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Irritated with coteacher!
Old 03-28-2012, 09:44 AM
 
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I'm sorry this is long. I coteach a class of 25 first graders with another teacher. We were put together because at the beginning of the year, she was going to take maternity leave (2nd week of school). I was 'newly pregnant' and was supposed to take maternity leave toward the end of the year. I miscarried, and am still here ( ) They wanted as little disruption for the kids as possible. This is a person I adore as a friend. I really, really do. But she is getting on my absolute last nerve in the classroom. She has zero classroom management skills...would rather do 10 other things during the school day than teach. She sits on her phone (texting, I guess) all day, works on projects for things she does outside of school during school time. She takes her things to carline and leaves immediately after the last student does and walks in the door about the time the students do in the morning. I am the one who ensures there's morning work to do, that stays after school to grade, tidy up prepare for the next day, etc. I am usually the one teaching during the day and trying to maintain order in the room.

For example: Yesterday, she showed up about 1 minute before the students did. I had already passed out morning work and put the journal on the board. She sat down, put on her makeup, brushed her hair, put on her deodorant (yes, you read right) then ate her breakfast. Then, she proceded to pull out information to work on for something she's doing for some committee she's on. Then, she starts working on something she needs this weekend for church. Meanwhile, she had her phone out the entire time and was texting constantly. So much so, that other teachers who popped in for this or that commented to me about it. After lunch, I asked her to teach language. (I had already taught Bible, math, reading and science). She did--while she typed up a test for next week. The kids had maybe half of her attention. She left them hanging for about 10 minutes after they were finished. Then, she never directed them again. I finally assumed she was done and took over. She left immediately after car line and I came back upstairs and cleaned up and prepped for today.
TODAY: She came in, ate breakfast, put on eyeliner, (meanwhile, I'm ensuring students have plenty do to for morning work). She starts looking at an Avon catalog. I was at my desk grading yesterday's math test. After the students returned from bathroom break, I had them take out their test folders. I decided to wait and see how long she would look at her catalog before she realized they were doing NOTHING. Another teacher walked in a saw the testing folders and asked what we were doing (she saw testing folders but no tests--she was just curious). I said, "Well, I'm grading papers, and she's shopping." After 20 minutes, I finally said to her, "Are you going to do their Language test, or do you want to grade these papers?" She finally woke up and said, "Oh, I'll give the test." Tests are a nightmare too b/c she has no classroom management. I just want to pull my hair out every. single. day. The days she calls in (which are many) are FABULOUS!! I love my students when they behave, and they always do for me. But they know that she is lax and easy to manipulate and they take advantage. It actually makes my day worse when she is here. I know if I were alone, I'd do all this myself anyway, and frankly, I'd rather be alone--it's easier!! Not to mention, she is being paid as much as me to not work (and make my life harder).

I CANNOT wait for this school year to end!!! Thank you if you read this far!


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Again
Old 03-28-2012, 10:07 AM
 
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Students returned from P.E. 10 minutes ago...she is totally MIA.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:07 AM
 
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Is she just back from her maternity leave?
It sounds like you have no communication. If you are writing all the plans I think you should insist that you start writing the plans together or split the plans and have her write and be responsible for her half of the plans and teaching to her plans. That way you will not have to ask her if she wants to teach language or if she wants to give the test. Another way to have her be more a part of the teaching team is to start dividing the class for subjects into skill groups so that there could be a group lesson and then two groups, one that needs more support and the other group that could use enrichment. You would each teach one group.
I have a feeling that you do not like confrontation and/or telling others what to do. Once in a while you do just have to address the issues and let her know that her behavior just isn't alright, and she is being unfair to the students and to you. If you teach the Bible in school you must be in a Christian school, maybe you could appeal to her Christian sense of right and wrong?
Where is your supervisor/principal. If other teachers are walking in and out of your room, why is your principal so invisible?
I guess on the bright side is that you still have a job. In most schools they would not pay for 2 teachers. When she came back you would no longer have a job. I hope it works out for you now and next year.
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Wow!
Old 03-28-2012, 11:06 AM
 
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Sounds like you need to have a "come to Jesus" meeting, so to speak!

