As Early Educators we are charged with some very important work. We all know that most brain development happens between age 0 and 5 years old. We know we can lay solid groundwork for future learning and life skills. We have an understanding that children are born without social skills and these skills must be taught.
It is no lie that working with other women can be challenging. In fact, this topic came up many times in my college courses. Avoid the teacher's lounge. Avoid getting caught up in gossip. Avoid the Debbie Downers. ETC. Which is all fine and dandy when you work in a large school or center. When you work with only 10 other women in a small center, this isn't entirely possible. The more I reflect and think about my most recent past work experience (and others), the more I see how I and others were victims of bullying or relational aggression in the workplace.
Since leaving my former place of employment, each night I have had a bad dream about a situation I had found myself in there. Sometimes the situation was dramatized a bit more, but overall I wake up feeling anxious, until I realize I'm out of that situation completely. I think back to how I was treated, and how I saw others being treated, and it makes sense now. (I'm hoping this realization will help me to move past all of this.) And yes, I can recall instances when I myself took part in the bullying so please do not think I think I'm perfect.
I'm struggling with the why part now -- when you work with young children, most of the time you have some inkling of compassion, nurture, and understanding. Why when working with the children this comes to the forefront, but when working with another woman it's placed on the back burner? Unlike young children, we as women have a pretty good understanding of what its like to walk in another woman's shoes.
So with any problem I come across in the classroom, I set out to research, and didn't find a whole lot. Here is what I did find....
Dr. Michelle Callahan's 10 Tips for Dealing with Bullies at Work
Woman-On-Woman Bullying from WorkplaceBullying.Org
And this Amazon List of books on this topic: List About Adult Women and Relational Aggression
Childcare Exchange also offers this: Dealing with Difficult People
This book seems to have gotten the best reviews on Amazon- In the Company of Women, so I'm adding it to my reading list. My goal is to first and foremost-- never find myself in a situation where I am using bullying/relational aggression towards coworkers (male or females) and second never find myself in a position again where I am the victim.
So now I'm calling on you-- have you experienced relational aggression in the workplace? How did you handle it? How did you move past it?
If you would prefer to share your experience with just me and not the public, please email me... firstname.lastname@example.org.