Monthly Archives: May 2013

Suggestive Sexuality, Sexual Maturation in Alice’s Wonderland

Lewis Carroll (Rev, Charles Dodgson) brought immortality to Alice Liddell, (surname rhymes with little), the 5-year-old daughter of his neighbours, the Liddells, although while alive, Dodgson denied the story was about the child. Poppycock. There is ample evidence that Alice Liddell is the Alice character:

  1. the very name Alice
  2. her age
  3. Dodgson’s possible obsession with Alice Liddell

Although Dodgson had relationships with many little girls, Alice Liddell was a favourite. In Alice Through the Looking-Glass, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland, Dodgson himself appears with Alice as the character of the White Knight in Chapter 8. Years afterwa391px-White_Knightrds she could bring the whole scene back again, as if it had been only yesterday — the mild blue eyes and kindly smile of the Knight — the setting sun gleaming through his hair, and shining on his armour in a blaze of light that quite dazzled her. The Knight is awkward with his crush on Alice, and he shows a wistful remorse when Alice crosses a river toward womanhood, leaving her White Knight behind  `You’ve only a few yards to go,’ he said,’ down the hill and over that little brook, and then you’ll be a Queen – -But you’ll stay and see me off first?’ he added as Alice turned with an eager look in the direction to which he pointed. `I shan’t be long. You’ll wait and wave your handkerchief when I get to that turn in the road? I think it’ll encourage me, you see.’  Dodgson pens in his own words that he is the sorrowful Knight when Alice reaches sexual maturation:

`Well, this is grand!’ said Alice. `I never expected I should be a Queen so soon. So she got up and walked about — rather stiffly just at first, as she was afraid that the crown might come off: but she comforted herself with the thought that there was nobody to see her, `and if I really am a Queen,’ she said as she sat down again, `I shall be able to manage it quite well in time.’

In fact, the tone of the whole book is very melancholy, especially when compared to its predecessor, Alice in Wonderland. Looking-Glass is prefaced by an extremely sad poem which reflects Dodgson’s own feelings about his young child-friends growing up and entering the adult world.

Dodgson’s controversial relationships with little girls have been debated for decades. It was known that Dodgson had a preference for little girls: he thought the bodies of little girls to be very be414px-Alice_Liddell_2autiful, but that of little boys to be ugly.  He photographed little girls in provocative clothing, or completely nude, with their parents’ permission. Today we call that child pornography. That these parents gave a grown man permission to photograph their child naked suggests how solid a relationship Dodgson formed with them before the photograph sessions. Although Dodgson did photograph men, women, and landscapes, over fifty percent of Dodgson’s remaining photos depict young girls. One study has attempted to place Dodgson’s child-photography within the “Victorian Child Cult“, which perceived child-nudity as an expression of innocence. Studies of child nudes were fashionable in Dodgson’s time. Child nudes appeared on Victorian Christmas cards. It may be an error to view Dodgson’s child-photography with 20th- or 21st-century eyes, when it was in fact a prevalent mentality of the time. Eesh. Women can’t bare their ankles, they cannot be alone with a man, they must have a chaperone at all times, they are terrified of becoming involved in a “scandal”, but child porn is okay with these people. Something’s going wrong around here.

Dodgson’s behaviour however was an oddity: he became involved in several scandalous relationships with married and single women. Many of the friends he described as “child-friends” wereDodgson girls in their late teens and twenties. Accusations of pedophilia only arose years after his death. His well-meaning family suppressed evidence of his relationships with women to protect his reputation, but this gave the impression of a man interested only in little girls. Yet again Dodgson contradicts himself since many of his female friendships ended when the girls reached the age of fourteen. His lack of interest in pursuing relationships with most of his child-friends after 14, may have been his own, or that of the girls, whose parents may have discouraged the friendships to avoid scandal. This was the Victorian Age, after all. Nude children were the norm, but teenagers having chaperoned visits with adult friends was highly discouraged. It amazes me that anyone living in the Victorian Era could navigate social norms through a paper bag.

