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Forced Socialisation

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by cactusstorm, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. cactusstorm

    cactusstorm New commenter

    I'm an introvert and quiet by nature. I love my year team and the extended staff but I also like my alone time. I smile and have chats with people, I go to the staff room every day and stay as long as is reasonable. That said, I feel like the school is 'forcing' me to socialise when I do not want to, or in ways that I am not comfortable with.

    I like to chat but I'm more of a listener, so I don't say an awful lot in conversations. I also have found that I don't have a lot in common with the other staff members, even when it comes to TV and books. I also prefer lunchtime sessions at Starbucks across the road to evenings out. Despite trying hard to go against my nature the deputy head still thinks I am not social enough and I no longer enjoy going to work over the anxiety this is causing.

    I feel like I am being punished for being quiet and reserved. Other members of staff don't have a problem with this, they happily respect it, but this one person is spoiling the school for me. What should I do? I don't see myself staying at the end of the year if this continues.
  2. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Is your introvert nature seeing you blowing this out of proportion maybe? What has the DH said to you? Has he/she been this implicit?
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Good grief!

    What are schools coming to? I spent over 30 years in schools, sometimes I socialised with my colleagues, sometimes I didn't and never, once, did I hear anyone telling anyone else 'you need to be more sociable'. I had colleagues who were the 'life & soul' of the party, and others who never, ever, did.

    Here's a hint - invent a pet (or an elderly relative) whose care means that you can';t go out at night - 'very sorry, but it's just not possible (but I can pop to the coffee stop at 4pm perhaps)'.

    And be assertive. School is your JOB, not your life (unless you want it to be!)
    thistledoo, strawbs, vinnie24 and 4 others like this.
  4. ThereAreBunniesInMyHead

    ThereAreBunniesInMyHead Occasional commenter

    Jeez. I'm relatively young (by many teacher's standards) at age 34. I go in the staff room to use the photocopier, the kettle, and check my pigeon hole. I never sit in there and chat. I am a confident friendly person, who in my own personal time, people often describe as the 'joker' type character or 'bubbly' but at school, I keep to myself. At breaks and lunches I spend most of my time in my classroom because for the subject I teach, many students come to my room to do coursework with the equipment and I need to supervise them. I like eating my lunch at my desk, looking at my phone or the internet, quietly and not needing to talk. I spend all day talking so I like this alone time. I have two kids under the age of 3 and I live an hour away from school so I don't go to evening drinks after work, I have never been to the christmas party, and don't intend on starting now! I don't 'friend' any of my work colleagues on social media as I don't need the hassle or worry. I think partly my insular nature at school comes from me spending two years here dealing with a nightmare colleague who made my life hell and so now I tend to avoid situations where I could be dealing with similar issues. But I like the way I operate and I wouldn't be having anyone here telling me I have to socialise more! If they have specifically said you need to socialise more with colleagues I would politely ask them to point out in your contract where it requires you to do this. If they are talking about being more friendly or approachable that might be something different but they can't make you socialise with people! Lordy...
  5. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    How so?
  6. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    I too am mildly introverted. The new and very green headteacher at my last school once spoke about the need to "modify the behaviour" of introverts both on the staff and in the student body. We didn't get on.

    Just in case there's anyone on the planet who hasn't seen it: https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts
  7. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Just carry on with things as they are. Not socialising with colleagues is not a crime and to be frank, I avoid the staff room like the plague because that's where the loud-mouthed, obnoxious members of the PE department hang out. I am also heartily fed up with teacher chat about classes, exams and 'special' students. I want bit of peace and quiet and I am perfectly content with my own company. Be quite up front with your deputy head and tell them straight that you like a quiet time to get your head sorted and prepare for the afternoon or next day.
  8. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Always first assume incompetence before assuming conspiracy. There is a chance this deputy thinks he's helping and doesn't realise he's doing the opposite. As Shedman says, be up front and tell the DH - gently and politely - that you need your time, but thank him for being concerned about you.
  9. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    Has the DH told you this? I agree with the point above about incompetence rather than anything else. You are as friendly and as sociable as you can be. In teaching we give a lot so certainly need down time at school and at home. It is a job and not social event.
    rachelpaula008, DYNAMO67 and Shedman like this.
  10. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    This is one of my major gripes in education at the moment. Being introverted or reserved is a a personality trait, it is NOT a character defect that needs to be corrected.

    The day is coming when I will hear the phrase "teenagers are social learners" one too many times and will stand up a scream in response "No they are NOT. They are not ALL freaking social learners."
    thistledoo, strawbs, vinnie24 and 4 others like this.
  11. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Oh i never did Xmas meals or anything like a staff social. I keep a clear line between my work identity and my private identity. Socialisation is for my private life. Work is work. I'm with the OP. I don't care if one is introverted or not. Leave work at the door of work.
  12. bonxie

    bonxie Lead commenter

    Us introverts need our quiet time when we don't have to interact with anyone. The nature of the job means we are interacting with students for the vast majority of the school day. If you get your job done and are polite/professional to staff/students, what's the deputy's problem? They need to realise they are working in a school not a social club! Being an extrovert who loves interacting every minute of every day is not any better or worse than being an introvert who is quite happy with their own company. One size does not fit all. Those that want to socialise should be able to, but those that would prefer not to should have their rights respected and be left in peace. Expecting people who don't want to socialise to give up their evenings to do so is unreasonable. It's not in the job description. It can't be part of any performance management. Don't feel bad about declining invitations to socialise. You've already got something planned for those particular evenings - watching a film, doing housework, reading a book or whatever you'd rather do. Your evenings are yours to do with as you choose.
    thistledoo, vinnie24, sally90 and 6 others like this.
  13. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    I was also told by my headteacher that I should socialise more and spend more time in the staffroom. It made me feel that I was completely inadequate as a person.
    No one should be forced to do this.
  14. rachelpaula008

    rachelpaula008 Star commenter

    I totally agree.

    I like having a chat and also like taking time out to just sit and think. It depends on my mood and circumstances.

    I used to get very bored with listening to the 'same old, same old' and realised I had nothing to offer. So I retreated to my classroom and thanked the Lord I no longer had individuals just talking at me, with no awareness it was supposed to be a conversation.
    thistledoo, sally90, Shedman and 2 others like this.
  15. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I'm also quite comfortable in my own company - I'm not going to our department "do" this Christmas mainly because although they are all perfectly pleasant people, collectively they bore me S*******S
    sally90 and Shedman like this.
  16. aypi

    aypi Senior commenter

    I only do weddings, and i dont like them either.
  17. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Actually, many teenagers are social learning avoidance experts.
    thistledoo likes this.
  18. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I do the drinks at half term (because they are bought for me and free) and the end of term meals (ditto). Anything else and not a hope.

    I'm not an introvert, just an antisocial grumpy old sod.

    Email the DH (copy in the head) and let them know you are upset by the comments and ask which teaching standard the poor performance relates to. Bet they stop bothering you then.
  19. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    I'll never forget being told, it's £25 for the Xmas meal. And I thought, chances are I'll be sat next to Mrs X the AHT and I'll be paying £25 to do so. I thought, no chance and simply didn't go. Eventually after a few years I just got a grinch reputation and people stopped asking me. I didn't care. It didn't affect my career and kept a sharp line between me and work.
  20. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    They pay for your end of term meals, @caterpillartobutterfly?

    Wow! Are they nice meals?

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