Looks like I lost my only remaining friend
Hello everyone, and I hope you all are having a wonderful workweek and a lovely afternoon. It has gotten a lot colder in my area after having had such warm, sunny weather last week. I am writing because I know a lot of you have given me advice and feedback before, which I appreciate, I really do. I really do feel like I have no place else to turn to really vent or let my feelings out. I thought I had that with a former teacher friend I used to work with, but it seems that recently she hasn't been around either. I'm not sure how to feel about that.
It started when we were having a conversation by text early one morning before work. It was a continuation of a conversation we'd had by both phone and then by text the night before. We were discussing how both of us despise Mr. Trout, the mean science teacher who sabotaged me at the previous school I worked. Mr. Trout was a bit of a bully. My friend RA worked with him too and he seemed to treat her better than he treated most of us there, and especially better than he ever treated me. He was a very chatty, talkative guy and always trying to rope colleagues into long conversations with him after school in the hallways, the parking lot, etc any chance he could. While most of our colleagues would try to avoid conversation with him because we were unhappy with him for talking behind our backs and his other usual backstabbing tactics, RA was friendlier to him than most because she hadn't encountered any bad from him (yet) to her knowledge. Unfortunately, even RA was not immune to Mr. Trout's backstabbing trash talk. About midway through the school year, she was out of work for a few days due to being sick. One of those days was a staff PD day, just staff no students, which left extra time for chat among colleagues. Mr. Trout started questioning why RA wasn't there, then brought up all this stuff out of nowhere, about how he thought she might be a lesbian because she always talked about having a female roommate at her house, and how he had Googled her maiden name and found lots of absurd stuff posted about her online, presumably from a bad-pick former boyfriend or guy friend. He claimed there were pictures of her online, pictures that are rather embarrassing and not stuff a teacher would want to have out there, that the same nutty guy had posted without her permission. He told us this more from a place of entertainment and amusement than from a place of concern. It almost seemed like he was trying to throw her under a bus on the one PD day that she wasn't there in presence. He kept trying to get us to look her up online or look at the pictures on his phone that some crazy ex-boyfriend had posted of her. Nobody cared to look because all we cared about was that RA was a dedicated teacher and easy to get along with at work. Finally, one of the teachers Mr. Griffin told Mr. Trout off. I didn't mention any of this to her until almost three years later, and even then I mentioned it very vaguely and simply because I felt really awkward and uncomfortable with divulging something so awkward and potentially mortifying. Let's just say she was very unhappy and angry. She didn't say much, but she did tell me that this news had ruined her day and that she was no longer going to be nice to Mr. Trout from now on. I think she even tried to write a bad teacher review about him on a teacher review website where some people had written unpleasant reviews about me (to this day she swears that the one coherently written review was Mr. Trout pretending to be a student, especially since the review about me tooted Mr. Trout's horn and used wording Mr. Trout is the type to use).
Anyway, the topic of Mr. Trout came up in conversation last night and all the backstabbing, unfair things he had done to everyone. We talked about how he always played Principal's Pet and would then gossip about people to the principal after school, but then would weirdly badmouth the principal to us and talk about how our school needed a different principal. We talked about how even after they had a falling-out, somehow he still went back to being Principal's Pet eventually. We talked about RA's speculation and fear that maybe the real reason she got force transferred from our school was because Mr. Trout had told the principal about all that unflattering, mortifying stuff that crazy guy or ex-boyfriend had posted of her a few years earlier. She mentioned that nowadays it would be illegal to post pics like that without someone's permission, and she wondered if the same applied to passing around pics like that at a workplace? I guess she thought about it overnight and woke up with a vengeance to go after Mr. Trout. She texted me early the next morning, telling me that given the content of what that nutty guy had posted about her and the way Mr. Trout was so fixated on it, that what he had done by trying to pass those pics around at work could constitute a form of sexual harassment behind her back. (not to mention the huge age difference between them too) I responded that yes, what he did to her was sexual harassment.
