It was the beginning of the year and we were welcoming the new influx of teachers into our school. What an eclectic bunch they were, from all over the world. There is always one bad egg, though, and my word it was a terrible one this year.
She was a larger-than-life smiling crocodile. Never in my years of teaching have I come across such a nasty piece of work: egocentric and a total bully.
Usually, when a new teacher comes into a school they sit back for a while and watch proceedings before making judgement or offering advice. Not this one. Instead, she arrived with her jaws flapping, and I don't think she drew breath until a few weeks later when the other teachers started to shy away from her.
Unfortunately, I couldn't do that as she was in my year group, so I had to put up with her incessant snide comments and nasty ways. Initially, I was coping really well listening to her constant tirades about what the school lacked and how certain people weren't suited to their jobs.
The look-at-me syndrome was the worst. You had only to step into her classroom to ask the time and one hour later she would still be escorting you around the room, showing off all her written ideas and suggestions that the children had purportedly done. The whole room was covered in words - her words. It must have been the most boring classroom in the world but because she could talk the hind leg off a donkey and use the right terminology she was able to fool her audience for a while.
The day that I finally cracked, she had not stopped nagging as she insisted on getting her own way again. I couldn't stand it any longer and stood up and walked out of the meeting with another teacher.
I love teaching my class but the constant negativity emanating from this colleague slowly ate away at me and I became sick. I had to take some time off to recover. Never again will I put myself in a situation where working with a bully affects my health. Life is too short.
The writer is a teacher on the South Island of New Zealand.