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Hi!
I'm 17 and I work at an elementary school as a paraprofessional in a special needs classroom just as a intro to my problem.


So I have a few people at the school talking behind my back. Not anyone who could fire me, in fact my supervisors have all said I am by far the best hire of this school year. I also recently had my evaluation and got perfect scores in every area except one and that one is due to time constraints since I'm in 'high school' still.

One teacher asked a coworker if I 'did anything' as in if I worked. My coworker was surprised this was asked because I always interact with students. I must admit in that classroom I am more reserved because the teachers are all older like 55+ and they all speak only in Spanish. I understand Spanish and speak but I don't speak it to them because of what they say about me in Spanish lol. I also do work as well, I just don't talk to them beyond what's necessary.

All those teachers except one act nice to my face but say things behind my back or in Spanish. One works in the office and I called in one day due to family reasons and failed to inform my supervisor, luckily he gave me a number to reach him so I called that as well because I felt like she might do something mean like that.

Now what I would like to do is tell these people to shut the f up and say things to my face, however they aren't worth that and I'm not super confrontational.


I just wanted some suggestions on how this could be handled professionally. I don't really like it when it's spread around because it could get to my supervisor and then I'll have to deal with unnecessary things. It's not just these teachers but the politics at this school overall seem very childish. People ask if I speak- beyond good morning...when I have to get to my classroom I don't have time to talk for 20 minutes. My friends at the school are all people I work with in the classroom(s).
I also wonder if this is a typical school environment- if anyone who works in a school could maybe shed some light on this.
 

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ENFP-A - 2w3 - JEEP
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Unfortunately, gossip is a large roll in a sensor-driven world. ESFJs who could be teachers thrive in it. They want cookie cutter shapes and preferences. Someone acting outside those norms might not be excepted.

There is also your age. Since they are older your being picked on as a pecking order. It happens in all societies. It shouldn't happen, but it is still there under the surface. This pecking might gather momentum if you're a savant at your work. Meaning they're jealous.

My grandfather was an amazing man. I try to keep his voice in my head when I'm ever faced with a situation where I'm the attention of negative gossip. You have a choice. You can be an egg when the water heats up and become hard, you can be a potato and become soft, or you can be coffee and initiate change. I modified his quote to be tea. I want to be tea; change and be unique.

I say kill them with kindness. Slowly they will understand you're not there to hurt them or take their jobs away. I fight back stabbing and ugly truths with extream kindness if the person is in my everyday life and can't avoid them. Why go through life being miserable? Not fake kindness either, I try not to let them affect me with their negativity and picture myself in a room full of people spreading my warmth until they see I'm not a threat. Like a carebear. You don't smack a scared dog on the nose to gain its affection or admiration. I learned this with my mother. It took me years to learn it. I think I was 33 which I finally saw the elephant in the room. She can be downright blunt and mean. This has only increased in the last years because she has Alzheimer's. A strict sensor driven mind. I started to understand this was who she was and she was never going to change. I could either let her words affect me in a negative manner or understand why she snapped. Now I've gone from being a miserable little girl to her to a pleasant woman to be around. I initiated a Pollyanna maneuver. I've become closer to her and could even think she could be a friend now. It has given me great inside into her. That trust and love was earned and not freely given. The glad game.
 

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Try asking for advice "Where do you think I could improve?"
Perhaps inviting a positive conversation about the issues they have with you is all you need to stop them from taking behind your back. They should also feel proud that you came to ask them.

I don't have any ideas on how to indirectly tell them to stop gossiping but perhaps simply changing your dynamic with them would be enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@NIHM

Thank you, that was actually very helpful! I think I definitely would like to be 'tea' I have probably come off as more of an 'egg,' their conversation really bores me so naturally I end up talking more with the children haha.

I also love the Pollyanna reference, that was literally a favorite of mine during childhood. I strive to be that kind, her and sailor moon I think are classic 'idols' lol.
@Falling Foxes

Thanks! Idk if I'll ask that though, I honestly think that might come off as passive aggressive...like I'm inadvertently making a jab at their comments that I have heard from people. Bit I can try, some older people do enjoy that kind of stuff.

Eh yea, the gossiping seems to be a whole school deal. I'm kinda thinking it's the sensory thing like NIHM said. Almost all of my coworkers, even the ones I like want to gossip the entire time. It's actually exhausting:-3
 
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