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.

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