I love my job. And when I say “my job,” I don’t just mean teaching fourth graders, although I love that too. I mean I love the school and the people I work with. I can think of only one person who I don’t have much respect for, but it’s not like I actively dislike her. Everyone else is friendly, open, talented at what they do, and have always made me feel valued. This attitude even extends to our staff parties. The retirees and those who have moved on have always been invited back to the staff Christmas party every year. I got to know people who taught before I was working there, and I’ve made enough of a connection with them that I look forward to seeing them and find out how they’ve been, and what fun things they’ve been doing now that they’re leading a life of leisure.
Until this year.
One of the teachers, let’s call her Nellie, has volunteered to host the holiday party this year at her home. So she announced today, “We need to make a decision. Last year we talked about the fact that we don’t get to have a staff party, and there’s so many people that it’s less intimate. When does our staff get to be just our staff? So we were thinking we would LIMIT the party to being CURRENT STAFF ONLY.”
So then she goes on to say that she doesn’t want to hurt people’s feelings, but she feels like having 75 (gross exaggeration, btw) people in her home is too much. And she says, “Not that I as a host should get to decide this. Although, since I’m the host, maybe I SHOULD get to decide it. I don’t know these people.”
She DOES know these people!
“So I just want some support here.”
So some people give her that support. “Of course if you can’t accommodate that many people, you should be able to set a limit…”
“Oh I have the room.” She says.
So basically, she’s bullying everyone into saying that it’s okay to leave out all these people who don’t get to see us on a daily basis anymore, who used to spend most of their waking hours each week with us.
Someone spoke up and mentioned that we can still invite them to retirement parties.
So I spoke up. I said I LIKE the idea of including them at retirement parties, (I’m learning to say something positive before I say what I’m really thinking) but that if we’re going to just suddenly not invite people like that, we should reach out in some other way during the holiday season. We should send them cards or SOMETHING.
A few heads nodded.
Nellie made a sour puss.
Where is this stemming from??? “Why are we excluding people?” A teacher next to me muttered, under her breath, clearly talking to herself. “What?” I asked, hoping she’d say it louder, but she didn’t.
I think I figured it out. She (and a few others) STRONGLY dislike the former principal, who showed up at the party last year. Someone invited her, but not everyone was happy about that, and some people said they felt uncomfortable that she was there.
Grow. The Hell. Up.
Here we are, as educators, teaching the children not to exclude others, and they can’t even be in the same room as their former boss? I am one of the few people that really LIKE this woman, so maybe I’m biased, but they’re going to let her very presence “ruin their night?” She doesn’t breathe fire, she’s just got a slight case of foot-in-mouthitis. I can relate to that. And here’s a thought; if you don’t like her, go mingle with someone else!
So Nellie continued: “It didn’t seem fair because some people would be invited while others weren’t. So there has always been the risk of hurt feelings. And we could put a guideline, like, if they retired, verses left to do other things, or if they left a year ago verses longer than that, but we’d be here all day discussing where to draw the line. And I know it’s hard because we’re close to [person who retired last year] and [person who left for personal reasons that touched us all] and [person who left last year to start a family]. But you know, if this one or that one HAPPENED TO BE DRIVING BY, I would expect that we would allow them to come in.”
So basically, as the host, she’s going to tip off the 3 people she wants to attend, and everyone else gets coal in their stocking. Happy Holidays.
Not happy. Should she be forced to have people in her home who she doesn’t like? No. Should she volunteer to host if she doesn’t want to open her home to all of us? NO.