She then texted, "Yes and I'm making a report to the union on it." then "You all have been warned." and then "So they might call you or Griffin or [Principal] in to testify. [for a disciplinary hearing on an employee's misconduct] Eh probably not. Knowing the district's crappy union, they'll probably just discard my report like used trash since I don't work for the district anymore."
I was stunned, frozen. She was throwing all of this on me, when I already have so much on my plate I'm dealing with, not to mention trying desperately and frantically to improve my job situation and build better rapport with my new workplace, expecting me to just accept it? The only thing I seem to be doing right at my new job is keeping my attendance in good standing, perfect standing in fact. I can't lose the one thing I'm actually doing right at my job. Plus, if I testify, I'll look like a snitch.
Word will get around that I'm a snitch and that I try to get other teachers in trouble, and that could further jeopardize my job too. My heart started racing. This happened almost 4 years ago, and she's known about it for almost a year, and she's suddenly springing on her desire to have a trial on him now, involving me?? When I have so much other stuff to worry about right now?!
I texted back: "What?? Now I'm going to have to take a personal day off to testify?!? Now everyone at [my school's name] is going to know my business!" and then "What did you do?"
RA: "I never f--king called the union yet"
RA: "Chill out. All u care about is chance of using a personal day?? You're as bad as the mom who didn't call 9-1-1 for her kid because she was too low on phone minutes."
(The 911 thing is in reference to some kooky article she found online recently from several years back, about some idiot mom whose kid died because the mom was too afraid to use up her limited cell phone minutes to call 911, with the mom now facing criminal neglect charges. She had shared the article with me while coining the mom Idiot of the Day)
RA: "If u had to testify, it'd be a 1% chance of ever happening. And it would definitely be coded as an approved business leave, where you don't even need to use one of your stored personal days. The same way I had it when I got subpoenaed by the union to testify about the test cheating scandal I witnessed at that one school I used to work at. Basically it'd be a free day off, doesn't count against u or your personal day count. And just like how 911 doesn't use up any cell phone minutes. But your reaction shows your true colors."
Me: "Don't compare me to someone that doesn't want to use their cell phone minutes."
Me: "I postponed jury duty til the summer so I wouldn't have to go thru the hassle of taking a day off, getting emergency lesson plans together, etc."
RA: "You're using your summer off for jury duty? You sacrifice everything for this thankless job. Well, it's your choice how you want to waste your time."
Me: "So if I'm forced to testify against him, my administration here would find out why I had to testify and then they'll think that I'm too much trouble"
RA: "NO! They aren't even allowed to discuss matters like that with outside people. That's like discussing patient medical records or a jury talking about what's going on in an ongoing trial. Sheesh. I'm not going to back down from reporting Trout just because you want to be a pushover to your biggest workplace bully."
RA: "Well I'm sick right now and going through a huge ordeal with my dr office which is making me stressed and feeling sicker. I can't deal with this BS from you anymore."
Me: "What does that mean?"
Me: "And I'm sorry you are feeling sick."
RA: "Now I see why no guy in your life sticks around. Your priorities are all whack. And to think I thought you'd care to help a friend while at the same time getting justice for your bully."
Me: "That hurt, what you just said."
Me: "Likewise I thought you'd understand my situation and what I'm going through right now."
RA: "All those guys who just disappeared, maybe they had the right idea"
Me: "What does this mean, you're going to disappear too? After I've already been through so much this year? Great, I guess I'd have to add you to my long list of losses."
RA: "It is what it is."
She never texted anything after that. I didn't respond because I admit I was already feeling aggravated, plus I had to get ready for work, for the job that I must still report to even if I do not like it, because right now attendance and punctuality is the only saving grace I have left. Everything else in my job and elsewhere is falling apart. I need to get something done right! When my workday ended, I looked at my phone but she still hadn't texted back. Sometimes she'll leave long, like paragraph-long or more, messages for me to read during the day about things she found or afterthoughts she had about our conversation topics. This time she didn't. This happened almost two weeks ago by now and still I haven't heard back from her. I'll admit I didn't reach out to her at first because I was angry and also genuinely scared how something like this could affect my job if she did call the union on Mr. Trout and the union decided to take her seriously and escalate it to a disciplinary hearing on him. I also feel like she just doesn't get it, doesn't understand or know nearly the stress I have to deal with at this job, now that she's out of teaching and working a conventional office admin 9-5. I needed some distance and some time to cool off. I did try reaching out to her about a week ago but never heard back, unusual for her. It seems she's still on social media daily, updating posts, so nothing bad happened to her.
