Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Communication Problems


 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello. This is my first proper post.. so sorry if I've put it in the wrong place or anything. And sorry if it's too long :(

 

I've been working in my setting for just over a year now. When I first came to work there, the setting was owned by a close family friend, and managed by the friends friend who I knew fairly well. But after about 4 months the owner decided to sell and the manager left too. The new owner is working in the setting now, and is a good friend of one member of staff.

 

During the first couple of months after I came to the setting I had huge problems working with one member of staff, she wouldn't talk to me and she'd avoid eye-contact so I was unable to initiate conversation with her. On the rare occasions she spoke to me, it was only to make comments on what I had done wrong or on my appearance. I left it a few weeks to see what she was like with other members of staff, but it became apparent she was only treating me this way. I went to the manager and she sorted it all out for me, and although she still did not talk to me, she wasn't making the rude comments anymore.

 

But when the new owner/manager came to work, they seemed to have "teamed up" and the rude comments are back, but only coming from the staff member. The member of staff I am having problems with works 3 days a week, and I work 5. On the 2 days the member of staff isn't in the setting, the manger is really nice to me and takes a lot of time during the day to talk to me about my studies and any help I might need. She's always telling me that she's there if I ever need to talk about anything or if I need help. But if I approach her on a day the other member of staff is in on she's the total opposite and will blank me for as long as she can, or until someone points out that I'm trying to talk to her.

 

First of all I thought I was over reacting and making everything worse than it is, but several other members of staff have made passing comments like "I don't know why you put up with that". We're not a very big setting, and I really don't want the parents picking up on it, especially as some children have made comments such as "Why is *** so mad at you today?" I felt totally out of my depth to answer this, and luckily another member of staff came to my rescue (Telling them she was grumpy today because she'd lost her favourite dress! :o )

 

So I'm not sure what to do - I've spoken to the manager about her, and she said it's unprofessional to have conversations about other members of staff without them present, but I don't feel comfortable just yet to have that kind of conversation with her present. I've spoken to a couple of other members of staff and they think it's because I'm doing official training and because I'm a lot younger than her (at least 20 years younger)

 

Does anybody have any advice on what I should do? It was never my intention to stay long at this setting, as I only really came to do my NVQ but I feel like that's not the point, if she's going to treat me like this then who's to say the next person who comes to work here won't get the same treatment.

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, I'm getting fed up of working in this environment xD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds as though you are having a really rough time of it. Short of confronting the woman outright, it's hard to see how you can get round this. You appear to have a good relationship with other members of the team, so I would suggest that if you can you just try and shrug it off - and have a good time with the others. Try and joke it off with the children, 'I don't know - perhaps I have the wrong perfume on today' and then just take them off to do a jigsaw or something. If she can see that you aren't affected by her jealousy (If you think that's what it is) and have a good relationship with everyone else, then hopefully she'll just have to shrug it off too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's hard being a young one isn't it! :oxD

Oh yes MrsW! :(

 

 

Thanks Cait - my only concern is that, particularly the older children are starting to comment a lot on it and are getting hard to distract and will often not take my "jokey" answers to their questions. But I can just keep trying I guess. :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This sounds like a very familiar situation Boots... :o

 

You raise very serious issues here - no-one deserves to be ignored or insulted and this could easily be viewed as bullying in the workplace. However to tackle this issue you probably need advanced assertiveness skills and it can be very difficult to resolve these problems when you are an older person who has experience of being in the workplace, dealing with lots of different people and handling conflict. So when you are younger than most of your colleagues the power balance can be perceived as being very one-way - and although I don't know how old you are, it can be very difficult to 'stand up' to people who are older and supposedly wiser than you are.

 

So you need help to get this sorted. Do you have a deputy supervisor/manager who you could talk to in confidence? You don't necessarily have to mention the staff member by name - you could just ask for advice about how to handle it when.... and give details of the sorts of things you have been experiencing.

