Dealing with Difficult Coworkers or Supervisors

Regardless of what industry you are in or where you work, you are going to have difficult coworkers and/or supervisors. The best advice I can give to new teachers is to not "take the bait." As a new person in the building, your coworkers are going to try to feel you out and see who you are. Some of your coworkers may try to ask personal questions, even if they do not know you well. If you do not wish to talk about your personal life, do not answer their questions and say you don't feel comfortable talking about that. Whether it be relationships, family, or something as simple as how your weekend was, if you do not feel like talking about it, don't. Some people have pure intentions and want to get to know you, but others don't. Be careful how much you tell people about your personal life. Your political and religious beliefs are not anyone else's business. Too often, I see coworkers bring up these topics with each other. As someone that is new in the building, scope out the staff and get a feel for the people around you. Obviously, if you feel that you can trust a coworker, by all means be open about your life. However, make sure you feel comfortable with what you are saying potentially getting back to you. For example, one time I told a coworker I was going to Canada for a week during winter break. When I got back from the trip, more than five people who I barely knew asked me about the trip. It was quite odd, and I wasn't a fan of everyone knowing my business.

Mixing Colleagues and Social Media

This leads me to my next topic: social media. Only add coworkers on social media that you feel comfortable seeing everything about your life on social media. If someone requests you on social media and you do not want them to see your page, leave their "request" unanswered. If they bring it up, say you do not check social media often. You have every right to keep your private life private.

Avoiding Draining or Hostile Emails

Receiving emails from coworkers or supervisors is a normal part of the job. Sometimes you may receive an off-putting email. If no direct question is asked, simply respond with "Thank you for your email." It is hard to do this in the heat of the moment, but it is not worth getting into an "email war" with anyone and taking their bait. If you get into an "email war" with a coworker you won't win in the long run, even if you win that particular disagreement. Going back and forth through email is draining and distracts you throughout the day. The best move you can make is to not engage with coworkers over email, especially if they are hostile toward you.

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