Private Zoom Chat became Public! - ProTeacher Community




Home Join Now Search My Favorites
Help


      The VENT

Private Zoom Chat became Public!

>

Reply
 
Thread Tools
tsktsktsk
 
 
Guest

tsktsktsk
 
 
Guest
Private Zoom Chat became Public!
Old 05-28-2020, 05:50 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #1

I singed out, but would love some advice -- or just need to vent.

At a recent district zoom meeting new colleague "private chatted" about me to a good friend of mine, and implied that I was not doing my job and should not get a stipend for some additional work I do. The private chat accidentally became part of a public document which was downloaded onto our website. (Be careful of Zoom chats!) I was offended when I saw the comment, and asked the director of our program (not our princ.) to address it with her, which he said he would. This is over a week ago, and he has not addressed it. I'm sure he's very overworked, but I keep taking his lack of follow through personally.

[Background: I'm a specialist (ELL) & before a classroom teacher. At my school for 12 years, worked with 3 other ELL teaching partners over the years, and have great teacher friends. Enter new ELL colleague -- new to our district. Admin fall all over her because she espouses the party line, and she has reported to them about me and staff. The teachers have tried to give her a chance & don't tell the admin the ways she has insulted them or harshly scolded students. Most do not want to work with her. None of my previous ELL teacher partners has been like this. My principal started to target me end of last year, and was happy when the new person arrived. It's like a mean girl situation. It hurts. I'm retiring, and feel I'm ending my career, which I'm still quite passionate about, in a lame duck position.]

I know I should let it go, but I'm upset. I hate feeling she actively wants to injure my reputation. I want the director to say something. More importantly, she continues to get away with saying negative things about others and has marginal follow through with students.

How do I let this go? Am I being childish?


  Reply With Quote

noonespecial noonespecial is offline
 
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 941
Senior Member

noonespecial
 
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 941
Senior Member

Old 05-29-2020, 02:05 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #2

Oh, my goodness! No, you are not being childish. Her comments, which are now public, are inexcusable and show her pettiness and character.

Do you have a union? I would not let this go. I would contact an attorney if you donít have a union. There may be grounds for slander or defamation of character.

Even though you are retiring, I would not let this go. You can, and must, get validation that what she did was wrong.

I am so sorry you are going through this. SHE should be the one who is feeling bad, not you.

Please follow through and donít allow this to be swept under the rug.
noonespecial is offline   Reply With Quote
AlwaysSummer
 
 
Guest

AlwaysSummer
 
 
Guest

Old 05-29-2020, 05:05 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #3

Let it go. I don't know if you have a union, but part of our union/contract is that any disciplinary action is on our permanent record but still confidential. Legally, you don't have the right to ask what he did to her because it violates her privacy and is a form of harassment/"bullying".
  Reply With Quote
heart4kids heart4kids is offline
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,745
Senior Member

heart4kids
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,745
Senior Member
My thoughts having been through this.
Old 05-29-2020, 05:11 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #4

It was a painful situation. I had been out of the classroom with cancer and vocal cord paralysis from the surgery and returned to a "boobytrap" meeting. It still hurts and opened my eyes to shallowness. But there are always going to be wolves and your near retirement is your perceived weakness.

The wolves won't change. The people who sat in the meeting and didn't speak up for you fear them. You can try to battle them but do you want to spend your remaining time doing that? And they might/probably will win? Just being realistic here.

The best revenge is a life well lived. Enjoy your true coworker friends and teammates. Ask them to spread the word and correct the situation. Do a great job every day and have fun with it. And realize that everyone in that meeting or who read those notes now realizes what an ass this new colleague is. This was their heads up not to trust her.
heart4kids is offline   Reply With Quote
Clarity Clarity is offline
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 6,333
Senior Member

Clarity
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 6,333
Senior Member
I do not know your situation, but
Old 05-29-2020, 07:22 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #5

I have to say, if that were me, and I had proof she was badmouthing me, I would be researching ALL Ed codes, your district's handbook, school handbook, etc. to find out what rules she broke. Also, I would write up exactly what you wrote here and copy it up all lines to the State Board of Education, including your union if you have one. Plus, I might get my attorney to drop her a "cease and desist" letter. Hope you kept a copy of the entire document. Stop her now. You have the right to confront her.