Alice-in-Wonderland syndrome (AIWS), also known as Todd’s syndrome or lilliputian hallucinations, originate from Dodgson’s changes in shaalice-in-wonderlandpe and size of a child entering into adulthood. He also emphasizes the time in the years that this transition takes place: at first the years seem to pass slowly in Looking-Glass then suddenly Alice is Queen. Todd’s Syndrome is a neurological condition that affects human perception. The sufferer may lose a sense of time; time seems to pass very slowly, akin to an LSD experience. The lack of time and space leads to a distorted sense of velocity: a person could be inching along slowly, yet to the sufferer, it seems that s/he is sprinting uncontrollably along a moving walkway, leading to severe, overwhelming disorientation. There are many references to hallucinatory drugs in Alice in Wonderland: The caterpillar who is smoking pot from a hookah, sits atop a “magic” mushroom that changes the size of the person who eats it. Alice drinks and eats several foods that cause her to grow, shrink and suffer distortions to her body.

AWIS sufferers also experience size distortion often associated with migraines, brain tumors, and the use of psychoactive drugs. A disturbing symptom is altered body image: the sufferer may find that he or she is confused as to the size and shape of parts of his/her body. This temporarthCADLJDEMy condition is not to be confused with BDD or Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which is lifelong and highly debilitating. AIWS involves perceptual distortions of the size or shape of objects. These hallucinations are called “Lilliputian,” which means that objects appear either smaller or larger than they actually are. Some authors have suggested that Dodgson may have suffered from a form of AIWS and used it as an inspiration in his work, but there is no evidence that he did. There has been the suggestion that Dodgson may have suffered from epilepsy, but again there is no evidence to prove it.

By the time the book was published, Alice was 19 and Dodgson didn’t see her often. He sent three copies of Alice Through the Looking-Glass to the Liddell family, a melancholy, cryptic message to the grown Alice Liddell contained within.

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Is an Angry Child a Tormented Child?

I’m having a hard time with that one.  There is a child in our school (difficult to call him a child, although he is in 2nd grade).  He is an angry, vengeful kid who needs to dominate, domineer, and always be the center of attention.  His natural expression r437160_2103070when speaking to a teacher is a rude glower, and a readiness to fight. Home is a strange environment.  The school’s perspective (with good reason) is that this child is on a pedestal, he can do no wrong, and anything he says or does is gold.  Personally I see this boy as pathological, or certainly on his way.  He lacks conscience. He lacks empathy. He lies. He hits. He hurts. On Friday he called his teacher an asshole (not unusual). And we had a little encounter that threw him for a loop. That was unexpected, for me and him.

As usual, Z (the start of his name), was bullying a child and this was a repeat performance.  This little dude, R, is a landed immigrant, very little English, small and so far, quite isolated even though his peers genuinely like him. He came to me on the yard crying that Z had been hitting him and calling him a bad boy again. This was the 3078818748_108e522cd1_zsecond incident on the yard of this kind. The first time I approached little R when I saw him wandering around crying helplessly. This time he approached me because he recognizes me as an ally. When Z bullies R he never denies it, as he usually does because he is a liar. He is scared when he is called out. He is a coward. A bully. I went inside the classroom (they are, unfortunately, both in the same room), and called the principal on the phone.  Z had already gone to the classroom teacher and ordered her to get the class out of the room and into the gym, since they were to have gym after recess. That was when I knew he was scared.

I contacted the administrator, mentioned those two names and he said “I will be right down.” Man he wasn’t kidding. He came on the fly. As Z crossed the hall to return to the classroom he glowered at me. “What does this have to do with you?” he challenged me for being present during his shaming. “I’m the one who called the principal.”  He had nothing to say to that. The admin called him out, and the little boy R. I turned and began to walk away but not before I winked at Z and said “have fun.” He couldn’t do a thing but glare at me. Precious moments.

