Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav – January 31, 2014

Q: As a teacher, I was annoyed when I was notified of my new, inconvenient schedule. It meant that I was to teach eight hours weekly, spread over four days a week. Am I permitted to share this information with a colleague in order to vent my hurt feelings because of the injustice, or would it be considered lashon hara about the assistant principal in charge of setting up the schedule?

I must add that I did, of course, approach my superior and explain to her how difficult the schedule was for me. But when I requested that she modify it, she brushed me off, saying, “Sorry, but we can’t make any changes.”

A: You may speak to your principal and try to explain the problem you have with the schedule because of the inconvenient hours. There is, however, no dispensation for discussing it with a friend. If there is a real need to express your feelings, and you have a heter to do so (though we’ve already explained that the heter is not unconditional), then you’ve (probably) already discussed it with your husband, etc.

Scheduling in a school is a complex matter. Among other factors, the administration considers a teacher’s experience, her success, their satisfaction with her

work, and more. Think about these concerns, and remember that though it’s likely the assistant principal was inconsiderate or lazy, there is a possibility that she was dealing with constraints for the above-mentioned reasons or others, and you should therefore make efforts to grant her the benefit of the doubt.

Parenthetically, it is possible that the desire to share this information with colleagues stems from the subconscious feeling that these conversations will make you look better in their eyes if you clarify that you were unjustifiably wronged, and that your inconvenient hours aren’t proof that your work shouldn’t be valued. Still, it isn’t grounds enough to allow for a heter.