 

If you're feeling a bit braver, you could be open about your feelings when she ignores you or makes a comment about you. You might need to practice this a lot - perhaps with MrsWeasley on Thursday xD - but you could start by making a joke when she ignores you. Perhaps you could say "hello? hello? earth calling xxxxxxxx". Or if she says something really unkind or personal you could just say "oh I am so hurt. How could you say that?". She may take it as a joke, but the more often you do it the braver you will become and the less likely she is to do it to you again - especially since other people won't fail to have noticed.

 

A lot depends on your personality and the kinds of relationships you have with other staff members. Overall the advice I would give is keep the communication channels open - this does sound as if it is a problem she has with you and ultimately she will need to get over whatever it is that she's bothered about. However I do understand how soul destroying it can be to be permanently perky and upbeat and to keep talking to a person who just does not want to talk to you.

 

I'd also keep a diary about what is happening and when. Be very factual about what she says or does (and how you respond), and make a note about who else is around at the time. This will help you keep objective about what is going on - and if you show it to someone you trust they can tell you whether you are right to feel aggrieved or whether you are taking things a bit too personally.

 

At the end of the day you may need to make a formal complaint about this person if the situation continues - and if this is the case you will have the evidence of your diary, and hopefully other staff members will support you. It may be that if the manager is a close friend of this person then another senior member of staff (or advisor from the Local Authority/PLA etc) can act as mediator to get the issues resolved to everyone's satisfaction. If you're contemplating this then I would make sure you have a copy of the complaints/grievance procedure before hand so you know what to expect!

 

I hope it won't come to that but sometimes the really difficult things just need to be done.

 

Good luck - let us know how things go.

 

Maz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

QUOTE (MrsWeasley @ Jan 27 2009, 18:56) *

It's hard being a young one isn't it!

 

Sorry - It won't let me quote properly!

 

A fair few years ago I had a similar situation but with a senior member of staff -I was young(er), popular and successful in climbing up the ladder quite quickly at the time. Thankfully I was able to go to the head to raise the issue informally who had noticed it not just with me but also with other (youngish) members of staff and was taking steps to address the issue before I then moved onto a promotional post in another school. It's a shame that some people are unable to deal with their issues in a mature and professional manner. I'm sorry I can't advise in your current situation - other than if you are in a union or professional association, contact them for advice - but I also wanted to let you that others have been in the same situation and to say am thinking of you and hope that you are able to resolve it soon. xx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry - just seen Happy Maz's reply - keeping a log of events is a very good idea - if you make a complaint having a log of events/incidences etc can be important in this - then you have evidence of it all.

 

Also keep a little note book which, at the end of the day, you write down three positive things/comments you have received or achieved at the end of the day - when things are going not so well it is heart lifting (? think this is the right phrase?) to read about what other have said about you and what you have achieved. Even when things are going well, it can be good to do for those days when things aren't going so well. I still remember the things that I wrote in my first entry and have collected cards, notes etc from parents to help me re-focus when the day hasn't gone so well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you're feeling a bit braver, you could be open about your feelings when she ignores you or makes a comment about you. You might need to practice this a lot - perhaps with MrsWeasley on Thursday :o - but you could start by making a joke when she ignores you. Perhaps you could say "hello? hello? earth calling xxxxxxxx". Or if she says something really unkind or personal you could just say "oh I am so hurt. How could you say that?". She may take it as a joke, but the more often you do it the braver you will become and the less likely she is to do it to you again - especially since other people won't fail to have noticed.

I wouldn't feel confident enough to do this, this whole thing has really shattered my confidence, and is even beginning to make me really paranoid to others reactions. I think Mrs Weasley will have to be my guinea pig! xD

 

I just feel totally out of my depth - although it might sound immature, I can't help feeling that SHE'S the adult and should know better and just be professional about it. There is a member of staff I have had problems with, but we spoke and now we're professional and don't let it get in the way of our job.