This kid is angry, rude, hateful, and has no respect for authority. His teachers can all kiss his butt so far as he is concerned. His family (no father, a grandmother and a mother), always back him up.  Their precious baby. They believe we exaggerate (lie) ladyjusticeabout their precious Z. He is so good at home. Except for the arson in the lower part of their house that happened 3 months ago, of course.  They never admitted it, but I would bet a month’s pay cheque that Z was responsible for that. It’s a fact that angry children, developing psychopaths, play with fire, torture animals, and bully helpless children. Sometimes I really don’t like this kid.  I don’t know how many children Z will torment by the time he is expelled from this school system (if he ever is). I do know he won’t graduate high school. Rebellious, angry children never do. But I worry about all the damage he does along the way. I don’t believe Z is a tormented child in the sense of his treatment at home or at school. He rules too much, he has too much power especially for someone that young. But perhaps anger (at God only knows what) is its own torment. The only sense of satisfaction I get is knowing that one day Z’s family will reach their karma when Z is serving time in juvenile prison, and then adult prison straight afterward. They will still be protecting Z, except this time they will be blaming the legal system for picking on their precious boy. They just don’t get it. For the rest of us, Z will be right where he belongs. It’s not a nice thought, and certainly unprofessional,  but sometimes revenge really does taste sweet in one’s mouth.

A New Twister to an Old Tale

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the film that immediately brings to mind Judy Garland, although she was 3rd choice for the role. Shirley Temple and Deanna Burbin, a Canadian actress and singer in the 1930s and 1940s, were the first two desired actresses. It was their unavailability due to a contract (Temple) and a project (wizard_of_oz_dorothyBurbin) that gave Garland the opportunity of a lifetime. The images from the film and the novel are overwhelmingly childish and cute. We have a good witch and a bad witch, flying monkeys, a little green wizard with a hot air balloon, lions and tigers and bears (oh my!), and of course the notorious yellow brick road. What isn’t apparent about the story is Frank L. Baum’s genius in writing it for both adult and child audiences, and somehow managing to appeal to both. So far as the movie is concerned, the significant financial investment, well-cast actors and the genius of its director, Victor Fleming, made it a blockbuster.  However, some critics believe the original story holds quite a different, darker tale that has nothing to do with children’s dreams or magic.

Most of the Oz research I conducted reached basically the same conclusions and uncovered the same metaphors, although there were some differences.  I compromised and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was first published in Chicago in 1900.  Baum was the editor of a South Dakota newspaper and a swizard-of-ozupporter of William Jennings Bryan, who stood three times, unsuccessfully, as a U.S. presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. In America during the 1890s, as in Britain, there had been a severe depression. Many businesses had gone bankrupt, farmers forced to sell up, factories  closed and workers made unemployed. True, some farms in the Mid-West were  suffering from drought, but most were still capable of growing food; the businesses and factories were still capable of providing the things that  people needed; the workers still wanted to work to provide those things, and people would still want the goods and services produced if they had the money to buy them.

The money in the USA then, as now, was entirely created by the private banking system. The pretence existed then that money was based on gold. (Even now some people still think that it is!) The major banks, based  on the East and West coasts, could vary the amount of money in circulation, lending more to encourage commercial activity, then foreclosing on loans to put people out of business, enabling the banks to acquire their businesses cheaply. Baum and Bryan wanted money to be based on silver, not gold, as silver was more readily available in the Mid-West, where it was mined and such a money supply could not be manipulated by the banks. So the story of the Wizard of Oz starts with a cyclone in the form of imagined electoral success for Bryan.

Dorothy, a sort of proverbial ‘Everywoman’, lands on the Wicked Witch of the East (the East-coast balollie-pop-guild-the-wizard-of-oz-31794946-1279-934nkers), killing her, so freeing the Munchkins, the down-trodden poor, but the Wicked Witch of the West  (the West-coast bankers) remains loose. The Good Witch of the North (the Northern Electorate) tells Dorothy to seek out the Wizard of Oz (oz being short for ounces, that is of gold). She also gives Dorothy a pair of silver slippers, (ruby in the movie), representing the silver mines, and the original colour in the book. They enable her to remain safe on the yellow-brick road, representing the bankers’ gold standard, as she heads towards the Emerald City, representing Washington DC, since green is the colour of money. Ya with me so far, kids?

