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Was My Colleague Totally U? I think She was..

(465 Posts)
CaptainCrunch Sat 09-Jan-16 15:59:43

Hi everyone,

Long time lurker, first time poster.

I am a Learning Assistant in a Primary School, we returned on Wednesday for an inservice day. There were 2 boxes of chocolates wrapped up on the staff room table with a card in a sealed envelope on top marked "To support staff".

We went off and did some training and came back for our break to see that the one of the boxes had been opened, almost completely finished and our card opened too, the envelope scrunched up beside it.

We were a bit annoyed as the teaching staff have form for horsing all the goodies before any support staff can get near it (they take their breaks before us).

With the agreement of my colleagues I wrote this note on the staff room whiteboard:

"Hi, just to say the chocs were specifically for support staff..we have no problem sharing them, but would have preferred to open the card and gift ourselves" and signed it from all the support staff.

The next day I walked into my class and a box of chocs was on my desk, turns out it was my class teacher who had opened them.

She was absolutely horrible to me and said "I'm really pissed off about that note, I've replaced the chocolates". This was in a very nasty, abrupt tone.

I said it wasn't about the chocolates it was because it was clearly marked to us and had been opened without our consent.

She then said "Well, I didn't read the envelope properly, I thought it said to ALL staff...there's a ridiculous divide between the support staff and teaching and shit like this doesn't help".

I was really stunned. We get on well together and I really admire her but I thought this was completely uncalled for.

She is correct in that there is a bit of a divide...mainly because a lot of the teaching staff treat us like second class citizens, some can barely bring themselves to say "good morning".

I'm not going to let it affect our professional relationship, but she's really gone down in my estimation and it's left a bad taste.

Am I being U to let this bug me so much?

MelanieCheeks Sat 09-Jan-16 16:04:48

Writing a note on the whiteboard is a bit much, especially over a small item. If there IS a divide, that won't have helped, sorry.

catfordbetty Sat 09-Jan-16 16:05:31

That twatty note would've pissed me off too, tbh.

FitzChivarly Sat 09-Jan-16 16:06:01

I agree with MelanieCheeks. The note on the whiteboard was a bit of an over reaction

Narp Sat 09-Jan-16 16:07:16

I think this warrants another conversation with her. I would hope that once she's had a chance to think, she'd apologise for her tone with you.

The divide is very unhealthy (and you an the teacher agree with that) and is a Management issue. Can you raise it - maybe that could be the opening gambit for your conversation with the teacher (enlisting her support in raising it).

Anniegetyourgun Sat 09-Jan-16 16:07:18

And pinching their chocolates wasn't a bit much?

AssembleTheMinions Sat 09-Jan-16 16:07:34

They shouldn't have eaten them, but they may not have noticed they were not meant for all staff.

The whiteboard note is really cringy though.

Narp Sat 09-Jan-16 16:08:11

I think notes on whiteboards are a symptom of a breakdown in goodwill rather than the cause.

Stillunexpected Sat 09-Jan-16 16:08:12

Who actually supplied the chocolates? Were they a gift from a parent, the Head, someone else?

MidnightVelvetthe4th Sat 09-Jan-16 16:08:37

yanbu to want to open your gift amongst yourselves, I suppose it depends on whether you think they were opened deliberately or whether it was an honest mistake...

the teaching staff have form for horsing all the goodies

grin sounds as if they investigate them with their noses grin

MelanieCheeks Sat 09-Jan-16 16:09:11

Eating the chocolates wasn't right, no-one is arguing that point. It's the "what happened next" bit.

MrsCrabb Sat 09-Jan-16 16:09:26

It's wrong I'd a certain sector of staff never get to see the treats but you got what you deserved for the note I'm afraid. The author of such a note would have gone down in my estimation, so I guess you're quits

CaptainCrunch Sat 09-Jan-16 16:10:14

Fair enough I can take differences of opinion..but the note wasn't meant to be "twatty". We had no idea who had opened them, so couldn't approach anyone and ask them about it.

It's not the first time they've taken stuff that's belonged to us, down to taking things like sweeteners out of individual pigeonholes.

Even if she had been annoyed by the note, I still think she should have apologised instead of implying it was us in the wrong for bringing it to their attention.

rosebiggs Sat 09-Jan-16 16:10:59

The note on the whiteboard would have annoyed me. It's only a box of chocolates.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Sat 09-Jan-16 16:11:20

The 'Them and us' divide needs to be addressed by management as already said.

The note was always going to wind up the teachers although in principle I agree with it, whoever wrote the note was going to get it in the neck.

You do need a chat with your colleague to clear the air.

CaptainCrunch Sat 09-Jan-16 16:12:01

The chocs were from the headteacher.

As a matter of interest, how would we have brought it to their attention without leaving a note..that's what the board in the staffroom is for.

Asskicker Sat 09-Jan-16 16:13:23

They shouldn't have opened the card. But people do stuff. Sometimes I open dhs post. Have missed where it's says Mr Asskicker, don't know how that's happened but it does.

The note was ridiculous and hasn't helped the situation at all.

If there is a divide it needs dealing with, but you must have known a note on a whiteboard wouldn't make it better and would further the divide.

Her reaction wasn't great either.

In short none of you come out of this as the injured party.

theycallmemellojello Sat 09-Jan-16 16:13:29

Hmm. YANBU to have been upset. The note was likely to piss off the teachers, but actually, I don't think it was unjustified, just possibly unwise from a political pov. However, I'm sure it will blow over.

rosebiggs Sat 09-Jan-16 16:13:52

What was to be gained by writing the note?

Asskicker Sat 09-Jan-16 16:15:47

There is a board for staff to write reprimands to other members of staff?

I don't think that can right.

You should have spoken to the HT.

Not in a 'thy are my chocolate kids of way' but a 'there is a divide and tjis incident has made it worse. I would like to improve this situation'

Narp Sat 09-Jan-16 16:15:54


Is the whiteboard used for things that should be said in person? Is it only used for gripes and moans? As I said before, the real issue is the perceived disgruntlement and poor relationship between SS and teachers.

It's really hard because Support staff can feel pretty powerless (IME) if not explicitly encouraged to have a voice. But it's really not good for the school or children of relationships are bad.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Sat 09-Jan-16 16:16:00

Getting the teachers to keep their mitts off the goods when the goods were for he support staff rose

MrsCrabb Sat 09-Jan-16 16:16:33

Oh dear, the head is clearly the reason there's a divide. If our head (or our parents tbh) bought chocs further staff, they'd be for the staff, not for a certain element of the staff. What did she do for the teachers?

MidnightVelvetthe4th Sat 09-Jan-16 16:17:18

I think this is one of those threads where because I don't work in a school I can't really grasp the nuances of it properly...why is a note on a whiteboard so dreadful, is it Not the Done Thing? I'm interested, how should the OP have addressed the concerns of one set of professionals to another set of professionals? Is there another system in place instead of the whiteboard?

Sounds like a bloody awful workplace though OP with people rifling through pigeonholes & stealing etc, I get annoyed when people come & use my stationery without asking when I'm right there so I'd be useless here smile

CaptainCrunch Sat 09-Jan-16 16:18:43

The whiteboard is used for communicating anything that's happening in the school. Who is absent etc. and for stuff like "please put the dishwasher on".

Occasionally they have left notes like "SOMEONE didn't empty the dishwasher at breaktime...had to spend half my break doing it" and crap like that.

Compared to other stuff that's been written, mine was pretty polite.

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