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Is being an island really a bad thing?

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Is being an island really a bad thing?
Old 11-27-2017, 11:36 AM
 
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Another post got me thinking that I really am an "island to myself." I don't do it to be snobby or standoffish; I do it to keep from getting mired down in the petty silliness and cliques that inevitably form. I keep to myself, do my job, do the extras when I'm asked, and
Leave others alone. Is that really a problem on most campuses, people preferring to stay out of the drama?


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Self-Preservation
Old 11-27-2017, 11:51 AM
 
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It's a well-known fact to those of us in the profession that schools are often toxic environments not conducive to healthy employee relations. We have all read the many posts that report the horrendous treatment of teachers by their colleagues. Keeping to oneself is a natural and effective response to surviving under such deplorable conditions and will ensure that you will make it to the retirement finish-line. Many of the best teachers have learned to close the door, get the job done and go home as soon as possible - I can tell you're one of us. Leaving others alone is not really a problem on most campuses - it's actually part of the solution! Have a great day!
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Old 11-27-2017, 12:13 PM
 
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An island is a lonely place sometimes...something I deal with as I am always the last to know anything and can't help but feel left out as others share things together. I like my island, but once in awhile I would like a visitor, but I have been on my island so long that people just don't come around.
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Angela Watson Unshakeable
Old 11-27-2017, 12:26 PM
 
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Angela Watson's book Unshakeable has many good suggestions on how to be part of your school culture without getting pulled into toxic drama.
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Staying Out of Drama
Old 11-27-2017, 12:40 PM
 
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Being on your own in a toxic work environment is not necessarily a bad thing. However, you do miss out on getting information about what is going on in the building.

I picked up a lot of news when I ate lunch in the teachers lounge. I liked knowing what was going on. That being said, I often kept to myself at other times of the day.


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Finding other islands
Old 11-27-2017, 02:18 PM
 
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I, too, try to stay out of the muck, but have found 2 or 3 other "island dwellers" who I can visit and feel safe with. Unfortunately, in my building, the "team building" exercises have become ubiquitous (SP??), and it is difficult to side step them sometimes. Keep reminding myself that I am there for the students and work to stay focused on them!
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benefits to antisocial
Old 11-27-2017, 03:35 PM
 
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I don't have to say them because I do understand how we need time to recharge especially at lunch. I vaguely remember visiting the teacher's lounge to eat my lunch and when I had, it was because I got along well with my department. That was eons ago. And then I just started working through lunch correcting or grading papers. It didn't feel right just because I felt left out and so I decided that being an island wasn't so bad. Besides, no one else was eating in the staff room anyways.
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Old 11-27-2017, 03:51 PM
 
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I think it depends on the school. I am kind of a loner myself. In my previous school, I got along really well with my team but didn't really branch out with the rest of the staff. I had a horrible, nutcase admin and I thought it would be best to basically keep my head down and do my job. In my evaluation meeting, my admin literally told me that I was one of the best teachers in the building, but she didn't like my personality and didn't think I was a good fit for the school. She saw it as a huge red flag that I didn't "pal around" with her and the rest of the staff. She would have non-renewed had I not resigned first.

At my current school no one seems to care that much that I'm not really into the social scene, but I do think opportunities and accolades tend to go to those that are better at "playing the game." When people really like someone socially, they tend to also view that person in a positive light professionally.

I used to have a teammate who everyone loved socially. She was hilarious, warm, friendly, very outgoing, etc. When it came to her actual job she did the bare minimum and would literally do things like online shop during the school day, but people loved her so much that this pretty much went unnoticed. On the other hand, one of my current teammates is excellent at her job but doesn't "read" people well and often unintentionally makes people upset. Even though she does amazing things for kids, a lot of things she does are scrutinized and put into an unfairly negative light.

I personally don't like that things are this way, but my point is that your "social game" can be very important. Sometimes I definitely wish that this was a stronger area of mine. I try to be friendly, but I'm also very efficient at work and I'd rather get things done then stand around and chat.
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Depends
Old 11-27-2017, 03:51 PM
 
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I’m a relatively introverted person and enjoy my alone time. I totally understand when people pull away to recharge or get much needed work done so they don’t have to do it at home.

In our building we have people who choose not to collaborate with others outside their comfortable circle because they feel superior to others (this was actually said), don’t value their opinions or feel that their contributions would not match the effort of their own. In that case it begins to feel exclusive of others
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islands
Old 11-28-2017, 07:58 AM
 
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I am an introvert. I once heard someone say it is impossible to be an introvert and a good teacher. I disagree completely. I need down time to recharge and collect my thoughts. Most people do not like to be alone with their thoughts. I read of an experiment recently where each person was in a room alone with nothing for 15 minutes. They could have their I-phone before the 15 minutes was up by just pushing a button. The only catch was if they pushed the button they received a shock. 80% of the people chose to take the shock rather than be without their phone. I think too much emphasis is placed on being social and those who aren't are viewed as defective.


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Old 11-28-2017, 07:20 PM
 
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I am currently a teacher in training, and i do not necessarily think being an island is a bad thing. To me, alone time gives me a sense of accomplishment in terms of more focus when doing my work. There is indeed a lot of drama even before actual classroom experiences by the peers in my department of study. Keeping to myself helps me get my work complete, which is the most important thing at the end of the day, so its more about what works for you.
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Old 11-29-2017, 04:55 AM
 
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Quote:
When people really like someone socially, they tend to also view that person in a positive light professionally.
I think this is very astute.
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