On her journey, Dorothy encounters a Scarecrow, representing the farmers, who do not have the wit to understand how they can end up losing their farms to the banks, even though they work hard to grow the food to feed a hungry nation. If only they could think it through!Next, she encounters a Tin Woodsman, (Taxpayer Identification Number), representing the industrial workers, rusted as solid as the factories of the 1890s depression, and who have lost the sense of compassion and co-operation to work together to help each other during hard times. Then the growing party encounters a Cowardly Lion, representing the politicians. These have the power, through the power of Congress and the Constitution, to confront the Wicked Witches, representing the banks, but they lack the courage to do so. Dorothy is able to motivate these three potent forces and leads them all towards the Emerald City, whence ‘greenbacks’ had once come, and an encounter with the omnipotent and wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The Wizard of Oz is initially quite majestic and apparently awesome, but he turns out to be a little man without the power that people assume he possesses. He does, of course, represent the President of the United States. Who finally exposed the Wizard for what he really was? Toto, the annoywickedwitch_ofthe_westing little dog. Toto means “in total, all together; Latin in toto.” What was it that the witch wanted after she alleged that the little dog had bitten her? TOTO. … everything.  Notice how Toto was not scared of the Great Wizard’s theatrics, yet he was so small in size, compared to the Wizard, that no one seemed to notice him? The smoke, flames and holographic images of Oz were designed to frighten people into doing as the Great Wizard commanded. Toto simply padded over, looked behind the curtain (the COURT), saw it was a scam, started barking until others paid attention to him and came to see what all the barking was about. Who was behind the curtain? Just an ordinary person controlling the levers that created the illusion of the Great Wizard’s power and authority. When Toto pulled back the curtain and completely exposed him, the charade With the Wizard’s illusion of power shattered, he is replaced by the Scarecrow who would ‘be another Lincoln’.

The Wicked Witch of the West, fearful for her own power, then attempts to destroy Dorothy but is herself dissolved in a bucket of water, as rain relieves the Mid-West drought, saves the farmers’ livelihoods and prevents repossession by the banks. Let’s also not forget that the Wicked Witch of the “West” represented the bankers who would control its resources and people legally (fly8066-mchoice_WizardOz_42909ing monkeys) and with psychotropic drugs (poppies). Dorothy’s house (equity) landed upon and killed the Witch of the “East,” representing a false sense of security that people from Europe felt when they trekked to the New World. The Good Witch of the South, representing the Southern electorate, tells Dorothy that her silver slippers, silver-based money, are so powerful that anything she wishes for is possible, even without the help of the Wizard. And, notice at the end of the film, this “good” witch knew the secret that would get Dorothy home all along, but didn’t tell her right away. Perhaps, this was Glenda’s way of having Dorothy learn her own lesson. Perhaps she was toying with Dorothy. Witch?  Should have called her bitch. But the prizes given by the newly humbled wizard were themselves ruses, representations of cures and freedoms. So, this journey, or lesson, was ultimately futile.

Finally, Dorothy wishes to go home. There all is now well, because the land has a stable and abundant money supply.  Note that Dorothy did not have a mother or father reference.  Dorothy’s legal guardian was obscurely named Aunt “Em” or “M” for money. That means that money was her “legal tender.” Isn’t it everyone’s?

When Teacher Assistants Aren’t Assisting Anyone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4gyhXzTrmo

Technically teacher aides, or assistants, are assigned to a classroom to assist a teacher with a special needs student.  Special needs include:

  1. learning disability
  2. mental handicap
  3. physical handicap
  4. autism
  5. other neurological syndromes
  6. behaviour

The real01_05_09_speciality is that the assistant works to assist the student in a plethora of ways:

  1. social skills
  2. academic achievement
  3. behaviour boundaries
  4. comfort and reassurance
  5. communication with family
  6. reporting on children’s progress to the special education team
  7. physical restraint
  8. removing child from classroom environment when necessary
  9. improving relationships with peers

There are three roles a teacher assistant can play:

  1. ERW (education resource worker)
  2. CYW (children and youth worker)
  3. Social Worker

It’s more difficult to use the social worker on a consistent basis, since s/he works between several schools (must protect that almighty budget, you know).  A typical social worker in the Ontario public school system serves approximately eight schools.  This usually means s/he is able to attend each school 1 – 2 days a week, or 3 times biweekly, not ideal availability to needy children.

