Why Can’t We Be Friends? Teacher mentoring and keeping my boundaries

Continuing on with the teaching theme from yesterday, the aspect of friendship among colleagues at school is a precarious one.

I lovingly feel the drama at the adult-level reminiscent of such drama depicted on “Mean Girls,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Glee” or other  TV dramas. Only in real life, we aren’t as pretty.

Teaching at the middle school level is hilarious because the drama between the kids mirror at the teacher level as well. I laugh at how petty teenage (or preteen) drama can be. It doesn’t end. Drama as such continues on at the adult level! Friendship among co-workers, colleagues, can be strategic and just as alienating as teen drama.

As a teacher mentor this year, I saw the school, the teacher dynamics through the eyes of a couple of newbie teachers. Without realizing it, I was identified to belong to certain cliques, labeled or part of certain teams that have privileges or disliked for whatever reason.

It was sad. One particular newbie teacher abruptly quit last week. Sure she had baggage and issues beyond school dynamics or situations,  but she really just needed a friend. I tried to be a friend. . . but I couldn’t be that friend.

I’ve learned to keep a distance from certain personality types (to protect myself), but I’m also careful about boundaries. I couldn’t be the kind of friend she needed,  but I also didn’t want to be that kind of friend, especially with co-workers.

One of my other colleagues, who is also a teacher mentor told me she goes out drinking (at a bar, nightclub) with her newbie teacher mentee. It’s not my personality to be that kind of friend.

I suppose I do draw the line when it comes to my ‘professional’ self and my ‘home’ self. I’m the same person in both, but for some reason,  it really is about the personality. I have another co-worker, whom I get along great with on a personal level, and have ‘hung out’ at work and out of work. It depends on the activity as well (like I won’t go out drinking with colleagues). It’s just not my style.

Maybe I’m just feeling a little exhausted with the drama. My students can be emotionally draining (with the nurturing) and teaching, etc. that I don’t have time or energy to be that kind of support for adults. Maybe I’m just not cut out to be a ‘mentor’. Professionally I can show you the ropes, but emotionally can be a little taxing.

Defining friendship? I cannot compromise my boundaries. So I suppose this prompt is making me realize that I cannot and should not waver for the sake of healthy support and in the work environment.

Inspired by: Daily Prompt: Why Can’t We Be Friends? | The Daily Post.

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