It's time to divide up planning, teaching, and other tasks, so that it's fair to both of you. It might also help to get on the same page with regards to classroom management (same language when correcting, etc.) - this is confusing to the students!

Good luck!
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How have you not blown up?
Old 03-28-2012, 11:56 AM
 
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I would have to talk to the P about this one. I know teachers do not make a lot of money but they certainly get paid plus benefits more than a receptionist which is what she sounds like and not even a good one! She is also not the owner (a bad one) and you her staff.

I would tell the P the basic issues. Then propose the solution of assigning things in half. You are responsible for xyz subjects which includes, preparing, grading, and teaching and she th eothers. I would also want to know who is the lead teacher in the room b/c THAT is the person who gets to maintain the order in the room. I would hope he will say her and you can just keep your own desk in order. I would ask them to revisit this w/ both of you in three weeks time. that ought to be enough for her to hang herself. Do NOT help her during this time. If she calls in sick w/ no plans - have them watch a movie and wait for her to return.

I honestly don't know how you haven't blown a gasket w/ her. I hate it when people have bad work ethic. This is worse than a person who is simply disorganized and overwhelmed. this is her putting in her time until she quits in may i suspect.


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Old 03-28-2012, 12:29 PM
 
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Funkser, this is not HER classroom...there were originally going to be 2 first grades, but because of the maternity times, they were combined. I would not be out a job. I do not like confrontation-you are correct. Mostly because I am stuck in this classroom with her 8 hours a day and the thought of making it awkward between us stresses me too...just not sure which stresses me more. She is gone again already...it's 3:18. There is still a pile of papers to grade, a messy room to clean and honor roll to do.
Our principal is teaching 4 classes, so she's not really around much. The other teachers pop in to ask if we can listen for their class while they use the restroom and things like that--I didn't mean that they come in to visit.
Subzy, I was told I was going to be the lead teacher, but no one ever told HER that. I ain't tellin' her!! She's been here 7 years--this is my 2nd year at this school.

This is stressing me out so much. I stay irritated all day long. I think everyone is right--I just need to sit down with her, before I go off and really mess things up. I'm just not sure what to say. Advice anyone?
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:23 PM
 
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Thanks for more information. I really didn't understand the details, it is a very different situation than what I had in private and public school teaching.
I hate confrontation also, and I will avoid it at any cost, but sometimes you just have to do it for the kids. They need both of you if it was intended to be two classes.
Could you set it up so that the kids ask her for help. In first grade someone always, always needs something, usually several kids at a time. When they start to ask you, and I am sure you are working with someone else-just tell them "I am sure Mrs.______ can help you with that, I'm helping ----- right now- go ask her."
I understand that the Principal is a teaching P, but she still has responsibilities. I think you need to turn to her and have a talk about what the students need and how you want her help in making sure they get the best quality education from both their teachers. Ask her to help work out a plan for co teaching. Have her share her vision of how this should look and work with both you and the lazy gal. Get her to outline the details of how she wants the co teaching to work and then as a pp said review it in several weeks.
You have a job to do and you are doing it the best you can. You should not be expected to do another person's job as well nor should you be expected to make a co worker do her own job. That is what an administrator is for, teaching a class as well or not.
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Sounds like you have a choice:
Old 03-28-2012, 02:07 PM
 
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Either eat yourself up with anger and resentment every day and let her keep getting away with not teaching while you do her job and your own.

OR

Have it out with her with someone else present and demand that the job be split in half or that you are named the lead and she follows your instructions every day, SOMETHING, anything but this nonsense.


Sooner or later, you will explode, and then she will paint herself as the victim. These types always do.

Speak up or stop complaining. You are a grown-up. Act like one. This woman has absolutely no respect for you. How could you call her a friend?
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I agree with pp's
Old 03-28-2012, 02:23 PM
 
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I think you need to have a converstion and specificially lay out what duties belong to whom. For example, you teach in the am and all subjects and responsibilities (IE: grading, testing, planning) than go with that and she teaces in the PM and everything that goes with that.

That way you have clear responsibilities laid out and you're not constantly picking up her slack. Also, when it's her turn to teach LEAVE THE ROOM and do your planning and grading elsewhere so you're not getting pulled into her crap. She's not working because she knows you'll do it for her.
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:25 PM
 
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Clarity...this IS the vent board...Please don't be rude.