 

 

 

I called my manager earlier in tears after I posted this originally, and she has agreed to see me tomorrow after work. So I'll let you know what happens. Not sure what I'm going to say to her, my mother suggested writing her a letter instead and then I'll know it's all there - but this seems too formal to me? What do you think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't feel confident enough to do this, this whole thing has really shattered my confidence, and is even beginning to make me really paranoid to others reactions. I think Mrs Weasley will have to be my guinea pig! :o

 

I know exactly how you feel!

And I'll be your guinea pig if you'll be mine!

 

Mrs Weasley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Just to say I will be thinking of you tomorrow and hope that you can finally start to sort this out.

 

Be as open as you can with your manager but if you feel uncomfortable or not happy with the conversation ask if you can meet at another time and invite an independent person along to act as a mediator maybe someone from your union or the local PLA.

 

Will be thinking of you

 

Nicky Sussex :oxD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Cait write down all your worries and complaints so that you can refer to it if you need to. Be honest with your manager and speak from your heart. Age does not make anyone wiser or better and unless they learn from their mistakes and develop their own social skills they are going to be poor role models for the children in their care!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:o

 

I will let you know how that goes. !

 

 

Wishing you luck for tomorrow, Boots. I don't suppose you will get much sleep tonight - but it seems that things have come to a head; and that needed to happen one way or another. I feel the older lady is probably (unconsciously) showing her own insecurities about a younger person who is engaged in current training, coming into the workplace. Perhaps she has been reflecting on herself. You are young, dynamic and keeping ahead of your field - she is older, perhaps set in her ways, resistant to change and she probably feels inadequate. Instead of seeing you as an asset to the team (which you are!), she feels threatened - and this shows in her defensive behviour towards you.

She has also worked hard to get allies on her side - another indicator that she is not comfortable with herself.

 

You probably feel like wringing her neck - but a way forward might be for you to ask her for some help/advice with one of your NVQ modules or to go directly to her if you experience a problem. It might help to develop your professional relationship. If she perceives you to regard her as some kind of mentor, showing respect for her knowledge and experience -you might slowly break down the barriers.

 

Best wishes,

 

Fingertips

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You probably feel like wringing her neck - but a way forward might be for you to ask her for some help/advice with one of your NVQ modules or to go directly to her if you experience a problem. It might help to develop your professional relationship. If she perceives you to regard her as some kind of mentor, showing respect for her knowledge and experience -you might slowly break down the barriers.

This is a really good idea - although you might need to take hali's advice (smile and nod) in order to do this. It can be hard continuing to be pleasant and chirpy to someone who is making you unhappy. Its definitely worth a try though - and who knows she may turn out to the fount of all wisdom on some topic or other that you need help with. :o

 

Hope it went well today.

 

Maz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi whats happening to you it tantamount to bullying!!!! Go on line and find your local preschool learning alliance person or LEA advisor Expalin whats happening and they will give you with reputable advice on how to handel this. They most probably will gget involved and fight your corner.

I realy feel for you and you should never be put in this position. Stafff have a hard enough job without the added starin of a biggot!!!!

 

Big hugs

 

Kat -x-

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just wanted to agree with fingertips and maz's excellent advice, what's that old saying 'slowly, slowly, catchy monkey!', you might not totally win her round but she may back off a bit. I find it strange that this has been allowed to escalate, especially as your manager, other staff and even the children have noticed the other womans behaviour/attitude towards you. Hope it all went well today.

Karrie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a horrible situation to be in, Boots, and what a terrible role model she's providing for the children!

 

Hope your chat with your manager helps, have any of the other staff been on the receiving end of her comments?

 

Snide comments and asides are always the hardest to deal with and tend to stick in your mind, to be replayed in the wee, small hours!

 

Have you asked any of the other staff for advice? Would one of them speak to the manager with you? It may help you to have some support there.

 

Hope it gets resolved soon.

 

Nona x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)