Clarity is offline   Reply With Quote
Peaches Pears Peaches Pears is online now
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 8,269
Senior Member

Peaches Pears
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 8,269
Senior Member

Old 05-29-2020, 07:58 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #6

You are not being childish.
Public criticism of a colleague is a breach of Professional Practice.
Contact your Union office (not your school steward).
Contact a lawyer re: defamation of character??????? (is this possible)
Contact your licensing body. The discipline committee might be willing to hear this case.

BTW, how very disappointing your director has demonstrated such a clear lack of leadership skills.

I am not sure who you should contact in your particular jurisdiction but I do know you should not let this go.
Especially if you are retiring.
Peaches Pears is online now   Reply With Quote
dutchgirl's Avatar
dutchgirl dutchgirl is offline
 
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 4,379
Senior Member

dutchgirl
 
dutchgirl's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 4,379
Senior Member

Old 05-29-2020, 09:06 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #7

I'm not in agreement with most posters here. Let me explain:

She was definitely wrong to say what she did, but she most likely had no idea that her 'private chat' wasn't really private and would be shared. I doubt that was her intent. The person who downloaded and shared it should have checked it first and could have removed private chats. If she has seen it, she's probably mortified. It's part of learning how to act on Zoom.

I agree with Heart4Kids:
Quote:
The best revenge is a life well lived. Enjoy your true coworker friends and teammates. Ask them to spread the word and correct the situation. Do a great job every day and have fun with it. And realize that everyone in that meeting or who read those notes now realizes what an ass this new colleague is. This was their heads up not to trust her.
You brought it up to your director. Unless she does something again that shows an intention of malice toward you, I'd let it go and live your life. Breathe. You CAN do it!
dutchgirl is offline   Reply With Quote
MissESL MissESL is offline
 
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 3,034
Senior Member

MissESL
 
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 3,034
Senior Member
Chat
Old 05-29-2020, 09:37 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #8

I agree with dutchgirl, allowing the benefit of the doubt and assuming she didnít know the chats would end up public (I didnít know they could!) means her actions were just an instance of poor judgement.

That doesnít make it right; however, weíve all said unkind things about people who rub us the wrong way.

I suggest you politely let her know that you know what was said and they it was upsetting for you. Then, kill her with kindness. Further, if youíre retiring soon, I would just make an effort to enjoy the remainder of your career with positivity and show people like her that you cannot be brought down by a lie...rather, prove her opinions untrue by blatant example.
MissESL is offline   Reply With Quote
1totravel's Avatar
1totravel 1totravel is offline
 
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 406
Senior Member

1totravel
 
1totravel's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 406
Senior Member

Old 05-29-2020, 10:11 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #9

At the very least I would ask that these defaming words be taken off of whatever public site they were posted to. Your district should be open to that as it might be a potential defamation lawsuit for them, if they don't.

Decide what degree of energy you think is worthwhile and comfortable for you in however you decide to pursue things, then, once you've expended that amount, carry on with a fabulous, well earned retirement! Don't let it steal your joy.
1totravel is offline   Reply With Quote
Peaches Pears Peaches Pears is online now
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 8,269
Senior Member

Peaches Pears
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 8,269
Senior Member

Old 05-29-2020, 12:06 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #10

Dutchgirl is right.
My response is not the best response --- it was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction.
The situation is wrong on so many levels but my response would escalate the situation.

Quote:
BTW, how very disappointing your director has demonstrated such a clear lack of leadership skills.
I still think the director should have dealt with it ASAP.


Peaches Pears is online now   Reply With Quote
broomrider's Avatar
broomrider broomrider is online now
 
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 5,025
Senior Member

broomrider
 
broomrider's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 5,025
Senior Member
Hmmm
Old 05-29-2020, 02:41 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #11

I'm of two minds. Between sue her for slander (verbal) and/or liable (written) defamation or walk away happy you don't have to deal with that teacher and principal anymore.

So, looking for a middle ground, I suggest consulting a lawyer to find out your legal options and suggest at least having a cease and desist letter drafted to her and to the district/Board to remove that now public discussion. The district has put themselves in the soup for putting it out there at all, whether through negligence or malice.