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I agree with many
Old 03-28-2012, 03:18 PM
 
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of the points already made.

I know I would have not been able to keep a lid on my resentment this long if I were in your situation.

I would take a few days to articulate your points and possibly write them down for your own clarity then I would ask for a meeting with your co-teacher and possibly the principal present.

The situation you describe is insanity....really. And as a pp mentioned...this woman is not your friend.
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Tuxedocat - who died and left you
Old 03-28-2012, 05:00 PM
 
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the voice of judgment? I wasn't being rude. I gave her the same advice I would give a good friend.

She vented, yes, but what she is doing is not healthy and sooner or later, will blow up and things will get worse. She needs to take control and make the changes her way.

Why do so many people on this board confuse the truth with rudeness?
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:20 PM
 
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I think Tuxedocat responded the way she did because she was the opening poster. She was responding to your message to her.
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Perhaps
Old 03-28-2012, 05:25 PM
 
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Perhaps you can take a mental health day and she has to teach

Personally I would talk to her. You say she is a friend so perhaps that will help. If not, I would talk to her with a mediator type person there. As a last resort I would involve administration. I believe the first step would be to have the talk with her and set up guidelines you can both agree to.
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Oh, I see what you mean. Doesn't change
Old 03-28-2012, 06:07 PM
 
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my response, though.

I have never thought it rude to be forthright. If people complain about being in an impossible situation, but refuse to change it, or find someone's honest opinion about how to change it to be "rude," then what can I say?

If my daughter came to me with that story, I would say the same thing to her. You are an adult. Either deal with it or stop complaining about it. It is not always pleasant to force a coworker to take responsibility. However, this does not sound like a friendship. Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't allow friends to walk all over me, either at work or outside of work. It's not always easy to take charge and make demands, but as adults, sometimes we have to.
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:54 PM
 
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I agree with Clarity's advice. That said, her choice of words in the last part were a big harsh. Clarity-I think maybe that's where Tuxedo was a bit offended-telling her to "grow up". No adult wants to be told that.

I shared a classroom with someone last year, and it is SO DIFFICULT! I dreaded going to work everything. It was difficult for me to even think about standing up to her. She did her job, but she was LOUD (we taught at the same time) and she would change the schedule at the last minute without telling me when it affected me and my students. I was often scrambling at the last minute.

Anyway, I decided to choose one thing that bothered me the most and talk to her about just that-the level of her voice and her students' voices. I made it sound more like it was her students who were loud (and focused less on her). It did get better for awhile. I decided to let the rest of it go (and complain to my poor husband every night!). I then decided at the end of the year to find another placement. In the end, I was able to go back to my old school and am so much happier.

Looking back, the two of us should've sat down and talked it out. I think you can talk to her in a respectful way. She is taking advantage of you and I'm sure she knows. Can you look at your subject areas and divide them up or come to an agreement as to who is doing what in each area (maybe one teaches and one supports or you break your class into smaller groups).

Quote:
Why do so many people on this board confuse the truth with rudeness?
Because the truth can be told in a way that is not rude.

Last edited by AD; 03-29-2012 at 11:51 AM..
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Old 03-29-2012, 04:33 PM
 
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I have co-taught before and loved it. The thing that made it work was planning together and knowing what each person would teach. We also worked together on creating centers and so on.

It sounds like you need a gentle approach to try to work things out. You could read some articles on models of co-teaching and share them with her. You could also tell her that you really want to make the best of having two teachers in the room so the kids can soar for the last marking period. Suggest planning together and dividing the tasks. You can do it in a way that is not confrontational. Just say, 'Hey Jane, I was hoping we could sit down and go over some things for next week. Is there a day that is good for you to stay a little later so we can plan together."

There is no reason your life should be harder because she is not doing her job.

Good luck!
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Note to administrators
Old 04-01-2012, 06:17 PM
 
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Co teaching is a bad idea. It's the nature of the profession that one person should be in command of the room. I have yet to see co teaching work or both parties are happy.

I've had courses in college that were co taught. They were terrible. Two professors that didn't know when to shutup.
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