We have one of the greatest professions in the world! Where else do you get to work with children all day and truly impact our country’s (and the world’s) future?
However, do we often set ourselves up for failure? I’ve noticed that the “cliques” among teachers can be extremely fierce and tough to get into to (if one even wants to get into them). Along these same lines I’ve heard about more backstabbing and trash talking in teachers’ lounges than I could have possibly imagined.
Why do teachers get all “click-y” at school? You know what I’m talking about. Two teachers are all buddy-buddy and will be out talking in the hallway. When another teacher walks by they immediately get quiet and make that teacher feel incredibly awkward. Why is this? Aren’t we all in it for the students? Shouldn’t we share and collaborate our ideas across the board? Even ideas that we think could never work at a different grade level sometimes do!
Just this year I did a macaroni noodle quotation mark activity. When I put them up in the hall, the 2nd grade teacher asked if she could do something similar with apostrophes. I could have told her, “No, I want that activity to be new, fun, and exciting when they get to 6th grade!” But instead I simply told her to go for it! Her students had a great time, learned a lot, and felt just like the “big kids”.
I’ve always known the teachers’ lounge can be a scary place, but the amount of bashing going on in lounges across the country seems to be growing. (No, I don’t know about every teachers’ lounge, but I have heard many of the same complaints from fellow teacher-bloggers.) I’ve learned that if I’m going to eat in the lounge, I should just get in, eat, and get out. Sometimes people ask me why I don’t stay and “chat”, but I just reply that I have a lot of grading/planning/e-mailing/anything-to-not-sit-there to do. It has been working for me so far. However, I think I need to just get better about bringing a lunch I don’t need to warm up in the microwave…
If we are all in it for the kiddos – shouldn’t we act like it? Let’s start collaborating and getting along for the benefit of the students. I’ve had several times in my years of teaching where students have actually asked me if two teachers are fighting. Students should never see this! Even if you disagree about something – suck it up for the moment and teach on. Do not let the kids see you arguing with another staff member. Oftentimes one adult overpowers the other and the students realize one teacher has less power, and some students will even go as far as thinking that teacher doesn’t have authority over them. This is not what we need to be doing!
I realize there is a bit of workplace drama regardless of what profession you’re in. But is it worse when there’s a lot of women involved? (No offense to the men in education, but it is largely a woman dominated profession – particularly at the elementary level.)
What are your tips and strategies to eliminate or at least cut back on the negativity at work? I’d love to keep the dialogue going and learn new tips in the comments below!