Most of the teacher assistants I’ve met have been very efficient and truly enjoy their jobs. The children like3078818748_108e522cd1_z them. Everyone benefits. But nothing is ever perfect. I spent some time chatting with an exceptional ERW recently. She worked with a 9-year-old boy who is moderately mentally handicapped. He is not unaware of his surroundings. He generally enjoys school. He has a unique and humorous way about him with other children and with certain staff.  Working with this young woman has helped him a great deal. Before her arrival at the school, he was only adding single numbers and working at a very low level in other subjects.  Since her arrival and her persistent patience, he is now able to add triple digits and genuinely enjoys his schoolwork. This woman is the type of ERW every student should have.

There is another ERW in our school who works with this same student.  Usually when this child is with this man he is very unhappy and cries throughout the day.  This ERW often raises his voice r437160_2103070at the child and is very unfair with him. For instance, in our computer lab the student was working independently at his own computer. For whatever reason, this ERW began kicking the student’s chair while he sat behind him.  The student asked the man repeatedly to stop kicking his chair. Finally, the man stood up and took the child’s chair away from him. As a consequence for standing up for himself, the ERW ordered the child to the other side of the computer lab for a time-out.

It gets worseThe boy hails from an abusive home: his father is a former Cripps member; his mother is a drug addict with epilepsy and has frequent seizures in front of him. Abuse at home, abuse at school, this child has nowhere to turn. If it wasn’t for the kind young woman in his life, the boy might never know a moment’s reprieve from unhappinessvictim.

Frequently, this man yells at the student, initiates conflict, then tells the boy he won’t tolerate a bad day with him. It is heart-breaking, unprofessional, and very worrisome. This little boy clearly shows his unhappiness with this ERW yet the school still allows the two to work together on a weekly basis. Fortunately, the young woman is there to comfort this child and to give him much better days. This cannot compensate for the cruelty of the other worker. Watching the little boy walk around crying loudly, displaying evidence of the ERW’s incompetence, is unbearable. Most definitely, I intend to speak kindly to this little boy whenever I see him with this angry, unprofessional worker.

Listen, that job is tough.  It cannot be easy to work with the most challenging children in a school every day. I get it. However every teacher in the school also has to work with the most challenging children in the school every day, and such a lack of professionalism would never be tolerated…..and rightly so. What worries me is that not every child is as lucky as this little boy who has a second, terrific ERW to fight the battles he cannot fight for himself. The administrator has been made aware of the situation, yet the impatient ERW is still assigned to him. I’m not sure how that works. I only know I don’t like it. I know the student doesn’t like it. I also know that when a person who doesn’t like working with children, including one child in his career, might want to question his line of work. Certainly it would be advisable if the administration asked the question.

Bizarre Bans and Strange Suspensions

Is there such a thing as too politically correct?  I read this interesting article called 20 Weird Things Banned from Schools.  Some bans are truly odd.  Others make sense to me. In fact, some of the bans aren’t as odd as the items being banned. Before I lay these bizarre truisms entirely at school boards’ doorsteps, keep in mind that behind these bans are often angry, delusional parents. That said:

I (heart) Boobies bracelets 
THE VERDICT:  I agree entirely with this one in the Elementary panel. “Boobies” is a silly slang for breasts and it’s wrong to use it around children. The bracelet itself is inappropriate.  I (heart) Breasts isn’t any better, since the whether the bracelet belongs in a school where young children have no comprehension of cancer, is up for debate.

suspensions for wearing the bracelets
THE VERDICT:  Truly unnecessary.  Tell the kids to take off the bracelets or go home.

ban on Yoga pants as part of a dress code.
THE VERDICT:  Undecided.  I’m used to seeing women of all ages wearing them. Even some teachers in my school wear tight yoga pants with long shirts over them (personally, I wouldn’t follow suit -pun – because they are unprofessional). Likewise, the Ottawa school that banned the tight outerwear, stated the girls can wear them with a long shirt. Perfectly reasonable. While we’re on this topic, here’s a pathetic scenario for you: when I worked for the PRP (Peel Regional Police) eons ago, a middle-aged woman (a secretary) visited her office (mostly men – and cops at that), in nothing but tight, black workout pants (not the Yoga pants that are in today). I mean, seriously.  She didn’t have the slender figure to look good in them. Pitiful play for attention.