But I think consulting a lawyer may help you to resolve some feelings and make an informed decision about how to proceed. Do remember though that when you are a hammer (lawyer), everything looks like a nail (lawsuit).

The admin you talked to may well have had a discussion with the offending party but cannot let you know due to confidentiality/HR regs. Have you asked if there has been any resolution of your issue? They may not be able to tell you what was done, but at least that something was. A follow-up is certainly in order.

I am angry on your behalf. She has shown not only her lack of professionalism and judgment, but her shallowness. And you deserve better at the hands of administration.
broomrider is online now   Reply With Quote
Placemats
 
 
Guest

Placemats
 
 
Guest
Look for Balance?
Old 05-29-2020, 06:01 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #12

In the past, I would have recommended that you let it go, because that's what I did in a similar situation.

A new faculty member; started criticizing and complaining about me 3 months after she was hired; was fawned over by administration, who believed her allegations against me.

Colleagues who worked with us both knew that what she was saying about me was untrue, and disliked working with her.

I thought she was immature to the point of silliness. I had to work closely with her, and I did so professionally and pleasantly, and minimized any extra contact with her.

As an example of her immaturity, at an IEP meeting, she rolled her eyes at the administrator when I was explaining an IEP component to the parent; unfortunately, the administrator rolled her eyes back - wonderful examples of professionalism!

One day during an after-school conversation with her which she initiated by coming to my classroom, we had a difference of opinion on how a school issue should be handled. No emotion on my part, just an "I'm not sure about that, I think it might be better to try this approach" discussion. And it was a school issue that didn't even involve me, just typical teacher talk.

She went to the principal, misrepresented what I said, and I ended up being suspended for 3 days - for an after-hours difference of opinion. At that point I got a lawyer and the suspension was rescinded, but then the school system was embarrassed and angry and out for blood, and later I ended up being fired despite having tenure.

So, with my now 20-20 hindsight, I would advise this: document your concerns with an email to her, and then do what MissESL said, and kill her with kindness - and document your kindness if you can! Also document your concerns about the Zoom chat being made public with the result that untrue things about your professional actions were also made public, and email those concerns to your principal, ESL supervisor and the superintendent. Also copy email yourself with all of those.

Then let it go, and enjoy the rest of your career with a focus on your good colleagues and true friends.

You could meet with an attorney and get a cease and desist letter, but that will cost you several hundred dollars. If you think your principal is targeting you seriously, that might be worth doing.

My mistake is that I ignored a lot because I abhor 'mean girl' cliques and therefore waited too late to protect myself.

What I constantly tell teachers now is this: regardless if you are in the union, or the association, or an independent, it is your responsibility to protect yourself! Learn from special ed teachers, and document, document, document.

Protect yourself by documenting that you expressed your concerns privately to both the coworker and to your chain-of-command, then let it go.
  Reply With Quote
Angelo Angelo is offline
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,202
Senior Member

Angelo
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,202
Senior Member
Hmmmm
Old 05-30-2020, 07:15 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #13

I'm not sure I subscribe to the "let it go" mindset here. This was unprofessional behavior and an attack on you and your professional standing / credibility. At some point, we have to teach people how to treat us. Letting it go seems to teach this person that this is okay behavior and will embolden her to go out and treat others likewise. Why wouldn't she do it again if there's no disincentive? Perhaps she's the type of person for whom the embarrassment of having her comments made public will be sufficient to make her watch her step going forward, but I'd bet dollars to donuts she feels perfectly justified in her assessment of you and your work and the only thing she'd be embarrassed about is that she got caught saying it out loud (so to speak).

It is not okay when teachers evaluate the performance of other teachers. That's why teachers have a hierarchy of school leadership. We need to support one another's work.

At our school, HR would not tell the injured party what (if any) discipline had ensued, but they would ask what was needed to repair the relationship and move forward. In many cases, this involves the two (or more) people sitting down with HR and asking for an apology.

