Weekend Coffee Share

October has begun dreary and damp so I’ll invite you to come in and share a warm cup of coffee. Hard to believe September has come and gone- and school has been in session for a month already! What a month it was! This year I have started working with a different head teacher in the mornings who has been quite challenging to work with. She is just a few years younger than me and has been teaching in the school for over 30 years. It is unfortunate she has not updated her methods of discipline and connecting with the children, instead choosing to use methods from the 1960s’s, such as berating, punishing, ostracizing and assuming the child is guilty rather than innocent when something out of line occurs. I found myself running interference trying to stop situations before they occurred in order to save a child from her wrath throughout the first week of school. Did I mention she is a bully? That she bullies other teachers to get her way, and has never learned the meaning of compromise. She barks orders instead of asking nicely when she wants something done. Another issue was her adding to my “assisting duties” things that fell under her job description not mine, but she has gotten away with doing this for years because her assistants were young and afraid of her and never spoke up. Until this year. How to deal with a bully? Bully her back. We had a very heated exchange of words in which I told her right out I would not be bullied into doing her work, and that her classroom was a room filled with tension and unrealistic expectations of 1st graders, citing some choice examples. I pretty much got it all out on the table. To say she was shocked is an understatement. I felt great having gotten it off my chest. Surprisingly she must have taken  some of what I said to heart as since then there has been a lighter air about the class, though I do still need to run interference at times.

I feel so strongly about continuing to grow in our lives, to “get with the program” of what is going on in the today. We have come a long way from the 1960’s and though parts of what we learned then still hold value today, respect for a teacher, being polite, raising a hand to be called on, we have learned that children respond to positive feedback and will learn more as a result of being encouraged. I have learned to phrase things in a way that show the child I believe he can do it, that I want him to be successful even if it means moving his seat because the boy he is sitting next to is distracting him. In any case, that is what took up most of my September and filled my head at night. Here’s a drawing one of the boys gave to me, he told me it’s him and me, I’m the one in the purple. 20160928_173651

I would also tell you The Jewish New Year is tomorrow and I have some cooking to do. Two things I make every year are Tsimmes- a mixture of sweet potatoes, carrots, prunes and brown sugar. I also make a cranberry and apple dish with an oatmeal crust that can be served as a side dish or for dessert. Both sweet, as we look forward to the new year bringing sweet things.

Fall Sundays mean free concerts in our local libraries and last week my husband and I attended one. I will leave you with a little of what we heard, and hope you have a great Sunday!

38 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share

  1. I have just read a couple of your posts but after reading this one, I love you already! 🙂 Standing up to bullies is challenging. I am so impressed with how you handled that situation.

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  2. It’s really difficult working with someone that is stuck in their old, out dated ways. It takes someone like you to speak up. When I was teaching, we had peer observations that gave us feedback on our teaching. Those were, mostly, a very positive way to let a teacher know that she/he is on track or that there are some other things/ways to do things. Offering to share something, rather than condemning what they do is a good way.

    I’m very proud of you for speaking up. No matter how many hints we give some people, they won’t take them. We end up having to hit them over the head with things! Thank you for sticking up for those children, and for other professionals and para professionals that were not able to do it for themselves! You deserve an apple, or a pretty drawing for a student!

    Happy New Year!

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  3. She sounds completely burnt out.

    I met a middle-aged woman on her first day of teaching back in the mid-80’s, when my son was just entering kindergarten. She was eager to tell parents and teachers alike that she had started so late in life because, “I just looove little children.” A real gusher. I was the PTA VP of Membership (a glorified dues collector, lol), so I visited all the classes at the end of the first week. She stood in her doorway, children noisy and rowdy in the room behind her, and complained to me, “They’re such BABIES!” Two years later, my son was in her class. I became so concerned about his daily stories illustrating her frustration, irrationality, and belittling attitude, our parent / teacher conference became a parent / teacher confrontation. I took my concerns to the principal and had my son transferred to a different class. She moved to the Ed Center at the end of that school year. Three years to burn out and move completely away from teaching. smh

    You have done all those kids a huge favor. I’m guessing the very tall flower represents Adam’s new hope and happiness. ❤

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  4. Holding the classroom together while she updates her perspective and methods falls to you. She needs to see the error of her ways to remedy her attitude in class.