Hugging
THE VERDICT: Outrageously stupid. I suppose schools are trying to prevent sexual harassment via unwanted touching. To quote: Respecting personal space and “unsuitable interactions” between students. Whatever.

Hand Holding
THE VERDICT: Pathetic. This ban cites a “gateway sexual activity“.

Red Ink
THE VERDICT: Is there life on Mars? A UK school has banned teachers from grading papers with red ink, but they are allowed to use green ink, because red looks confrontational.  Is this a complicated case of red-green colour blindness?

Dodge Ball
THE VERDICT: Patently absurd. This school better dodge a maelstrom of criticism. That may prove more damaging than dodge ball injuries.

Balls
THE VERDICT: There are so many levels I could take this one, however, this is a kid-friendly blog so i shall behave myself. The ban applies to “hard balls” (stop that, you) after a child was hit in the head by a hard ball and suffered an injury. I have an idea: allow the balls and issue every student in the school a safety helmet to wear on the yard. That makes about as much sense.

Non-Motorized Transportation.
THE VERDICT: The lunatics are taking over the asylum. I can understand how roller skates, bicycles and skateboards can be construed as morally corrupt, of course, but their use is a great way to avoid obesity.

Bake Sales
THE VERDICT: Agreed. However, not for the reason that the school suggests, which is that bake sales serve innutritious food. You gotta have treats sometimes. It clashes with schools’ efforts to encourage children to eat healthy school lunches, but I’m more concerned about Ontario’s Sabrina’s Law Regulation. Children aren’t allowed to bring in treats for parties, nor are they allowed to share lunches ever since a law passed in honour of a little girl named Sabrina, who died of anaphylactic shock in 2003, after eating french fries with a nut ingredient, supplied by another student.

Black Makeup
THE VERDICT: Agreed, provided it applies to girls and boys. It was a boy who was sent home from a school for wearing black lipstick, eyeliner and nail polish. This conflicted with the school dress code policy. I’m in agreement only because of the goth look of the makeup, not because he wore makeup. However, in this case it wasn’t the goth look that inspired the ban. The school doesn’t allow boys to wear makeup.

Silly Bandz
THE VERDICT: Ridiculous.  I’ve never heard of Silly Bandz until now. I’m sure kids in our school have worn them. So what? Can’t children be allowed to pass through their “kid” phases to any degree today?

Best Friends
THE VERDICT: Amoral.  Aren’t they throwing out the baby with the bath water, so to speak? Encouraging love and kindness at school, then prohibiting friends is quite at odds in my book.

Dinosaurs
THE VERDICT: Illegal – the schools are driving the dinosaurs to extinction. But wait, there’s more: no using these words in case they offend some students:

  1. poverty
  2. dancing
  3. Halloween
  4. birthdays…okay so I agree with this one.  I refuse to have another one, even as I age against my will.

Ugg Boots
THE VERDICT: I love those furry, little boots. Admittedly, when worn with the banned Yoga pants, that is a rather sexy combination. The reason for the ban however is that Ugg Boots can be used for storing “contraband” like cell phones. No reason to panic: I’m sure that when Ugg Boots start ringing in class, it won’t be difficult to figure that one out.

Baggy Pants
THE VERDICT: Agreed. These are not the completely sexless baggies of the early 80’s. These apply to boys who tend to pull them down over their underwear to give everyone a good look (gross). The style is also associated with gang-related dress code.

Skinny Jeans
THE VERDICT: Only if the wearer herself is skinny, otherwise, SKs are a moot point.  Just kidding.  Disagreed. Teachers wear SKs to school. It’s just another denim style that will come and go on the (rather ugly) fashion treadmill. If you’re going to wear them, skip the flats at least.

Winning
THE VERDICT: Inane. (At first I thought it said whining and I turned a cart-wheel … also banned … sebowse below). In life there are always winners and losers. Period. Teaching students that they never win and never lose is teaching them they live in Rainbow-Brite world. Not a very sensible life lesson for post-grads. And it would really pee off Charlie Sheen and his tiger blood.

