulator. Watch your back. Never interact with him alone. I hope you have documented every interaction with him since right before this incident happened. This process is a pain in the butt. However will be a life saver if things move to the grievance stage which it looks like where this is headed. I would not have any more conversations with him other than work. DO NOT try to work it out with this character. Oh and hopefully he has had a National background check run on him. If things start to get out of control you might want to get that done. This jerk does not smell right if you know what I mean. That basketball slamming is a passive aggressive violent warning. I would be concerned for your safety.

Oh and this punk has beat you to the first punch by already talking with the Admin. You are behind on this one you need to get some backup ASAP. Again have this characters background run local, state and federal.
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Old 05-08-2010, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Eastern time zone
4,469 posts, read 7,192,509 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
Moreover, were these two co-workers adolescents, then I would consider it bullying. However, just b/c they work in a school doesn't mean that what this co-worker is doing constitutes mere bullying. As a general rule of thumb, when adolescents engage in harassment of other adolescents, it is considered bullying and is dealt with by the appropriate authority figures (i.e. parents, teachers and admin). When adults harass one another, it is legally considered harassment and is dealt with by the appropriate authorities (i.e. the police and a court of law).
Harassment is legally actionable. While this is a crappy situation, I don't know that it's really lawsuit-worthy.
Bullying, though it has come to light lately in situations pertaining to children, is neither the sole purview of children nor confined to school grounds. When one person tries to manipulate events through abuse of personal power, bullying is precisely what it is.
IME, probably the best term for what this guy is doing is, in the vernacular, a**holiness. But I don't know that I'd use that term in conversation with a superior.
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Old 05-08-2010, 09:14 PM
 
25,619 posts, read 36,684,227 times
Reputation: 23295
"Tacit threat" is the term for this situation. Both physical and verbal.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:32 AM
 
134 posts, read 342,879 times
Reputation: 77
Thank you for all of the replies so far. (I don't mind more thoughts) I know I'm trying to keep myself from 'reacting' and remain as professional as possible. I started journaling this weeks activities non-opinionated and saved his emails with his misconceptions (if not flat out lies). He states I said something derrogatory about a student in the lounge when I actually said "my student who doesn't like to read is pretending to read a Harry Potter book" There is the pettiness that is blown out of proportion because his email claims I said his student was a "non-reader" (a special ed term) and I had openly discussed this in the teacher's lounge where he states 'all could confirm I said it'. I asked another teacher if I really did say that...thinking did I slip? This teacher says no, she gathered I was talking about a student who doesn't read who was carrying a Harry Potter book. confused, she says, we all have those types of students and wondered why the other teacher is bent out of shape and going around 2 days later to get others to confirm. I'm shocked... this is so highschoolish. If he did try to start the grievance proceedure, he probably got shot back down to the principal's level as there was a general email to the staff stating proper protocol needs to go through the principals first. This is an unusal email for our school as we work out many bigger issues together without the need for it to go higher.

I am physically getting sick with all of this and almost needed to go home. "tacit threat" is so hard to prove and it can easily be said I'm reading way too much into his actions and requests. On another note, someone let me know he had done something similar to his teammate the previous year in another grade level. I don't know if it is considered professional to talk to her.

Thank you for all of the advice so far, especially about handling someone like this. I am going to carry around a notepad for every conversation we have in the future.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:58 AM
 
4,267 posts, read 6,181,165 times
Reputation: 3579
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustTess View Post
Thank you for all of the replies so far. (I don't mind more thoughts) I know I'm trying to keep myself from 'reacting' and remain as professional as possible. I started journaling this weeks activities non-opinionated and saved his emails with his misconceptions (if not flat out lies). He states I said something derrogatory about a student in the lounge when I actually said "my student who doesn't like to read is pretending to read a Harry Potter book" There is the pettiness that is blown out of proportion because his email claims I said his student was a "non-reader" (a special ed term) and I had openly discussed this in the teacher's lounge where he states 'all could confirm I said it'. I asked another teacher if I really did say that...thinking did I slip? This teacher says no, she gathered I was talking about a student who doesn't read who was carrying a Harry Potter book. confused, she says, we all have those types of students and wondered why the other teacher is bent out of shape and going around 2 days later to get others to confirm. I'm shocked... this is so highschoolish. If he did try to start the grievance proceedure, he probably got shot back down to the principal's level as there was a general email to the staff stating proper protocol needs to go through the principals first. This is an unusal email for our school as we work out many bigger issues together without the need for it to go higher.

I am physically getting sick with all of this and almost needed to go home. "tacit threat" is so hard to prove and it can easily be said I'm reading way too much into his actions and requests. On another note, someone let me know he had done something similar to his teammate the previous year in another grade level. I don't know if it is considered professional to talk to her.

Thank you for all of the advice so far, especially about handling someone like this. I am going to carry around a notepad for every conversation we have in the future.
He is a workplace bully. Documenting everything he says to you and saving his e-mails is a really good idea as you will need to cover yourself in case he does something more drastic, like lying to your boss or co-workers about you (sounds like this may be already happening?). This has happened to me once before and it was one the most unbelievable experiences I've ever had. I would consider asking his former teammate about what happened as he will likely do the same things to you. I also would consider talking to the boss about what has been going on mainly to cover yourself in case things escalate. Good luck to you.
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