Shaddup Already!


Dear coworker

Dear Coworker,
Well today was the first day back at work and you certainly were cold to me. I don't know what to do to make you see me as someone other than the enemy. At the end of last year, I was shocked when you told me that you were tired of us competing. I never meant to compete with you. I didn't think I was. You said you had hoped we could learn from one another. I have learned from you, I thought it was mutual.

I have learned that you are a great teacher with some severe self-confidence issues. You see, I have always felt that respectful disagreement and discussion is a wonderful way to learn. I should have realized earlier on that if I disagree with you, it makes you feel bad. I would have refrained from the discussions had I only known.

I understand that I had a great year in the eyes of the administration last year. Honestly, it was the best year I've ever had, as far as the feedback goes. I received more compliments last year than I had in my previous five years combined. I needed that.

You see, early in my career, I was torn down. I have been trying desperately to rebuild my confidence. These compliments were needed on my part. Unfortunately you seemed to see them as making you less of a teacher. You aren't. We can both be great teachers and it doesn't diminish either one of us. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned what was going on in the way of the district's interest in my teaching, but talking about it was my way of making it more real. I just couldn't believe that I was the teacher they were talking about.

I was proud of you for making Teacher of the Year. I told you, but I don't think you believed me. I would never want to undermine your teaching nor your relationships with other teachers. That isn't my intention at all.

Sometimes I wonder what you say about me to others. I have been witness to your seemingly skewed sense of reality. I'm sure I am a complete villain and you have done nothing.

Frequently I feel as though you are trying to undermine my teaching or relationships with others. Honestly, I can't wait for you to retire. Is that horrible? I'm sorry. But I've begun to realize that nothing I do will ever be right with you.

Yes, I was late for a meeting--a meeting that was scheduled during lunchtime and started a half hour earlier than originally stated. I apologized. You made me feel like dirt.

I did email you my book count in lieu of writing it down, but you said it was okay. I don't think it's fair that you change the rules because you're angry.

I'm sorry I didn't respond to your invitation to a luncheon. I would have really enjoyed going, but I can't get my school email at home. I don't know why, my computer is just funky that way. I did send you my personal email before. I guess you didn't see it.

I know my apology email for "ignoring" your invitation won't be adequate, but I know I've done what I can to set things right.

We're not on the same team any longer, (I know that's a bone of contention for you as you wanted the position I was moved to) but we do still have to collaborate regularly. I would like to stop walking on eggshells in order to do that.

I don't know that I'll apologize to you again, even if I am wrong, because I know you won't accept it. Not only won't you refuse to accept it, but you won't even acknowledge that you don't accept it.

It's tough always wondering if what I say or do is going to come off wrong to you. I'll have to be less myself, the me that I really like, when I'm around you. I'll do that because that is easier to deal with than the cold shoulder and passive aggressive attempts to sabotage me.

I'm hurt and angry at the way you've treated me, but I wish you no ill will. I do hope you have a good year. It would be nice if we could truly move on like you suggested, but I'm not holding my breath.


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