Hair Bows
THE VERDICT: Certainly raises a few eyebrow (hairs). This kid is adorable. Lady Ga-Ga?  I would never have guessed and besides, it’s cute.

Cart-wheels
THE VERDICT: If you can do them without throwing your back out, kudos to you.

Christmas
THE VERDICT: No Virginia, there isn’t a Santa Claus.

Meaningful Mediation for Maddening, Messy Moments

I requested a mediation with my administrator and a colleague of mine, whom I shall call X (I would say XX as in double-crossed, but that’s a bit trite, don’t you think?). This is my one (and hopefully only) mediation I have ever needed with a colleague in this business. It is booksunfortunate because I have tried to resolve our differences with her outside of the principal’s office, with no effect. Here are some of my issues with X (I shall include utterly petty issues along with major issues:

  1. Whiteboard Markers – serious.  She would hide them when I entered her room to teach music. When I asked her where they were she told me to get my own at the Dollar Store since hers were running out. I nearly guffawed, but I went ahead and bought the markers which led to….
  2. Dispute over the type of markers I bought. Serious. She approached me the following week and said I bought the wrong kind because they were semi-permanent and she had to wash them off her board (funny, I used the same markers on other teachers’ white boards, and they were fine). Are you snorting with laughter yet?  Doback_to_schooln’t worry there are lots more ahead.
  3. I sent a student to the office for misbehaviour.  She approached me and inquired about my decision. I told her. She then went right to the office and told the student he could leave the office and go back to class. Teachers don’t normally oppose each other’s authority.  It’s confusing for students and irritating for colleagues.
  4. I wore a number of stickers on my forehead and face one day to make the children laugh.  Some of them did the same.  When this woman saw a sticker in the middle of my forehead she went straight to the administrator and told him I was racist. Serious.  I was outraged.
  5. She accused me of stealing a pen after I used it in her classroom. Truthfully, I must have done something stupid with it because I never did find it again.  I most certainly didn’t steal it.  She went about her classroom and ranted to her students after I left.  Serious.
  6. She angry-woman-Manasinformed me that I had no right to work with a specific student during music class for different reasons.  We had an argument over that for about 5 minutes.  I had been working with this child since October.  It was now April.  At least she said sorry about that one.

The list continues.  I swear, unlike X, I don’t go around looking to cause trouble. I like to be happy at work, at home, strolling down the sidewalk, and volunteering to feed feral cats. This teacher needs to learn a lesson about behaving professionally. Too bad I’m the one who has to teach it.

**Update**  The mediation discussed proper conduct between me and the other teacher; reasonably fair I guess. I did get across the point that she initiates our issues and she didn’t respond to that.  Clearly, she knew that was true.  I reiterated major issues between us that were uncalled for and one was downright false.  She had no answer to that. At the same time, the administrator advised both of us that rather than getting annoyed should there be another conflict, we should each contact him and let him deal with the scenario.  I agreed wholeheartedly.  The principal concluded with “I think this should resolve your issues together.” I agreed again. The other teacher looked only at him and muttered, “I hope so.”  Since then she has gone out of her way to behave in such a petty manner I can only compare her to one of the students. I am prepared to consider the past as staying in the past; water under the bridge; it’s all good. Not this teacher. She rolls her eyes at me. When I ask her a question she acts dismissive and walks away. She gets up and leaves the table in the staff room when I join the staff to have lunch. She informed me that she would do “anything I tell her to do”, yet not in a sarcastic voice. Sad.

She seems to think that the administrator sided with me and side-stepped her concerns.  Not true.  He told me and he told her in a very polite manner. I don’t see how she gets the idea that I have “won.” No one wins (literally) in a mediation.  There is compromise (hopefully) and back to ground zero to begin again. Clearly this woman doesn’t see it that way. She is determined to wear her indignation like a badge on her sleeve. She goes out of her way to communicate to me that I am not on her team and she doesn’t want me there.  Well, beyond maintaining my professional and ignoring her attempts at causing further problems, there is nothing more I can do to smooth the bumpy road between us. I told you this woman was petty.