Annie’s mailbox: Bullying exists among adults, too

Dealing with bullies challenging for adults

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Q. My daughter has a master’s degree in education and spent three years as a nanny when she was an undergraduate. She recently began her first teaching job with second-grade children.


The principal is terrific. However, there is an older teacher who has been at this school for years, and she is making my daughter’s life miserable. This teacher runs the show.


My daughter quit going to the teachers’ lounge, because it was a place for gossiping about other teachers and parents and speaking negatively about the children. She was pulled into the principal’s office and informed that the other teachers found her “cold” and unsociable because she wasn’t going to the lounge. She tried again, but her colleagues shunned her. She sometimes would walk into the lounge and catch them talking about her.


For all other teachers’ birthdays, they would bring desserts and food, but nothing was done for hers. She brought in snacks on her birthday to share, and not a single teacher ate any of them. She has tried asking other teachers for advice and has inquired about their families, but they act disinterested and make snide comments.


My daughter is intelligent and has excellent social skills. She can see the oldest teacher is the ringleader of a group of bullies. What kind of example is this for teachers to set for the children? They should be mentoring a new teacher, not ostracizing her. Any advice on how to deal with this situation? – Can’t Believe Adults Act This Way


A. Adult bullies are often insecure, particularly if they crave power and control and think you are a threat. While you can be a source of emotional support, this is your daughter’s battle. She can document instances of bullying and present it to the principal, but that may not be effective. She can avoid the bullies altogether or try to cozy up to the main bully, flattering her and telling her how important she is. She can attempt to make friends with one other teacher and have an ally. And, if necessary, she can apply for a job with another school where they take such behavior more seriously.


Q. It disappoints me when I see ticketed events offer a discount for being part of a couple. Why is it $50 per couple but $30 for a single ticket? Why are single people asked to pay more? Shouldn’t everyone pay the same amount?


Offering a discount to be part of a couple is sending the wrong message, especially to young people. I see this all the time for proms. Why aren’t advisers attuned to this subtle, hurtful discrimination against the student who doesn’t have a date? And please don’t suggest that two friends go together and get the discount. Why should they have to pair up to fit an antiquated pricing model? – One Price for All


A. This isn’t intended to punish single people. It’s intended to sell more tickets. If buying two tickets costs less per ticket, people are more likely to purchase two, even if it means asking your grandmother’s next-door neighbor’s uncle. And while we agree that school events should not favor couples, friends also buy these discounted tickets and go in a group. We are all in favor of that.


Dear Annie: You told “Begging for Mummy and Daddy” to avoid the “culture that contributes to your drug use,” meaning he should stay away from his pusher and friends who encourage it. That hint is too subtle for a drug user.


You should have told him that leaving drugs in the bathroom could get Mummy’s house confiscated. You should have told him to go to the library and use one of their computers to turn in his pusher anonymously. That is the only way for him to avoid drugs. – A Very Disillusioned Old Man


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