I guess she decided we aren't friends anymore. It sucks because she was literally the only close friend I had. This year has been nothing but losses for me, no gains, no positives. I am really hoping 2023 is a lot better. I am so tired of feeling so alone with everything.
23 comments posted: Thursday, November 10th, 2022
Do I need to go to the funeral?
Hello and I hope all of you are having a wonderful day and really getting a chance to soak up the warmer weather. I hope each of you are doing well with your relationships and hoping things get better for those of you who haven't had things going well.
I have been very busy with the whole process of site selection, in which I have to re-interview for a teaching position at another school or schools in the district, plus students have been misbehaving worse than ever, which has created extra work for me and of itself. I haven't had much time to do much of anything except work! I definitely haven't had time to have much of any social life, that's for sure. I feel like it's nearly impossible to stay on top of all of the work that keeps coming in, and now this whole job interview process too. I don't know how other people do it!
On the other hand, a recent sad event occurred in one side of my brother's family. My brother's father-in-law, who was elderly and sick for a while following a stroke, passed away. I found out about it from a group email that my brother's daughter sent out. I have already responded to her to express my sorrows and condolences. I am in the process of having flowers sent to through a flower delivery service. My question is, should I be attending the funeral too?
Truthfully, I feel extremely awkward about attending. I did not know my brother's wife's father, aside from seeing him attend a few extended family events such as my brother's wedding. Recently my brother got really angry at me because he felt that I did not buy enough retirement products from his financial advisor friend a few weekends ago. To be polite I bought an annuity, but according to my brother, it wasn't nearly enough. He said I was cheap and had wasted his friends time, and that someone without kids like me should have extra money to invest. Nevermind the fact that my brother was the one who pushed me to have this friend come over to give his finance sales presentation in the first place. Since that time, he has continued to avoid contact with me except this past weekend, when he called to tell me yet again that I am so selfish. He also rehashed a few petty things from the past. To be honest, I feel really anxious facing him at any event soon, and I also worry that I will be unwelcome.
To add to it, I feel very very behind with work. That nearly day long visit from his Finance friend really did screw me over in terms of getting me be home with my work. I am still playing catch up, and the work keeps compounding and building up, especially now that I have to revise my resume and attend all of these After School interviews for another position in the district. I am wondering if maybe I should just skip the funeral. Would it be wrong if I did? Or would it be proper etiquette to attend, since I am the sister of the deceased son-in-law? What is the normal protocol and etiquette for who should attend funerals?
Thank you in advance for any input you can provide. I have not talked to my brother yet. To be honest, I feel nervous reaching out to him after everything that has happened between us in recent weeks. I've texted his wife as I mentioned before, to express my condolences, but not yet my brother. Should I reach out? Or should I wait for him to contact me first? If I contact him, should I make a phone call or just send an e-card again expressing my condolences? Thank you again to all of you for all of your kind help.
21 comments posted: Thursday, May 19th, 2022
I found out I'm losing my job :(
I'm devastated right now. Then again, I probably shouldn't feel devastated since I saw it coming for a while now. But my biggest worry all school year about my job has come true: they're eliminating my position, and I'm forced to find another school to work at next year.
I wrote previously about the mean male teacher colleague who has been belittling me and disrespecting me for years now. He really amped up the rudeness to me this year. He also spends nearly everyday in the principal's office after school, schmoozing and playing Teacher's Pet while probably gossiping about others. I've worried that he is trying to lose me my job here. I heard rumors that the reason he wants me gone is so he can get my classroom. My classroom is bigger than his, has a large walk-in closet for lab supplies, and an attached semi-outdoor greenhouse. He keeps insulting me for not using the greenhouse (as if it's so easy to control such large out of control classes of students with activities like that!! easier said than done). He has somewhat bragged about all the things he'd do and do differently if he had the greenhouse. I have always worried he's been out to get me.