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    • I TOTALLY agree. She is beginning to see her old ways don’t work for me in terms of her shirking her responsibilities and putting them on me. Her antiquated and negative attitude about the kids is something I am not sure she will ever change- she seems to lack the the trait of self introspection, and thinks her way is the only way. I have told the administration about her behavior so now it falls to them to figure out how to handle it.

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  5. Have a great New Year Lisa. I very much admire how you took on the bully woman and wrangled her down. Awesome!! How did she get hired? Seems like the school would have kind of ‘filter’ that would detect her behavior.

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  6. Happy New Year!

    Your head teacher sounds like my 4th grade teacher in 1966. I was terrified of her. Worse was that we moved into her school district at Thanksgiving so I didn’t know anyone, and she was mean! I hated 4th grade! No other adults in the room, so no one knew.

    The concert at the library was really nice! How fun to be able to go and attend something like this! Thank you for sharing!

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    • Isn’t it something how you can remember today how awful a teacher was in 4th grade? Such a terrible thing- she also is mean and I think of that and how the kids will look back at their year in first grade. Those concerts are usually quite enjoyable- glad you liked it!

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  7. First have a great New Year. I like your reaction to the bully, I wonder how many people would know how to handle the bully.Great going. Negative response never has a positive impact. It is cold here this morning. I find it hard that October is here. I got lost yesterday in reading an old friend and haven’t read many of my coffee share blogs. Now I find I need to read many this morning. Have a great week.

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    • Thanks for your words- I appreciate them! As much as I love fall I do dislike the cold- I am already wearing many layers to keep warm! Hope you have a good week too! ❤

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  8. The ensemble is wonderful. Reminds me of a small performance by a french ensemble I enjoyed while we were onboard a Seine River cruise a few years back. It was mesmerizing. Disappointing, however, was the disinterest the others in our party had with the treasure. Sometimes with great friends and relations, I occasionally live in my own world.
    About the rest, I’m surprised at your candor while whoilly supporting your approach. My wife a retired teacher, was and is staunchly supportive of the ideals you portray, especially, but not exclusively during her years of “workshop” (G & T) where positive encouragement is paramount. Thanks for the words. M 🙂

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    • Glad you enjoyed the ensemble-they played a wonderful selection and explained in between each wind instrument that was part of the group. It is disappointing when people are disinterested – I can never understand that! My “candor” came from letting things build to a crescendo in my head which had nowhere to go but out! Fortunately I had spoken to the principal and she was on board with me. Everyone in the school knows this teacher as an uncompromising bully but no one has ever had the nerve to speak back to her. Ah the joys of age and not being afraid! It is a wonderful thing. Thank you for the validation in sharing your wife’s experience George

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  9. Ah, the joy of ‘old school’ teachers. As a parent and school council chair, I’ve had to confront this type all too many times. I commend you on your approach. Confronting with fact and intent is the best way of dealing with this and you did it well. Wishing you continued success in the classroom. Have a great weekend.

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  10. Good for you for takin on the bully, Lisa. I hope she does take your words to heart. It is so tough to work in an atmosphere filled with tension. I wonder what the kids tell their parents when they come home from school.

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    • I also wonder about the kids and what they say- sometimes I think they must forget by the afternoon because the afternoon teacher is so completely different- so positive so much fun. The tension has eased up in the morning- I really think she heard what I said, especially considering I didn’t mince words- I said straight out I had never had a problem in the 6 years I have been working getting along with the teachers, or enjoying the classroom. Oh did I mention I also asked her if she ever wondered why she hasn’t had the same assistant for more than 1 year for the last 15 years? 😀 I was definitely channeling the Real Housewives as I was just letting it rip!! 😀

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  11. Yay!! You stood up for yourself with a work bully and were heard! I think that is a Rosh Hashana miracle in its own right. Your side dishes sound great and you deserve every joy this year ~~ ❤

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  12. oh I feel sorry for you and sorry for the firstgraders…. if you start school with such a teacher we haven’t to wonder that kid’s say “school sucks” generally…. and that is the worst, we need well educated young people who maybe can make things better once…

    I like the drawing of this boy… he exactly knew who meant it well….and there is no wonder that the main teacher is not in the picture…

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