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How do I cope with this colleague?(40 Posts)
I returned to teaching last year after a long career break. The colleague next door ( open plan school ) seemed determined to undermine me constantly but in a very covert way. Comments that were unnecessary but hard to pull her up on. The new term started three weeks ago and she has passed me no information about her class at all. Not one piece of paper, plans, assessments or jotters. Absolutely nothing! I have been very nice and patient and asked very politely but all I keep getting are nonsense excuses. I don't know if she has nothing or if she is just being really awkward. Management are useless. They know but don't care. It is Meet the Teacher night next week and I am floundering about what I am going to say as I don't even know where to begin teaching these children. We have no schemes or resources so it is not like I can ask the children where they were. I was a bit grumpy with her today but she honestly doesn't care. I don't really want to say anything in public but it is really getting me down now. I don't even know what I'm asking. Maybe I just needed to vent? Thank you for reading anyway.
I think everything should be done by email. First ask for the paperwork needed - be explicit. If you get no reply, send another email and copy in your line manager. You need evidence in writing that you've asked for things and not received them.
I don't understand, why do you need info on her class?
Yes, send an email requesting the information you need and CC in your line manager.
Thank you for replying. I actually didn't think anybody would so I popped off for a wee while and missed your responses. I am actually welling up at the fact someone has taken the time to respond. Sorry, I meant I have her class from last year, now my new class. Good idea about the email. I think I just feel silly sending an email when it is an open plan school and she is next door. The line manager is useless. They honestly don't care but at least it would keep me right if inspectors came I suppose. I am absolutely no use at confrontation of any sort. Grand with the children but a totally different matter when it is another adult. I think I am feeling the usual sensation of being overwhelmed at the start of a new year and am taking her snippy comments more to heart than I normally would. Thank you for the support.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
No. I honestly have nothing. No information on ASN children, of whom I have two, background, health, even personalities. No records of assessments done, reading books read, reading strategies covered, maths covered, spelling rules. Nothing! Not even a list of topic titles covered never mind content. I'd laugh if it wasn't for the fact this is the second year this has happened to me. Last year the teacher had left the school. I thought this year would be better as the teacher was staying. The school has a fast turnover of staff as it is a pretty hard school to work in even without us making it difficult for ourselves.
I am feeling better now I've put it in writing and think the situation is ludicrous but it is what if is. I am getting angry now. Shafting a colleague is bad enough, but doing the children a disservice is totally unacceptable.
See if there is anything on SIMS. If there is, make sure to let her know you have that information when you email her, but email her you must.
You can't let her get away with this. If she is difficult, forward the conversation to your line manager with just FYI.
How awful for you. It's incredibly unprofessional and the kids in that class will be the ones to suffer! I agree that you email for the information and copy in SLT and/or the head. Then take control. There are some assessments you can download (such as on Twinkl) and give to your class, and that will give you a starting point. I'd get on the phone to the parents of the children you need more info on, and it's up to you if you dob your colleague in! Or just say you want up to date information. Good luck, you're right, the job is hard enough without that.
She'll know you're creating a paper trail once you've emailed her. Well an e trail anyway.
That's not a bad thing and will hopefully give her the poke up the arse she needs. Everything ef you ask her from now just start with an email. If she questions it, you can say it's so you remember to do something and can check you've done it
Make sure you cc your line manager in, if your colleague replies. If she doesn't reply, send a reminder email and again cc your line manager.
It sounds like a dreadful situation. Apart from you, the people who will suffer are the children.
Your line manager, even if they don't care about you, should at least care that the children aren't getting what they need.
You can do this!!
Okay folks, you are going to have to stop being so nice as I am starting to cry. I have had more support in the past couple of hours than the entire past year. I am assessing as much as I can but I have such a range of ability it is hard going. Some still at Early Level, EAL, ASN and a range of abilities on top of that. We have no class support of any sort so it is difficult to find time to even sit and chat to a group and ask them what they have done. Also, the poor kids can only take so much testing in a week, poor wee things. I also don't want to sound like everyone else has an easier class, they definitely don't but they do have a head start. Without, I hope, sounding arrogant I know I can get on top of this I just feel so behind already as far as establishing a routine and setting standards etc. Thank you, everyone. You have helped more than you will ever know.
You need a plan b as well.
I agree with pp, email communication only and cc line manager.
You should also assume that whatever you get will be useless ("we covered the national curriculum requirements for the year").
Are there really no schemes of work in your school? If that is the case, find one that you can follow (tes, fb group, friends at other schools?). Assess a baseline for yourself and take it from there. No wonder people are leaving your school!!
This post makes me a bit sad, OP. I am SLT and I would hate to think that someone in my dept felt so unsupported that they had more support from an online forum than from the school itself. Hope things improve for you.
If you feel undermined and get no support can you speak to your union would they be able to help? Big big hug
Send an email with a copy to Head and Deputy. Put a timescale for when you expect them by.
I am a Head and would be on to your colleague for the info as soon as I realised you didn't have it.
Oops, should have said I teach upper school so the difference in abilities is vast. Thank you. It is definitely the fact the children are suffering that is the most frustrating. I am such an innocent at times. I just don't understand how some people can do what they do, get away with it and still be proud of themselves. I would be hanging my head in shame if I was her.
It was the head who told me on the last day of term that I wouldn't be getting any transition information as a copy hadn't been given to her. No, I'm not making that bit up. My line manager asked me what I expected them to do when I told them at the beginning of term. We have no resources, well unless you count Twinkl, no plans, no planning meetings, no continuity, no consistency. The couple of things that are established in the school aren't done the same way by everyone as nobody checks up that they are. I can't actually believe what I'm writing but it is honestly true. Anyone want to swap schools?
You must have a system such as sims with all data on it - what system do you use for registers ? If you've had a long career break then things will have changed. Did she have the class last year ? Primary ? There'll be online records and copies of reports.
Like @ImperialBlether said email everything but personally I'd hold back on copying in your manager for at least few exchanges. Even though you are open plan there's nothing wrong with using email to keep track of things, it's not necessarily passive aggressive, but the audit trail can be invaluable.
Keep trying, you're doing an amazing job and I'm sure all your efforts will be rewarded eventually even if only you and your class ever care.
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