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PSH PSH is offline
 
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Making Friends at Work and the Isolation of Teaching
Old 05-24-2015, 08:50 AM
 
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I'm curious if other teachers feel particularly isolated at work or have hard a hard time making teacher friends.

I'm 50 and have been teaching for 5 years now. My background is primarily in engineering. I teach 6 periods, so no planning period (which is financially OK because I get paid more because of it). That means the only adult interaction I have is a 30 minute lunch with other science teachers who vary in age so I'm definitely not the old one in the group. While they're relatively pleasant people, I've found them very cliquish. You're either in their group or your'e not. They plan outings, etc. that they only invite certain people to and then talk about the outings in front of everyone. It's really awkward and reminds me of things that went on when my daughter was in middle school. I can eat lunch in my room, but I'm afraid to alienate the group. Stupid, I know.

When I worked in an office everyone was pretty polite to each other. While there were definitely groups who got along, no one was ever really treated rudely or intentionally left out. For 25 years I got along with my co-workers, it's just really weird that I can't figure out how to get along with my co-workers, unless we keep things very, very superficial.

Maybe I'm just being a sissy, but has anyone else found teaching to be really isolating and had a hard time making teacher friends? If so, how did you handle it?


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Start with one
Old 05-24-2015, 11:56 AM
 
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Maybe you can start with one person you have a connection with and build from there? I have a hard time making friends but when I started at my new school I focused on one teacher who had a son my son's age and we talked sports. We eventually grew from there. Now I am close with my entire team but it took three years for me to feel comfortable. Good luck!
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Old 05-24-2015, 12:36 PM
 
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Yes, I don't have friends at work. It's gossipy and I trust no one.
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Same
Old 05-24-2015, 01:56 PM
 
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My school is cliquey too and I am older than most of the "cool kids" on the faculty. I have one or two that I am friendly with and that's it.
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Old 05-24-2015, 02:12 PM
 
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Most definitely. I always stood at my door at the start of school 8:00 am. Most teachers would pass my door on their way from the parking lot to sign in. Eventually one teacher said "Hey, you have to come to the third floor room -- bring your lunch." I was a bit apprehensive. I made lifetime friends. I was included in after school TGIF parties etc. When I transferred to a new school it took about a month to find "friends" and I became an honorary member of their department. I was the only female in my department - kind of hard to break into the old boys club. Eventually, I became department chair and threw lunch get togethers for my department. Since I have retired I mostly hear from the men in my department. - they tell me they wish I was still around to give them advice!


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Old 05-24-2015, 07:48 PM
 
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Yep, my school is cliquish, too! I've been there quite a few years and it still amazes me that adults act this way! Like you, I worked in an office and was friends with quite a few people. We went to each other's weddings, birthday celebrations, and went to dinner together. I know that I am a very friendly person, but I'm just not one of the "in" group at my school and that's o.k. I'm sure there are others that feel the same way you do. Find them and invite them to do something fun. That's what happened at my school. Eventually, you will realize that those who are cliquey are really not who you would want to be friends with anyway.
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Old 05-25-2015, 05:06 AM
 
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I don't have close friends at work now; however, I did when I taught elementary school. I think it has more to do with the forced collaboration that elementary teachers are required to do. Naturally, they are together more often and form relationships through that collaboration. In high school, most teachers are pretty much on their own for six periods and have lunch and a planning period. Some of the teachers lunch together. I don't but I like to have some time alone during the day. Guess I'm a loner--but I like my own company.
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Old 05-25-2015, 07:13 AM
 
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I think that because teachers are forced to work alone that you really have to put yourself out there to make friends or become friends. The school I am at now the primary teachers mostly all eat their lunch in the lounge. The intermediate eat in their classrooms. When I went from primary to intermediate I ate alone in the lounge. I was invited up to rooms to eat, but choose to eat in the lounge. Now I have people who eat with me, instead of in their rooms after about one year, and I knew these people for 7+ years!

I made friends in primary finally by just putting an activity out there to do on a weekend. A handful of people showed up and we continue to do things together. Hiking, dinner, shows, things like that. I think if you want to make friends, you need to be bold. Ask the "cliquey" group if you could join their next outing. They may just not realize that others want to do things. (Maybe they do and want it that way, but you don't know if you don't try). People probably think that about our "group" but honestly everyone was invited the first couple of times, then it seems like you have interested anyone who is interested, so why keep putting it out there. We do drinks ever so often after school on Fridays. Whoever wants to come, can - but not everyone might get the info. It isn't personal, it just depends on who you run into and how long the plan to go has been...

I would just tell one of them that whatever the did sounds like fun. Wonder if I could come along sometime?
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Old 05-25-2015, 04:02 PM
 
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Yes, I think I'm going to try outside the science department. I'm also going to work on friends outside of work too. Thanks so much!
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Thank you!
Old 05-25-2015, 04:17 PM
 
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Wow, I can't thank you all enough. As much as I hate that it happens to others too, it's nice to feel that it's not just me.

Teachcarolina, that's how it was when I worked in an office and I'm still friends with those folks. As much as I like teaching, there are times I really miss the grown ups at my old office job.

And Scottiestir, I worked primarily with males when I was in engineering and I loved it. It was easier to joke around and people seemed to genuinely care about each other.

I'm going to try reaching out to teachers outside of my department. Unfortunately, my room is in a little hallway that no one just walks through. Maybe I'll hang out in the copy room.

Again, thank you all so much!


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You are not alone
Old 06-21-2015, 05:17 PM
 
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I do not trust anyone either. Yes, everyone is very gossipy too. I hate how fake it all feels. Everyone complains about how quiet I am.

Hang in there.
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Old 11-14-2015, 06:33 AM
 
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I think I might id.with you. As an engineer, you are probably more action, less talk. The in-crowd learns to go with the flow. The social geniuses have a lot of fun joking and actually make things easier - pointing out the absurd. If you can ignore the feelings of being the "isolated one," reap and enjoy the benefits.
But I don't really know. I am stupidbaker. I work hard at keeping up in my work as well as maintaining a friendly connection with colleagues.
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