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Today was my co-teacher's birthday. She told me that she didn't want cake unless it was going to be shared with those who are special to her and that she didn't want a card signed by all the pre-k teachers (a tradition at the school). She's bitter because her contract will not be renewed for the school year and she thinks that the pre-k team is somehow against her and that they don't like her. She doesn't like many of them either and so she didn't want to share her special day with them. I thought, "Well, it's her perrogative!"

 

I felt kind of bad about it though. One of the other pre-k teacher's (who is friends with my co-teacher) agreed that it wouldn't look "nice" to get cake for just a few of us, neither would it look "nice" to not buy a cake at all. Soooo...I bought a cake. I also bought a card (from myself), and one for her "friends" to sign only. I just wanted to make her day special. Well, it backfired.

 

My co-teacher was very happy and appreciative but also very nasty, I'd opine, in how she handled the questions from others about why she didn't want the pre-k team to celebrate with her. She told one of the teachers that it is her day and that her birthday is as special to her as Christmas and so she only wanted to celebrate with those who are special to her. OUCH! Talk about brutally honest...but then again not so honest because when the teacher said "I hope I'm one of those people", my co-teacher replied "You are or else you wouldn't be in this room" (Now mind you, the teacher was not invited, but came to find out what was going on). The cake ended up being shared with everyone (as I'd wanted it to be), but only if they decided to come to the room to get it (whereas normally it would be taken to each of the classrooms).

 

Not only that, but one of her "friends" told the other teachers that she signed a card when they asked why there was no card passed around to sign for my co-teacher's birthday *facepalm* That REEEEALLY made things look bad!

 

I felt soooo bad, even though it wasn't my fault....it just put me in a bad spot! I apologized to the other teachers and aids and they told me they knew it wasn't my fault. I just thought the whole thing was a bit childish, but at the same time, she DOES have the right to decide who she wants to celebrate her birthday with! I guess it's because I'm more prone to do whatever is most congenial, whatever is most diplomatic. I remember my former friends from church used to tease me and say I'd even hug the devil lol. I guess it's just the way I grew up. I still try to be diplomatic although now that I've gotten older, there are some people that I genuinely do not like and would not entertain.  But don't you have to kind of fake the funk sometimes? Especially in a work environment? Maybe not "faking" but be cordial? Where do you draw the line between being fulsome and fake and cordial and congenial?

 

I know you have to draw the line somewhere and know for yourself who you're true friends are and who the fakers are, but it just made me pretty uncomfortable to see things handled the way they were handled.

 

 Anyway, the tradition's kind of stupid in a way because I had to buy the cake and the card with my money. If everyone wants to be a part, shouldn't  everyone chip in to make the purchases? smh...gotta love working with teachers! Always some drama. They're worse than the kids sometimes lol :-D

 

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Comment by Jean Marie on May 15, 2011 at 2:22pm

Nika, i understand your mulling over your reaction in your reply below, when you said "I'm fine" when you thought inside, "It's cuz i don't like you."

but, in fact, you did not lie, *YOU* are fine, ha ha!!  She is messed up!

 

One thing i've tried to follow, when truth and kindness diverge or collide,

i try to choose kindness***.

 

***I have caveats to that, i will not tolerate racism, or overt sexism, homophobia, etc etc, i WILL call out those bad cards when they are laid in front of me.

 but, as far the person goes, especially in the work setting, i try to choose kindness over truth, IF there is no way to choose both.

Comment by Neal on May 15, 2011 at 5:49am

"Nice." =)

 

I've started several times to write a blog focused on that one word. If she wants her birthday to be like christmas, maybe she should attempt an "immaculate conception" claim.  

