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Betsy2542 Betsy2542 is offline
 
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Boundaries
Old 01-10-2020, 08:04 PM
 
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So I switched to a new school last year. The mom that was in charge of coordinating the volunteers( room mother)in the class was super friendly and helpful at first. Then, she started calling me a few times a week in the evening. She would just tell me great things about the school and how I’m going to love it. We kept telling me how much better I was than the last teacher( but she would do it in an undercover way it was weird).Then she would talk to me about the next activity/field trip she was coordinating. Each call would get longer and longer.

At first I didn’t think much of it because I thought that’s just how communication worked at the school with the lead parent. Towards the end of the year it felt like she was trying to be my friend. I thought she was nice but I’m a young teacher and she is 25 years older or so than me. Also, she would hint for me to do her favors like not take points off of test basically I started to realize she wanted special treatment. Well summer comes she still calls and text! I answer occasionally because she is a nice lady and she makes it seem like she is checking up on me and asking about my life. Well after a few more phone calls she is trying to ask for inside information about the school. One of the phone calls she literally invited herself to a party I was having at my house and showed up. It didn’t feel too weird at the time because we did talk about things outside of school. Well the next school year comes. I don’t have her kid anymore. Yet, she still is constantly calling and texting.

Eventually she starts to talk bad about the current teacher. She tells me she hates his teacher she is going to set up meeting with principal. She says school does nothing for her , the school owes her ect. I start answering less and less hoping she will get the hint. I’m super neutral when she starts talking about the teacher. I would tell her every child just needs to adjust to the new class. Well she didn’t realize I was such good friends with his current teachers. Her child’s teacher would show me the emails she sent her. They were so rude , awful , and entitled. It changed my view of her. She knows a ton of people at the school and has a ton of pull there , so I felt like I was between a rock and a hard place. I didn’t know if i stopped talking to her if she would spread something crazy about me. She was the type to gossip about everyone. This became a huge stress to my life. I worked two other jobs after school. My phone was constantly ringing from her. She would text me like it was an emergency. I would call her back and it would be a 3 hour phone call. Again, complaining , trying to get inside info, telling me how great I was.

I finally blocked her number and cold cut her off. I’m just worried now she will start something. I also feel a little bad because she was nice and helpful when I first got to the school. So my question is what to do. I will see her again and I won’t know what to say. As of now I pretty much run from her when I see her at school. To the point where I will make my class take a different route just to avoid her.


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Peaches Pears Peaches Pears is offline
 
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Old 01-11-2020, 12:02 PM
 
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Learn this phrase.
Type it out and keep it in your pocket if necessary.

"Respectfully, I cannot discuss that with you."

Use it when she talks about other teachers. (Plus professionally you cannot engage in conversations about another teacher or interfere with their relationship with students parents or their professional practice. You are the one who could be disciplined.)

Use it when she seeks inside information and then invite her to contact admin with her questions and concerns regarding school policies and practices.
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Summerwillcom Summerwillcom is offline
 
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I fully understand working in a place
Old 01-11-2020, 01:12 PM
 
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where you have to be careful about gossip. It can be hard. Times have changed it seems with professional boundaries over the yrs. When I 1st started teaching, parents would never consider calling you at home.
Now w/ cells, some think they have 24/7 access to the teacher. I do not give out my cell phone to any parent.
You have hopefully learned a valuable lesson. I was fortunate enough to have learned it innocently my 1st yr teaching. At the time, it stunk. Your student's parents should not be contacting you outside school hours.
The minute you hear a parent compliment you in a way that insults last year's teacher, BEWARE!. Someone who is bad mouthing someone else, will do it to you eventually. ( Unless you have been tight/ loyal for yrs and know they are just venting to you.)
When a parent starts in on a teacher, I immediately say, " You need to go talk to ___ and see if you can resolve the problem. "Then I walk away. When parents "fish" for information, I say something like, " I'm really sorry! I am not at liberty to discuss that with anyone at this time."

After blocking her number, IDK what you can do to fix it, but avoiding her will probably not help if she has a lot of pull and gossips a lot.
If you plan on staying there long, you need to repair what you can with extreme boundaries. You need to be assertive w/ her.
Maybe ask to meet and explain how much you appreciated all of her help. Then explain how busy your life has become and explain you should have told her that you could not be on the phone with her for 3 hours at a time. Maybe even apologize.
Make it so you can be civil, but not friends. You want to be able to walk by this woman in the hall and say, "Good morning!"
My 1st yr teaching, I was really sick 1 day. A parent asked why I couldn't get a sub. In those days some P's, stressed attendance to a really unhealthy point. I told the parent that the P would not get a sub for me. Not in a mean or angry way.
I was just innocently answering her Q. The parent went to the P and was poed. She thought she was sticking up for me, but it made the P think I had been talking about her. ( I really hadn't other than when I answered the parent's Q.) The P chewed me out majorly. I learned that day to be soooo careful what you say to parents. Even in innocent conversation, it can be misconstrued.
I know another young teacher who became friends with a parent and told her all kinds of stuff. They partied together on weekends. The parent knew tons of info on the teacher and got her in so much trouble. She ended up getting transferred to a horrible school.
So remember: Friends do not come from the "parent pool" unless it has been years that their kid has been out of your class and they've proven not to be gossipy. I wish you the best of luck to get through this situation. I know it must be really hard.
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Betsy2542 Betsy2542 is offline
 
