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  • deyeana
  • Adventurer

    • 36

    • May 03, 2011, 02:57:55 pm
    • Ansan, South Korea
well..thanks for making things really awkward...
« on: May 18, 2011, 01:13:28 pm »
I have a co-teacher who pulls me aside to vent about the other co-teachers/their styling of teaching. Iím still new to the school so I donít have enough work experience to think any less of them.  However, after hearing all the negative traits and teaching styles that this one particular co-teacher unloads onto me on a daily basis, its affecting my image of my other co-workers. I try to balance my time between co-workers evenly so that Iím not associated with a certain group of teachers more than the other, but I already feel like there is pressure on me to pick sides.
I just want it to go back to normal where Iím new, everyone is nice and Iím so oblivious to the teachers clique. How do I tell this co-teacher nicely that I donít want to hear about it anymore? I want to form my own opinions of people.
does your co-teacher do this to you too?...

  • KevinA
  • Adventurer

    • 66

    • November 17, 2009, 07:07:09 am
    • Seoul, Korea
Re: well..thanks for making things really awkward...
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2011, 01:45:59 pm »
I've been in similar situations where I felt like a particular person wanted me to express opinions of co-workers... After doing a hefty workout of some verbal Tai-Chi (passively answering questions and only using positive words to describe other people) a negative piece of gossip was unloaded on me. Something about teaching styles / discipline. My best response to that was and always has been, "I don't have an opinion on that." If they want to push the issue on something (especially gossip) I firmly yet gently inform co-workers that if somebody wants me to know something about themselves, they will tell me themselves.

By not buying into the gossip circle and avoiding all types of negative speak (by using positive responses) it really goes a long way.

The best thing I have ever done in my school has been to always be a positive individual and unleash smiles, even if I don't feel great. I spent a year and a half in a 2 person office with a person who is perpetually pessimistic. Literal run through of a Monday morning; me: "Good morning!" other: "Is it? Is it really, a good morning?" me: "Uhh, yeah, it's sunny... it's spring... uh uhhh, I'm happy to be here." other: "Well good for you." me: "Yes, good, uhh, for me." and all downhill from there.

Good luck, try to keep it positive!

Re: well..thanks for making things really awkward...
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2011, 01:59:42 pm »
there's a fine line between constructive criticism, venting, and bitching.  its kind of a triangle.

maybe you could nudge them one way or the other.  venting can be good, if it helps them calm down and think about things.  constructive criticism can be good if it helps things develop.  but bitching all the time doesnt do anyone good.

i think you culd make constructive comments and then end the conversation.  change the subject, or just ask outright to talk about positive things only.

you could also try to point out that bitching doesnt do anyone any good.  you could try pointing it out like this.  "I want to help you, am I helping you by listening to you?"  that might sound snide, and obviously you'll need to say it suavely, but it shouldnt be hard if you really believe that everyone should improve, i.e. you genuinely mean it

best of luck

  • cinamon
  • Super Waygook

    • 263

    • May 18, 2010, 12:15:53 pm
Re: well..thanks for making things really awkward...
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2011, 02:29:39 pm »
Well if she's talking about the other teachers to you, chances are she's talking about you to them as well.

Anyways, just don't take sides and don't participate.  Just remain positive and talk positively about the other teachers.    Gossipers tend to gravititate towards other gossipers.  If she has a problem with the teaching styles of other teachers, she should be talking to them and not you.

Re: well..thanks for making things really awkward...
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2011, 02:53:27 pm »
Well if she's talking about the other teachers to you, chances are she's talking about you to them as well.

Yep, my ajumma coteacher talks about everything to everyone. It's so painfully annoying, and I managed to put a stop to hearing about it. This is how:

One of my new coteachers is young, and she is really stressed out because of the work dumped on her. My ajumma tells me "Oh, X was crying today because of Y" and "This jobs is too hard for X" ... I said to her, "Maybe it would be easier for X if you didn't tell everyone about her troubles" .... she understood.

Also, we passed a random homeroom teacher in the hallway and we said hi to her. Then my ajumma turns to me and shes like "She is very old. She is strict too. Many students don't like her. What is your opinion?" to which I said "Um... honestly... I don't care." She laughed, and let it go.

And then she took me to a homeroom teachers staffroom and showed me off like I was a prize that she won because she teaches with me. When random people tried to talk to me, she would correct their English and laugh (what a B!) ... and then this random man asked me if I knew some famous Canadian volleyball player, and I said, "sorry I don't follow volleyball" and she jumps in and shes like "Yes, she doesn't know about Canadian sports because she wasn't actually born in Canada she ...bla bla bla" and I interrupted her right there and said "excuse me! Please don't talk about my personal information to other people!" (I never told her I wasn't born in Canada, she read that off my application and never even asked me about it).

