Right now, I am feeling a little frustrated by some of the circumstances at school that involve cooperating with other teachers. Working with other teachers is the nature of my job. Being a team player is absolutely essential. I pride myself in being someone that is positive to work with and I try my best to show other educators that I am very invested in the students and am willing to work hard to provide them with what they need. This week, I got assigned to a new class. Since it is not content that I am well versed in, I emailed the teacher requesting information on what topic they were currently working on and whether or not there was a text being used.
I didn't get a response.
I emailed another second teacher who might have been able to help provide me with this information asking the same questions.
I didn't get a response.
I did get my hands on a copy of the textbook that is being used, but not until 30 minutes before the class and I didn't know what topic to look at, so basically I went to the classroom completely unprepared.
I am not comfortable being unprepared.
My job is to help students, but I cannot do that to the best of my ability if I am not well versed in the material. When I am responsible for the instruction, I never begin a lesson without being fully prepared. I feel like I am at the mercy of other teachers and can only do my job well if I have their cooperation in telling me what to expect when I enter the classroom for that particular period so I can get ready. I felt awful when a very nice student looked to me for help today and I was fumbling around in the book trying to find answers because I had no way of getting ready and previewing the material.
I felt like I was thrown into the fire and I was so frustrated during this period. I felt like a failure myself and worse than that, I feel like I failed the student who looked to me for support and help with his work. I simply cannot understand why a teacher would completely disregard the email I sent. I understand that teachers are busy, but I didn't send a last minute email. I gave an entire week's notice that I would be joining the class and was hoping for some guidance regarding the lesson content for today.
Collaborating professionally is a very important. In my master's program, we had two courses specifically about collaborating with colleagues. Throughout these courses, I recognized the importance of collaboration, but due to the strong team I was working on, I never felt like it was difficult to work with other teachers. Now, I see why so much time was dedicated to providing us with strategies to cooperate meaningfully with colleagues. Perhaps the cultural differences contribute to misunderstandings and different expectations, but I am starting to feel affected by the lack of relationships with some colleagues. I want to have positive working relationships with other teachers and I have established great working relationships with most of the teachers that I connect with during my day, but the ones that aren't so great are getting me down. I don't feel like it is bad enough to merit actually sitting down with these people to confront the situation, but at the same time, I am left wondering if I did something wrong. I know I am way too sensitive and I can make something small into something bigger in my mind, but I like to do things well and be successful.
I have never had this problem before because in the past all of my cooperative working relationships have been very successful. I guess I come from the "can't we all just get along" mentality, but I just want to feel like I am at least being acknowledged when I ask questions or seek help from others.
If you felt like you were up against a colleague who, for whatever reason, was not really responding to attempts to work together, what would you do??