We had a SPED teacher a number of years ago (and in another district) who was hired from outside the district and who stomped onto the scene determined to ruffle feathers. She acted as though her marching orders were to step in and "fix" a "broken" system in which teachers were "too comfortable" (her words) in their positions and "not doing nearly enough" to support students (also her words). She had a messiah complex when it came to the students: she (and she alone) cared about them and their well-being. She (and she alone) had their best interests at heart. She (and she alone) would save them from the clutches of the mean, lazy, entited teachers who "seem to think IEPs are suggestions rather than legal documents" (again, her words). She'd tattle to admin on people. She'd make all sorts of catty remarks about how "so-and-so needs to go" and "so-and-so should never be allowed near children, let alone be teaching them" and on and on. And when confronted, she'd pout and cry and play the victim and say "People hate me because I do my job."

Here's a question (rhetorical): If the person mentioned by the OP had written derogatory remarks about a named student rather than a colleague in a Zoom chat, would people be as quick to advocate "letting it go?" If the teacher had said, "Johnny is lazy and stupid. He doesn't deserve the grade he got. He shouldn't even be a student at this school" and that got released into a public record, would it be a shrug and a "move on" then?
Angelo is offline   Reply With Quote
Clarity Clarity is offline
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 6,333
Senior Member

Clarity
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 6,333
Senior Member
Thank you, Angelo, for your very eloquent
Old 05-30-2020, 07:30 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #14

response and full explanation as to why these types of people need to be stopped dead in their tracks. I am so tired of the "be a better person," "take the high road" advice. Nope. My mom always told me, "You step on my toes, I stomp on both of your feet." I do not know when standing up for oneself went out of style. I hope the OP takes our advice to make it real to the offender what her offense was, why it was offensive, and how to improve HER performance in terms of human interaction. I'm glad she got caught.
Clarity is offline   Reply With Quote
Placemats
 
 
Guest

Placemats
 
 
Guest
Good point, Angelo!
Old 05-30-2020, 04:28 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #15

I so agree with you that we as teachers need to stop being doormats for others - even other teachers!

There are good arguments for both courses of action: letting it go, and making a stand.

Although I generally prefer a live and let live philosophy, my treatment by the school system changed my thinking. Now I encourage teachers to act early and decisively!

Your (Angelo's) description of "In many cases, this involves the two (or more) people sitting down with HR and asking for an apology." would be a good strategy to address & involve both the offending teacher as well as the non-defending administrator.

I think that workplace protections are as important to fight for as pay raises are. Actually, I think the current economic climate is steam--rolling any chances of pay raises, and this would be a good time to seek non-financial benefits - but that should be a new thread
  Reply With Quote
tsktsktsk
 
 
Guest

tsktsktsk
 
 
Guest
Thank you all
Old 05-31-2020, 03:44 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #16

First, let me thank every one of you for your very thoughtful comments and following discussion. I truly appreciate the time you've taken to offer advice. Just seeing the responses has improved my mood, although I'm still having a hard time letting it go completely. Each one of your perspectives has given me lots to think about.

The director did take down the private comments off the document. He also told me to call him to set up a time for a discussion, but I haven't heard back. I was on very friendly, but professional terms with him, so not having the opportunity to speak with him has been hurtful. I'm leaving, she's staying, so perhaps he decided just to let it be; but, I also get upset wondering what she might have said or implied (she's a master at implicating!) to result in him ignoring me. Who knows, maybe he didn't speak with her?? My husband says this type of thinking is futile -- yup -- but I just hate it when things go unsaid.

Here's my current plan: If I get no response from the director (it's been 10 days), then contact our union head, who seems to be interested in keeping track of these types of upsetting matters: where a teacher and administrators have formed an alliance that keeps others out or prevents them from fulfilling their job.

I wanted the opportunity to not only tell "my side of the story" to the ELL director, but more importantly, to help him become aware of the dual nature of this colleague's personality and style of operating. Her public persona, the one she pulls out at our district meetings, seems to be very different than her private, day-to-day operating style.
  Reply With Quote

Join the conversation! Post as a guest or become a member today. New members welcome!

Reply

 

>
The VENT
Thread Tools




Sign Up Now

Sign Up FREE | ProTeacher Help | BusyBoard

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:15 AM.

Copyright © 2019 ProTeacher®
For individual use only. Do not copy, reproduce or transmit.
source: www.proteacher.net