So yeah. Just be rude about it and make your woman feel really small for being a gossiper. Because that's what she is. A pathetic, small person. You could always chalk it up to cultural differences. "I'm not comfortable hearing about this because in my country, we don't talk about our coworkers and it makes me feel terrible."

  • hapigokelli
  • Waygookin

    • 10

    • December 09, 2010, 09:48:54 am
    • Dongdaemun, Seoul, Korea
Re: well..thanks for making things really awkward...
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2011, 03:01:47 pm »
I had a teacher like that. She used to point out all of the teachers that she thought were ugly or stupid at lunch and tell me how she didn't like them. Quoting her, "I don't like ugly people." My response? "Thank God i'm attractive!" I said it as a joke, but it also serves as a bit of a message. I tried to tell her that I would feel awful if she were saying those terrible things about me.

Unfortunately, later on in the year, she turned her venom on me. Watch out OP. If they are talking about everyone else with you, they are talking about you with everyone else.

Of course you can always just nod silently and smile.

Re: well..thanks for making things really awkward...
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2011, 03:15:06 pm »
I agree with others,  if shes talking about your colleagues it's only a matter of time before she starts to talk about you.  I can understand how uncomfortable you are feeling but you have to quietly and carefully distance yourself from this person.

Office gossips the world over are an insidious bunch,  everyone tries to stay away from them and they're really quite pathetic people.  If you have to, just be polite but honest the next time it occurs, tell her that when she talks about others it makes you feel uncomfortable and (as you said) you prefer to make your own judgements on people.  Good luck

  • surmonk
  • Explorer

    • 9

    • January 04, 2010, 08:10:31 pm
    • Korea
Re: well..thanks for making things really awkward...
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2011, 03:34:55 pm »
I really agree with southernman. The key is to set a clear boundary without being aggressive or rude."I appreciate you wanting me to be informed, but I do feel uncomfortable with how you describe people. Please let me make my own judgements."

  • giselle
  • Veteran

    • 76

    • December 07, 2010, 10:02:25 am
    • Yangsan
Re: well..thanks for making things really awkward...
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2011, 12:48:58 pm »
I would say ... definitely don't be rude.  That might work back home, where the subtleties of communication are mutually understood, I think here, it could seriously backfire on you (us).  If you make her feel awkward or lose any face, I think she could turn on you & make your school life more stressful.  Opportunities for misunderstanding abound!  Who knows what she might drop about you to the VP or someone.  Something you can't defend yourself about, like her 'opinion' of your teaching style, or how the students 'don't feel comfortable around you'.  I have a coT who I really enjoy sharing classes with, we have great chemistry & she helps me out, always trying to lessen my workload.  She makes my work life a breeze & I truly appreciate it.  BUT, she likes to talk about the other teachers to me, and sort of expects me to be her little gossip buddy.  Of course, I have no opinions about these people either way, and they're all perfectly nice to me on the surface.  We're both married, so she wants to hear my complaints about my lazy, uncaring husband too, except I don't have one.  Of course I don't like sharing my personal business at work; could get a little icky someday.  I just try to seem a little uncomfortable when she says those things to me, and express a bit of sympathy for her feelings, & let it go.  Seems to work ok, without her having to feel, well, like she is.   

  • Cereal
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1239

    • March 16, 2011, 12:51:55 pm
    • Earth
Re: well..thanks for making things really awkward...
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2011, 01:50:47 pm »
That would be awkward indeed. I don't have to go through that but my CT has asked many times while we are in class which girl I think is the most beautiful. I tried to explain that I'm not comfortable with that but she pushes and all the students push me to decide as well.

So, I decide and pick a girl while noting that "Today, I think so and so is most beautful!" It changes everytime I am asked. Seems to keep everyone happy but it still feels weird.  :-\
"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge."

  • thebryn
  • Adventurer

    • 26

    • May 15, 2011, 07:25:37 pm
    • Masan, Busan, Korea
Re: well..thanks for making things really awkward...
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2011, 02:10:52 pm »
I think your best option is to stear as far clear of gossip as is possible. It seems to never be productive and when ever I've found it in the past it's often been best just to politely make your excuses and move away. After this has happend a few times hopefully your unhelpful co-teacher will realise that when the conversation turns to gossip, your just not interested.

I hope this helps keep your in everyones good books!
The secret to happiness: Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it