Another person who seems out to get me has been one of my students. She was very rude and rowdy, probably my absolute worst behaved student. When the principal came impromptu to do that observation earlier this year, this girl kept acting up while literally shouting from her seat in the back of the room that she didn't get it, that I can't teach, that my class sucks, and other very negative things. Then when the principal was walking out of my room, the same girl yelled, "Nice knowing ya, Miss [my name]. I know you won't be coming back next year!" I've never felt more humiliated at this job by a student. She purposely made me look bad in front of my boss at a time that I was already having a terrific day beyond my control. Yes, the principal cited her comments and misbehavior for reasons she issued me low ratings on my evaluation. I was so angry at that girl and still angry about it.
That girl ruined my career. As a result, I vowed to never give her anything better than an unsatisfactory behavior rating on her report cards. In our district, we issue two numbers on report cards for each student: a percentage grade, and a number from 1-3 for behavior. 1 is the best, 2 is ok/satisfactory, 3 is bad/unsatisfactory. The behavior rating has no effect on GPA or retention but obviously 3s don't look good. I have given her only 3s on each report card and will never give her any better than a 3 because of what she did. Her behavior has actually improved slightly since then, but screw it, I'm still giving her a 3 this report card.
A few months ago I was using the copy machine after school in the roster office because the usual copy machine was down. I happened to notice a paper left in the copy machine from hours earlier, which indicated that they were looking to cut a few more positions at our school for next year. It indicated that next year they're looking for a biology teacher that's dual certified in biology and Chem, instead of just biology. Since then I worried I would get cut.
In my large urban district, getting cut doesn't necessarily mean fired or laid off (although mass layoffs have definitely happened before). But it does mean having to shop around for teacher vacancies at other schools in the district, and interview at each of those schools as if you're restarting a jobsearch process with a whole new employer. They call this the forced transfer process. I've witnessed people going through it before and it's never fun. It's a lot of extra work and stress. For example, the one former colleague friend I wrote about went through it three or so years ago. She complained a lot about it afterwards. She was a really good teacher here and the principal seemed to like her too, and even my mean male colleague was nicer to her than he is to most. But she ended up force transferred with 3 others when they cut positions here due to lower-than-expected student enrollment. She ended up screwed over, transferred from a school she loved 15mins from home, to a nightmare work situation at a much harder school an hour away. She got a really raw deal. I worry now I will end up like that too. Also, I haven't written a resume or attended an interview in years, decades in fact! Usually it's the newer teachers who get force transferred. I've been here over 20 years. It's mortifying.
I worried for months now that they would look to get rid of me, force transfer me. All year my mean male colleague has taunted me about it, claiming no one likes me and to expect to be force transferred. Today I received confirmation from the principal that yes, I'm being force transferred. She said it really was nothing personal but due to the need to have the biology teacher also teach chemistry. I'm certified in biology and math but not Chem. In fact, I haven't done any Chem since college, and that was over 30 years ago by now.
I am devastated because the job I've been at for most of my career will be no more. All the hard effort, all nighters, and holiday breaks spent working nonstop from home on this job's paperwork has been unappreciated I feel. Even worse, when I told my former colleague friend about it today (the one who got force transferred from this school 3 years ago to a school she hated), she had an I told you so tone while telling me "you should have taken my advice to apply for sabbatical." I don't know if that would have worked either. She claims I would have been untouchable from my position and placement for the duration of time until a year after returning from sabbatical. She claims it's a way I could have avoided the news of a force transfer if I anticipated a possible force transfer. She claims that that's why she extended her maternity leave last year, to avoid possibility of becoming force transferred if she returned to work before the end of the school year. I don't know if that would have worked for me or not. The whole idea of a sabbatical just seemed lazy anyway. I was always raised to work, and work hard, or else I'm doing wrong.
