Dog Crap

If you are blessed enough to have a secretary / administrative assistant / office manager at your school who is both competent and helpful, GO EXPRESS YOUR GRATITUDE RIGHT NOW.

During the two years I taught in California and the two years I taught in Michigan, I did not realize how lucky I was to have office managers who made my life easy, not miserable.

But this time around? This time around, there's a bulldog guarding the school at the front office disguised as a young woman who can't seem to wear a shirt tall enough to hide her lacy black bra.

We've been in school for about three weeks, and the interactions I've had with her have been painful.

Week One: I'm looking for butcher paper to set up my room. Nobody thought to give the seven new teachers a tour of the school, so I'm hunting around for the work room on my own. I wander into the office to see if maybe the butcher paper can be found behind one of these three doors. I would ask Bulldog, but she's busy talking to someone and I don't want to interrupt her for something so trivial, so I cautiously open one of the doors. I had barely opened it a few inches when Bulldog interrupts her own conversation to yell my way: "Hey!! Don't you know that's the principal's office and SHE'S IN AN IMPORTANT MEETING??????" For effect, she looked at me like there was a good reason I was in Special Education. I retreated with my tail between my legs. Also, I was ticked.

Week Two: I'm trying to schedule an IEP meeting. I have to check with the principal to see when she's available as the presence of an administrator is required at IEPs. I go to the office to ask Bulldog (who's in charge of the principal's schedule) when she'll be available. She tells me to go ask her in an email. Okaaaayyyyyy... I ask her in an email which of two dates will work for the principal. She states "The principal will not be able to attend a meeting on either day as she has other obligations". Fine. I just email the IEP team and say "The IEP is scheduled for this day and time. The principal will not be able to attend as she has other obligations". I specifically wrote that so that Deaf Ed. administrators who are on the email recipient list will take the hint that one of them will need to come.

Little do I know that Bulldog is also on the recipient list. Next thing I know, Bulldog has sent one of my colleagues to watch my classroom (because yes I was in the middle of teaching) so that I can come to Her Office. I'm wondering what the emergency is (because HELLO I was in the middle of teaching) as I walk into her office. She is sitting behind her desk when she starts SCOLDING me for saying in an email that "the principal has other obligations". She says: "What I write to you in an email is confidential information. Telling colleagues that she can't come makes her look bad. In the future, don't repeat anything I write to you in an email"

And then she barked a lot, bit me on my neck and ran me off of her territory.

Week Three: I need copy paper. This is the only school I've worked at where you have to bring your own copy paper to make copies. I've run out of the two packages I had previously found laying around and had asked around where to get more. I was told that the office gives each teacher a box of paper per semester. I decide to email Bulldog instead of venturing into enemy territory. I politely ask her what the procedure is for getting more paper. She writes back:

"Ms.____, Please be advised that homeroom teachers get one box of paper per semester. All other support professionals are only to receive half a box per semester. Thank you."

That's great. WHERE'S MY PAPER???????

And lest you think that she has a personal beef against me, I overheard her chewing out my colleague (a first year teacher) for getting herself locked inside the building at six o'clock on a Thursday evening. There is no mention anywhere of the official opening and closing times of the building in the staff handbook.

I was talking to Max about this situation, and it seems I have a couple of options:

a) be the Christian I am supposed to be and take this unnecessary treatment patiently and graciously.
b) Say nothing out loud. Use the blog for venting.
c) Be more assertive when she is rude.
d) Mark my territory by peeing in her office.

So what'll it be?


Anonymous said...

d) seems most appropriate to me. At the very least, you should do (d) in addition to any other action you might take. gm

Hannah said...

Wow!! Is your principal a celebrity???!?! geez... This will be a lesson testing your love and patience I guess... Good luck Sarah!!

Randy et Jan said...

O my!! Queen of her Queendom. And you the lowly Jester! Aren't office politics FUN!! Think of her as the grain of sand in your oyster, producing a pearl! Love you, Mom

Anonymous said...

Sounds like she is a miserable person with a miserable attitude. You can handle the situation, you can out think her. Make her jealous of your mental ability ,then mark your territory.

Sarah said...

Oh, I vote pee in her office! Lol! Good luck dealing with her - what a pain.

Anonymous said...

Insecure, incompetent, and lonely makes a person angry. Pee on her. And there was no reason why you shouldn't have written why principal couldn't make it. It isn't confidential information and if the principal has a problem with it she should tell you.
Good luck with other encounters. You did well with KW, certainly she shouldn't end up any different.


Mrs. K1 teacher said...

Pee in the office, for sure! Realistically, I think there is a balance between asserting yourself and biting your tongue. Choose your battles so to speak... good luck!

Anonymous said...

I vote for accepting the challenge to melt this hard hearted little person...take her crap, and love on her. Eventually she will feel some admiration and soften. Obviously she feels overwhelmed, slighted, angry, or hurt, maybe doesn't have good skills and/or compassion for others. Maybe she's a jerk! Show your leadership ability by not personalizing her attitude and do everything in your power to work with her where she's at. At worst, God and others will notice your efforts. (If it doesn't work, you can always exercise the pee option later!) Love, Brenda

Anonymous said... my 30+ years of public education I have had numerous secretaries, vice principals, and principals to work along side, behind, and under. I believe I developed my atrial fibrillation, insomnia, and IBS during those years. However, my faith and love for God has grown enormously at the same time. Many Scriptures come to mind about patience, endurance, and thinking of things noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. However, if all else fails, I have and idea of what to do with the fire ants in your back yard...

Anonymous said...

You know that I would always vote for something like peeing in someone's office. Kill her with kindness as well. "Oh, ____, I just loooooove the way your bra peeks out of your shirt. How DO you do that? And the way that you yell at me is music to my ears!" Maybe I'll go pee in KW's office next week...


Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, I had more or less the same experience with a vice-principal's secretary at ETHS.

My heart goes out for you. Allow our LORD to work it out His way. That's what He did for me in my misery: turned a bulldog into a friend. Wait on the LORD.

Love & many prayers, dad

Anonymous said...

You can't be mamsy-pamsy with a bully, they have no respect for you if you don't stand up to them. I can say that to you without reservation because I know you can do it and still be nice.

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