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:30 PM
 
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Thank you the advice! Iím just feeling emotions of anger too. She took so much of my time and caused me so much stress. Iím a newly wed so some night I didnít even get to talk to my husband when she would call. I realized it was all for her selfish benefit because she wants special treatment and inside info. Iíve also learned she has done this to other teachers and they still havenít gotten away. She even pops over to one teachers house uninvited sometimes.
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KetchupChips KetchupChips is online now
 
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Letís make a list of helpful suggestions
Old 01-11-2020, 07:13 PM
 
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I understand what a difficult position you’re in and how much needless stress you’re going through. You have got to set those boundaries. Yes, easier said than done. I find it helps to have thought out responses ready. It’s hard to come up with responses in the moment.

I like Peaches Pears suggestion of “Respectfully, I cannot discuss that with you.”

Can we come up with more suggestions for Betsy?
“Oh, it’s getting late. I’ll let you go. Bye!”
“I’ve got another call. I won’t take up any more of your time. Bye!”
“I’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to not talk behind anyone’s back. Thanks for understanding.”
“I’ve got a meeting to go to. Have a good afternoon. Bye!”

If you see her at school, just keep walking while smiling and say Good morning! Keep moving. Don’t hide from her...it’s your school.

Keep at it - take back your time. You don’t have her child anymore so don’t be afraid of what she’ll do. Everyone knows what she’s like so she’s just making herself look bad. And she will be moving on soon - hopefully not too many more years.

Be firm and respectful but stand your ground. Let us know how it goes. We’re cheering for you!


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Old 01-11-2020, 08:10 PM
 
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Never, ever give a parent your phone number.
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Old 01-11-2020, 08:39 PM
 
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I agree with not giving out your phone number. When parents ask for it on a field trip, I say I donít give out my number. They can call the school (office has my number). I only give out the school number with my extension and my school email.
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TAOEP TAOEP is offline
 
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Yep, it's about boundaries
Old 01-11-2020, 08:48 PM
 
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Betsy, you need to set boundaries and grow a backbone. No one, particularly someone who is not a part of your immediate family, has the right to expect to talk with you for 3 hours on the phone or to invite themselves to a party. I'm guessing that she' not the only person you have difficulty saying no to. But she sounds like a nightmare.

When a phone call goes on longer than your available time, excuse yourself and end the call. (Well, it's been nice to talk but I've got a busy evening.)

Inviting herself to your party--"No, that won't work out." (you can add--"We'll have to get together another time" --but ONLY if you would like to.)

"No, if you want to know about that, you will need to talk with the people involved."

"I think the best person to ask about that is the principal."

And if you see her at school when you are with your class, just smile, say hello, and keep on walking. If she tries to engage in conversation. "Sorry, I'm teaching now."

She sounds like a very needy person, but it's not your responsibility to meet those needs.
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Old 01-11-2020, 08:56 PM
 
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Oh Betsy, I too had to learn the hard way not to give my cell number to any parents as a matter of policy-no exceptions.

I think you should be fine since her student isnt in your class anymore but if she asks I would just say that I cut back my cell service so I no longer have unlimited minutes to talk ant text and am now saving those for family and emergencies so I wont be answering and social calls.

If she tried to gossip or get the scoop in person I would use the line above-Respectfully I am I not able to talk about that person/topic. I also have a bunch of work I have to have completed shortly so I have to go, have a great day. She cant complain-she doesnt need to communicate with you at all anymore since she is no a parent in your class.

Bye Felicia!
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:48 AM
 
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Please don't feel bad for blocking her number---she totally took advantage of that privilege and abused it. You now are doing what you need to do. I'm sure the staff at your school know how she is and are on to her. So if she starts something about you, it will fall on deaf ears. I can understand rerouting your class. I'm figuring in due time, she'll move on to someone else unless you string her along, which it doesn't sound like you are.

You've gotten good advice about statements to say to her. Yes, she was nice and helpful, but it probably was to get what she wanted out of you.

Learn from this. This is an overbearing individual who needs to be ignored because she just uses people for her advantage and/or is emotionally needy and sucks the life out of people.


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Betsy2542 Betsy2542 is offline
 
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:25 AM
 
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Thank you for the advice. I always wonder why some parents think itís okay to treat the teacher like they are not a professional. I could never imagine these boundaries being crossed long ago.
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