I feel humiliated because I'm worried that word about my impending forced transfer will spread like wildfire and then kids will respect me even less. I've seen and heard of that happening to other teachers who were getting force transferred. Kids stop listening to them or even doing their assignments because they know the teacher will be gone soon. Kids have done this even when it's obvious the teacher is still going to be here for the rest of the school year and isn't leaving until next fall, when these kids will no longer have that teacher's course anymore anyway. It's all about respect and rapport. I dread work tomorrow for fear they'll taunt me about leaving. I fear that same girl will say "I told you so" like my mean colleague and even my former colleague friend.
How can I get through the next month and a half, knowing I won't be back? I'm so hurt by this. On top of all the other stress and work tasks I've had to deal with, now I have to polish up a resume and attend interviews at other schools during my limited after school hours too. Why does it seem like when it rains, it pours? When will it ever get easier?
11 comments posted: Thursday, May 5th, 2022
My brother is angry and no longer speaking to me because he feels I didn't buy enough from his financial planner friend
Hello everyone, I hope you are having a terrific weekend and hopefully have some time to spend with family and loved ones. I need feedback on a situation that has come up for me. It is not related to dating relationships but one with my brother. My brother is two years younger than me. We're not super close but we usually try to communicate with each other fairly regularly. He's the only kinship I have left, as our parents are deceased and I haven't been in much contact with other family/relatives. He used to live only a few minutes away from me, where I live in our childhood home that used to belong to our parents, but about ten years ago moved an hour away to the semi-rural/suburbs because his wife wanted to move there.
Last week he told me about his friend who recently became licensed as a financial planner. He strongly urged me to listen to his friend's presentation on different life insurance and annuity products. He obliged me to host his friend at my house last weekend so his friend could give me his presentation and sales pitch. I had so much work and looming deadlines (for example, interim reports at a time that I'm falling more and more behind with grading, from having more than the maximum capacity of students in each class but one). But he insisted and told me he'd already set up something with his friend to give me the presentation last Sunday afternoon, so I obliged and even cooked lunch for my brother and this friend. His friend was there so long, almost 6 hours! In the last few hours I kept secretly internally panicking about how I was going to have time to get my grades done and other work tasks. I ended up staying up past 1am just to get the most immediate work tasks completed for the next day. Although I already have a state employee pension plan waiting for me at retirement in about 5 years, along with an IRA, I purchased an annuity from this friend mostly to be nice and show gratitude for his time. I thought I'd done my part and that everyone was happy.
Then on Monday evening, my brother phoned me and immediately started reaming me out, telling me how rude and selfish of a person I was. I was stunned. He then said I was in the wrong to buy only a small annuity after all the time his friend had spent at my house, telling me about so many other financial products. He also said I should have bought more stuff because I have less expenses than him due to having no kids and much lower house expenses. I am confused because I thought financial planners give their presentation with no obligation for people to buy anything? Also, didn't I already buy an annuity? He then told me how irresponsible I was for myself. He said I should be spending way more on my retirement because I need more in retirement since I have nobody to take care of me someday due to having no kids, no husband, and no living parents left. I feel very hurt by all the things he said. It still pains me, almost a week later, thinking about the things he said.
Am I the jerk here? Or is he? Should I have bought more products from his friend, considering his friend did spend 6 hours of his weekend talking with me? Then again, I admit a small side of me also kind of resents the fact that I was stuck tying up so much of my weekend work time listening to a presentation when I was already tight on time for getting work tasks completed for my high school teaching job. Who is in the wrong here? My brother still hasn't started talking to me again. Usually he checks in with a phone call at least once a week but this weekend he hasn't. I'm worried that I've lost the one last person from my family who is still alive and talking to me. How can I eventually mend things with him, or should I wait it out? My friend who used to be a colleague told me "f him" and that my brother is not a good person. She has thought bad about him ever since I told her about my brother's affair (it was both PA and EA) he had some years ago. Then again she's never met him or been in my shoes. I still know him and love him as he's my brother. Is she being unduly harsh or is she right, that I shouldn't talk to him?
25 comments posted: Monday, May 2nd, 2022