In general I love my job. I posted about it awhile back. I love teaching, I love my subject, I love sharing and exploring and creating, I even love middle school kids, quirky as they are. But this silver lining is marred, slightly hazy. I do not love my Colleague.
From the very moment I stepped foot into this role of teaching my Colleague has been there. We actually started teaching middle school the same year though she had 10 years of teaching experience at the elementary level already under her belt. In the beginning it seemed like all would be wonderful. Colleague and I got along well. I was looking to her for guidance, help, leadership. She was all to happy to help.
One fateful day I decided to branch out. Go my own way. Suddenly the differences between us went from a crack to expanding into a gulf. Our teaching philosophies polarized, student focused versus teacher focused. Our personalities polarized as well, easy going versus neurotic.
Over the years Colleague and I have certainly had our differences. We’ve battled out philosophical differences only to come to the conclusion that you can’t change another person’s intrinsic values, you can only change how you approach the person.
And yet after all these years of personal growth, self evaluation, reflection and in some cases self doubt I have yet to find away to become immune. It’s a rarity but I still find myself occasionally blind sided. Enraged. Frustrated. Emotional. I know better. I know that it is futile to argue, to engage, to even attempt to win Colleague over. But I still fall for it. I don’t even need someone else to tell me Jen, don’t let her get to you. I KNOW that. I’m all the more frustrated because I still give her the power to get to me.
I recover quicker than I used too. I dust myself off and go about my business of making my classroom the best it can be. But a small part of me is sad. Jealous. I want to be part of a functional team. I have yet to find a way to make that happen with Colleague and I’m not sure there is a way. But I keep looking.