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Sticky Situation with Coteacher WWYD?

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Post Sun, Nov 19 2023, 5:45 pm
Please note this is not a Jewish school and none of my colleagues are Jewish so L"H doesn't apply. Be sensitive in your replies anyway, though.

Sorry so long...
My supervisors placed a SPED teacher and some inclusion students in my room last year for the first time in 20 years. Besides for the lack of privacy during my breaks and lunch, everything was fine and we got into a teaching rhythm that works great for both of us and for the kids. I generally keep my door closed and don't get involved in the usual teacher gossip so I stay on everyone's good side. I don't have an opinion about my colleagues and tend not to see the negative because I don't interact with them all that much, and never outside of school. This teacher has a very negative attitude and reads into things people say like crazy. After a conversation with another teacher, for example, I feel like we heard two different things. I used to nod along and agree as long as it didn't affect me. Once in a while I'd say something like, "Are you she meant that? It didn't sound like it." She doubles down so I usually just move on.
Recently I made a comment about a colleague that I felt was justified, since it affected my class negatively. Because she happens to like that teacher, she became combative and hurtful. From her desk 20 feet away from mine she sent me a scathing email. I apologized and said I would be more cognizant next time. I shouldn't have made that comment. Fine. But the constant nitpicking of other people and the negativity is eating away at me. Now that I'm on the receiving end of her negativity I feel so awkward and inadequate.
The most surprising thing for me was this week during a light-hearted discussion during our break she mentioned that she hates her job. I didn't react, just said something like, "Really. I would never have known that. What would you want to do instead?"
I'm at the point where I feel stifled being in the same room all day. I love my job, I love interacting with the kids, I love helping the other teachers and contributing to the school, I love watching my students succeed, I get positive feedback from my supervisors, but I cannot continue this way. My anxiety is through the roof and I've started hanging out in my car during my breaks. I can't take the negative vibes anymore. DH says I shouldn't take it personally. My teacher mentor says she's known to be a sensitive person and it's not about me. I never knew that since I don't discuss other colleagues so I didn't know that other people feel that way about her. I can't ask my supervisor to move her out for next year. She'll be terribly hurt and they may not do it anyway. She'll for sure find out since nothing is a secret here and it will make things worse. She also constantly tests me by asking how I feel about teaching with her. I always reassured her that I enjoy working with her and until now it was true. Now I resent her being in my room.

I need strategies to keep my head up and not let it bring me down. She's here to stay. She'll get insulted if I address any of this with her so any change has to be on my part.

Any advice is appreciated.
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Post Sun, Nov 19 2023, 7:42 pm
Very hard situation. I always say a coteacher (or assistant in my case) could make or break a year.

Try figuring out one or two mantras that work for you and repeat them again and again. I am no expert at this but for example you might choose a mantra such as “even if my coteacher is upset at ___ I could choose to be positive and serene.” Mantras that help you be in control of how you feel so you don’t get so affected by her attitude .
But definitely see if you could get out of working with her next year
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Post Sun, Nov 19 2023, 7:48 pm
You’ve been working with her for over a year?

Sorry but this is not sustainable. You are spending hours each week together and there’s a limit to how long you can put up a front. This kind of long term relationship will only work if you genuinely like each other.

You need to be able to request a change next year. It’s unreasonable if they don’t allow it and frankly for me it would be a deal breaker.

With your level of expertise and the teacher shortage I am confident that if they really are rigid about not making changes, you will find a different position that you love.
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Post Sun, Nov 19 2023, 7:59 pm
Daven!! Whenever a situation seems impossible I remind myself that Hashem is in charge and I daven to Hashem to change the situation. I was also in an impossible situation with a coworker and saw no way out. I begged Hashem to do something and all of a sudden, within two weeks, the company decided to transfer this coworker to a different building!
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Post Sun, Nov 19 2023, 8:14 pm
I'm sorry OP, there's really nothing you can do in such a situation. Some people are just not healthy people and they don't make good coworkers. You will end up being miserable if you try to just keep your head down and make it work. If there's really no way you can ask to be in different rooms, Daven, Hashem has ways of fixing these situations that we could never have dreamed up. I recently had this with a supervisor who was extremely abusive, I was ready to leave because I couldn't handle it anymore, and then literally 3 days after I started quietly job hunting, she announced she was moving due to her husband's work.
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Post Sun, Nov 19 2023, 9:23 pm
A few things:
I've davened and cried so much lately I feel like it's not helping me, just making me feel lower.
If I tell my supervisor that I'm leaving I'll have to put my money where my mouth is and start job hunting. I've been in this district for years. The families know and love me, I work really well with the kids, and it will be really really hard to start over in a new district at this point. I'm scared to take the plunge. I'll also have to start at the bottom of the pay scale elsewhere and right now I'm at the top.

I feel so stuck. I've never not wanted to go to work but I'm dreading going back to school tomorrow.
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Post Sun, Nov 19 2023, 9:37 pm
Please speak to your supervisor.

I had a somewhat similar situation with a coworker (not as bad) where a coworker was badmouthing other staff members and asking my opinion. It made things very sticky for me. Especially when she'd go and say, "well dena613 agrees with me!!" (Aah keep me out of it.)

I mentioned it to my supervisor, and I think she gave her a little speech Abt professionalism and not discussing other employees to other employees.
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