Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Guilty Conscience

Today I let something happen to a colleague that I swore I would never let happen. The weight of what I did didn't hit me until I ran it by my former teammates in fifth grade but now I feel terrible.

Wednesdays at my school are team time and we have team meetings. One of the items on our agenda was student concerns. Somehow it became venting time for my teammates to vent their frustrations with the resource teacher. I've never had this resource teacher because 4th and 5th grade were a separate program and this year I don't have any students qualifying for resource. Maybe the concerns are completely valid. I also think it is okay to discuss these concerns with gradelevel teammates. The problem is that they published these concerns in the meeting minutes, highlighted the paragraphs, and asked the principal to address these concerns. I just think it is a terrible thing to do, to go over a colleagues head with concerns you haven't addressed to that person.

I tried to get them to soften what they wrote, but I didn't just say what I felt. It didn't even occur to me to do that, and I truly regret not doing that.

Last year, when someone was talking behind my back to the principal (to this day I do not know to a certainty who) I needed a hero to be there and say, "Bring this up to her. It's the right thing to do." I know that my year last year would have been better and I wouldn't be having the internal struggle I am having now if anyone had done that. It's not that there was no one who helped me because there were many people, but whoever was a part of those complaints and gossip didn't and there were big consequences. Consequences I am still struggling with.

So, what do I do now? I can't unsend an e-mail already sent. I can't undo whatever consequences come of this. Do I tell my teammates what I should have told them in the first place? Do I encourage them to address the teacher themselves? I am going to have to do something because I won't be able to sleep at night knowing that I am responsible for doing that to another teacher.

In this profession, we're in it together. We have to stop the gossip. We have to stop looking for scape goats and people to vent on. We have to support each other. We have to talk to people's faces and not behind their backs. I really believe in teachers even the ones who are struggling. There is enough out there to break your heart in teaching and we shouldn't do it to each other.

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