Comment by Nika on May 14, 2011 at 8:30pm
Btw, I was feeling mighty fake when I was with my co-teacher that day:-( I'm really starting not to like her. She's the same co-worker I told you about before who made the statement about not wanting to work for a black principal and the asinine comments about the death penalty :-( I don't say much to her anymore. She's noticed it too! She told someone else, (in my presence), that I haven't said more than 10 words to her in the last 2 days. Why just the last two days and not the last 2 months? I don't know. I guess my patience is really starting to dwindle now that I know it's almost over. I'm just eager for it to be over! *sigh* When she made the comment, I just laughed and said "I'm fine"...but I'm not... so I lied lol. What else could I do, tell her "Yes I don't have much to say, because I don't like you much anymore"? So, I faked it, but not to the point where I could engage in much conversation with her beyond dealing with the kids. I can't wait until these 3 weeks are over! I need to write a blog to tell you guys how mean teachers can be. Don't get me wrong, there are some great, wonderful, extrodinary teachers out there, but I'll tell you the truth, not all teachers are!
Comment by Nika on May 14, 2011 at 8:21pm

Yeah! I agree mom Jeanie! No one wants to work in a hostile milieu. We spend most of our time at work, why not make it as pleasant as possible?

 

I'm the say way as you on the waitress thing too. Why be rude? It really is unnecessary when you think about it, and you're right...even the rude person must walk away feeling crummy.

 

I, too, have heard folks praise rudeness. I think it can be confused with assertiveness. Rude people can be praised for their "badassness" and thought of as intrepid, fearless, audacious. But no...they're just rude lol...and who wants to be around someone who would go off on you or people around you like that?

Comment by Jean Marie on May 13, 2011 at 7:56pm

Another place i worked, everyone donated a few dollars a month, was not much at all, and that money was kept in some kind of kitty, and when a birthday came up, they bought cake from those dollars.

 

really, that was kinda nice.

Comment by Jean Marie on May 13, 2011 at 7:54pm

Wow, how very odd!  I wouldn't know what to do either!  Sorry your attempt to be kind, sorta backfired. 

 Where i work the birthday person is usually not involved, others arrange a 'carry in' and we all bring in recipes we made at home to share, and someone gets a card to pass to sign.  Then the birthday person is brought in after we've set out all our recipes in the break room.  Sometimes it is complete surprise, sometimes they spot the dishes all in the fridge and figure it out.

 

If someone is leaving, one person, usually someone close to the leave-ee, sets about collecting money from each of us for a gift.

i don't think i've ever heard anyone say "don't celebrate my birthday".  Seems rude and childish to point this one's in/this one's out....

 

There's no pleasing some people.  I agree with you, Nika, i'm usually very polite in person (online, not so much).  I don't understand abruptness or rudeness in real life, especially in work settings.  I know others who see being rude as good thing, but i think it adds unnecessary stress to work settings.  (can't quite recall exactly what all i've heard ppl say about praising rudeness or fussiness, but, i've heard that).  Even if i am complaining, like for a waitron, etc, it can be done politely.

Even VERY politely.  Why be rude? 

I've seen ppl going off on others here or there, and wonder, why be rude about it?  so what if you didn't get banana peppers on your sandwhich, so what?  just ask for them, and smile.  No big deal.  Most ppl are dancing as fast as they can, and don't forget the banana peppers specifically to honk you off, is innocent mistake.

 

Plus, the person who goes off, is the one who feels bad.  there is NO way to go off on another person, and NOT feel kinda crummy about it inside, can't be done, imo.

Well, plus the other person getting yelled out over banana peppers also feels crummy.  PLus, the others at the table probably get their mood ruined a lil bit, too, to witness rudeness.

 

Re: faking stuff.  To me, politness is not fake.  It is ingrained.  For me, just glancing at someone with no expression in my eyes is about as rude i get in a work setting. 

 

I never fake a thing re: religion or politics.  That is my own personal line in the sand.  I walk away more often than not, especially for religion topics.  but i can be polite to Pol Pot if he is my patient, and probably, if he is my coworker, too.  (actually, i'm pretty sure i DID have PolPot for a patient once...)

 

I can kid around with almost anyone.  I do not display my dislike of anyone at a WORK setting.  We all need to work together in a job setting, pointing out who's in/who's out with you, is bad form.

 

I might not fall over backwards for that person, but, my dislike of them is not needed in a work setting.  Bad energy, no one needs it at work. 

 

i don't see the benefit of nastiness.  Especially in work settings, where we do spend the bulk of our waking hours, and do NOT get to choose the others around us. 

If pressed, assertiveness is fine, and needed now and then if you are getting run over, but, no call for nastiness.

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