I Teach with My Wife, and We're Getting Divorced
I Teach with My Wife, and We're Getting Divorced

This week, WeAreTeachers takes on getting divorced when you teach at the same school, pandemic prom, and more.

My wife and I teach at the same school, and we’re getting divorced, and it’s so much drama.

My wife and I have been married for about five years now, and we’ve just hit that point where it’s not getting better, and it’s not going to. We’re ready to go our separate ways, and she’s filed for divorce. It’s hard enough being drained by the process and feeling behind at work because I just can’t focus on it. On top of that, my wife and I teach at the same high school. I’m in the math department, and she teaches Spanish. It’s a small school, and we share students, so everyone knows about it. There’s no keeping it private. How do I get through this? —Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Dear B.U.I.H.T.D.,

I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. You’re in a really difficult position, and it’s getting in the way of your grieving process. I’d like to gently offer some advice that I hope will help clear the way for you to focus on healing.

When students ask questions, and they undoubtedly will, answer as simply and honestly as you can. And if the question crosses a line for you, say so. Try to keep things with your spouse as amicable as possible. Avoid badmouthing them, especially at school. You don’t want to get into a position where people in your school community are taking sides.

Remember that you can only control your own behavior. I hope you don’t have to deal with any nastiness, but I encourage you to take the high road. I don’t think you’ll ever regret it. Being the better person may take it out of you, so be kind to yourself. Surround yourself with people who love and support you, and let the little stuff go.

These spoiled high schoolers are pissed about pandemic prom.

I am a class adviser for the Class of 2021 at my high school. We just managed to get permission for a pandemic-safe prom, but of course, it has a lot of restrictions. We announced it today, and while a lot of parents and students are excited, plenty of others are complaining. Among their grievances: they have to wear masks, it’s not fancy enough, there’s no sit-down dinner, and they can’t bring a date from another grade or school.  I am trying to be understanding. I know that they’ve had a sucky senior year, but I’m doing the best I can. I’m so over these kids and their entitlement. How should I deal with it? —Peeved Pandemic Prom Planner

Dear P.P.P.P.,

Maybe they need a reminder that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. Sheesh. I’m not unsympathetic to them, and I can tell you’re not either. It’s not the senior year anyone hoped for them, but it is what it is.

I would address any complaints by deflecting blame to your state regulations. After all, that’s what’s dictating your restrictions (these don’t seem like people who would be compelled by a plea for the common good). Anyone who doesn’t like it doesn’t have to attend. If they want to run their own mom prom superspreader event, that’s on them.

Try to focus on the positive things about prom this year. Yes, it has to be outside, but you can do lawn games! No dinner means less expensive tickets. But you don’t really need to convince anyone because not going to prom is always an option. And it’s not your job to make everyone happy.

I teach kinder, and my principal says my voice isn’t cheerful enough.

As an online kindergarten teacher, I have random observations all the time. My principal keeps telling me that my voice needs to be more cheerful. She has a very perky voice herself and giggles all the time when she talks. I don’t have a typical kindergarten teacher voice. My students’ parents actually tell me they like it because I come across calm. It really upsets me that admin keeps repeating the same feedback because it’s who I am. It’s my voice. She keeps saying my kids aren’t engaged, but they are. What should I do? —Not Your Average Kindergarten Teacher

Dear N.Y.A.K.T.,

As far as I’m concerned, a “typical kindergarten voice” shouldn’t even be a thing. We all bring our unique selves to our instruction, and kids respond differently to that, and that’s a good thing. So criticizing you for not having a cheerful enough voice is BS, in my humble opinion.

So what to do with the feedback? I think a solid response is “Thank you very much for your feedback,” and go on your merry way teaching as you always have. Acknowledge, move on, and perhaps start looking for a new position.

Frankly, that comment reeks of sexism à la “you should smile more,” and you may want to confront her about it.

My student is making ignorant comments about COVID-19, and it’s triggering me.

I’ve had a tough week because of a student in my SPED Zoom classroom. Anytime I share anything about COVID in preparation for our return to in-person learning, he openly trolls the chat with comments like “COVID can’t kill you” and “Everyone is going to get sick anyway” even with the vaccine. Normally, I’d be able to handle this, but I lost my aunt to COVID last winter, and being mocked in real time during online learning is a tough pill to swallow. How do I handle this kid? —Trolled and Triggered

Dear T.A.T.,

I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how it must feel to have people not take the pandemic seriously when it is so painfully real to you and so many others. For an immediate solution, you can always turn the chat function off, as well as the feature where students can unmute themselves.

But I’m hoping you can turn this into a teachable moment with this kid. Teacher Melissa B. suggests this language: “I’m putting you in the waiting room because your comments are neither kind nor true. Please feel free to have your parent follow up with campus administrators if you disagree with this consequence.”

Then follow up with a one-on-one in the breakout room. Good luck. You deserve better.

Do you have a burning question? Email us at askweareteachers@weareteachers.com.

My principal walked in on our team collaboration time and said, “Don’t let me interrupt your girl talk.”

I’m new to my building this year, and the principal just rubs me the wrong way. He’s been in the district for a long time and is one of those “good old boys.” Most recently, I was in a team meeting with all the fourth grade teachers, collaborating on reading interventions, when he walked in and said, “Don’t let me interrupt your girl talk!” I know he meant it to be funny, but I was really offended, and so were the other teachers. I just want to be treated like a professional. But how do I say that without getting on my principal’s bad side?



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