I have written to you on several occasions for help and advice. You are calm (I am not) and sensible and I appreciate your input. I have a huge problem with my principal and really could use some help. I have a fairly inept union rep so I need outside advice.
I teach elementary and have a co-worker who is mentally unstable. She is a pathological liar, and when she gets upset, she makes up horrible stories. My principal's response to this problem is, and I quote, "Everyone knows it's not true, so it is not a big deal." As you might imagine, this is not the answer or help I was looking for.
For next year, the principal has left me with this problem teacher and at our grade level. I asked my principal for the following: Either move the problem teacher, give me a partner teacher at the grade level, or move me to another grade. He said no to all requests with the statement, "I have my reasons." I am afraid of this woman. All she would have to do is lie and my career would be over. What can I do? I was at this school long before this principal came and I do not want to leave. It is my home. I am a really hard worker and a good teacher. I have been crying for days. Please help.

(My answer) You could ask for another meeting with your principal to discuss your concerns over working with this woman. Be clear, be honest, and be direct about not wanting to work with this person, not trusting this person, and not wanting to be near her, essentially. If he will not move you after you are clear that you do not want to work with this woman, ask if there are any other schools available. You may not want to move schools, but this request will make your passion known to the principal and you might want to get out of there any way if you are this afraid of another teacher.

I must say, it is odd to be this afraid of working with another teacher, no matter how weird she is. It is not true that your career would be over if she lied. You are giving her an awful lot of power over you. She sounds like she has a reputation for being "out there" so steer clear of her. Tell your principal you will not work with her or plan with her or in any way associate with her at the grade level because of your fear and mistrust for her professional ethics.

Don't stress over this anymore. If you are crying about it, make a change. Most likely you will have to move to another grade level or school. Or, just decide to ignore this person and maybe even tell her that you would like some distance from her since you are so different professionally and leave it at that. Be happy, teach, and do not let her get in your way.


Unknown said...

BE CAREFUL! These days innocent teachers are being sent to the rubber rooms or district jails for being whistle blowers and if youu are in LAUSD due process is a joke. YOU are not an inept rep, UTLA is a corrupt union that has betrayed its members to assure they have six figure jobs. i know you are so buried with work and exhausted you cannot find to study CA Education Codes, our CBA and PERB, but as a union leader you have to. Too often, we miss the chance to make the law work for us and you have to do is read the education section in LAT over the last few weeks to see it and the school board are becoming fascists. Maybe this sounds extreme, but a cursory look at history shows this is how it starts: Attacks on intellectuals and educators. THE VOICES OF REASON!
We all are mandated court the reporters as employees for state. This teacher sounds toxic, but you may just have to grin and bear her until she does something so serious it generates leaders'i attention, and it will probably be extreme and unnecessary. So document everything, dates, who you spoke with, what was said, the names of others present. You will note the union is reluctant to take action against any member until the district has decided to go in for the kill. That's who calls all the shots contrary to popular opinion.
I suggest you contact Lenny at Perdaily.com for guidance.

Good to see this fine blog is active! I will be back

Anonymous said...

If the principal is not listening to the person's issues, it is time to go up the chain of command (personnel office, then superintendent's office). I'd also let the person's bargaining unit be aware of the situation, in case of negative reprisals. Also, DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!

Anonymous said...

In recent months the reality has crept out, and it may be unwise to contact anyone within the district or union because where I work, the union officers and officials are less interested in the truth or following the law than they are covering their unnecessary and over paid a**es. DOCUMENT ALL OF it. File a PERB in your area to let them know your union has not protected you, file a complaint wthfair housing anf employment and EOE. Encourage others to do the same.
We can sue unions and we have to when we pay so much money only to be betrayed while bad administrators are incompetent bullies get away with unthinable antics.
What worries me is that we may not have any spport at all as the school system becomes a lucrative criminal enterprise. In LA the board is more interested in the favor of a superintendent than the best interests of children while out newspaper feels inclined to attack teachers rather than the true culprits. You must be sure to write all of your experiences down, date them and do NOT use the union's lawyer. Most teachers dont realize it but they have insurance policies. In my area it is about 30k and we are forced to rely on corrupt barrister in one firm. They are simply milking the system. They don't give a damn about techers or children.

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