'Cause that's what friends do
January 21, 2011 9:02 AM Subscribe
How do you deal with not being taken seriously at work? Why don't my teaching colleagues take me seriously?
posted by Es ist Zeit, dass es Zeit wird! to Human Relations (45 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a late-20s single, straight, male German teacher in a huge high school with six faculty members in my department and 150+ teachers in the building.
I am the only male in the department and there is only one other teacher who is single: a female in her mid-20s. We are on very good terms and I sometimes have the impression that she would like to be more than friends, but I am not at all interested in inflicting that kind of drama upon my colleagues. She is always included in the women's outings and usually sends me an SMS saying something like "why aren't you out with us?" as if she were surprised I wasn't invited out. She is not usually around the rest of us before school/at lunch because her schedule is slightly different.
The other teachers are all 26-35 and married with two income-earners (none have children). Incidentally all teach Spanish or French. I should add here that I speak French, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish as well. No one else besides me in the department speaks anything other than Spanish or French.
Whenever we are discussing/debating anything, teaching-related or otherwise, in any situation/context my opinions are often immediately dismissed by one or many of my colleagues. They roll their eyes, discount my experience teaching German and French, or explain that because I worked in IT before teaching that I am not being realistic about people's basic understanding How Things Work. I'm not one of those obsessives who constantly talks about his iPhone or MacBook Pro (or Google Android/Chrome for that matter). I am laid-back and always in a good mood. I'm never late or unprepared for anything and I stay in shape and dress well. In short I am not regarded as "one of the guys" as they view the other male teachers on the faculty--I am an anomaly for some reason.
I can't think of anything that would make these women not take me seriously, aside from the fact that I am living "the single life" and that I rent downtown instead of own in the suburbs. They all teach five classes and have two free periods and lunch--I teach six classes and just have a lunch. I never bring this up and never ask them about their free time at work. I am not a complainer and as far as my personality goes (ENTJ) I'm an asker, not a guesser.
Here are a few of the latest barbs:
"Of course you drive a manual," "no one eats that" (referring to hardboiled eggs, grapefruit, turkey sandwiches, and pretty much anything else I might have for lunch), "well not everyone has all the time in the world like you for (insert anything I do that is different from them)," "there's nothing you'd like there," (when explaining why they forgot to invite me to a departmental outing), etc.
Are there any personal behaviors I might be missing that would cause these women to treat me like this? What have you done to get along better with your colleagues? Is this more than a simple in-group/out-group situation? I want to be friends with these people because I see them everyday and probably will for quite a while.