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Terrific Teaching Tips, Issue #037-- March 2013 Ezine
March 01, 2013
I know it's impossible to like everyone on your staff and fighting/feuding does exist in every school. Whether the fighting is between teachers or departments (high school), it should be stopped dead in its tracks and not allowed to persist.
It is far too destructive to everyone for it to be accepted, understood or tolerated. If it really gets out of hand, perhaps the particular staff members should be asked to leave at the end of the year.
If you are looking at a feud as an outsider, most seem petty. One teacher may feel that another staff member is favoured. The two of them avoid each other and may even get their friend to side with them.
Feuders always feel justified and it's the other person's fault. They often want to be left alone. However, there are two problems with this.
This can't happen because we often exchange ideas/suggestions and information in order to function effectively as teachers.
We, as a whole must all work co-operatively. If this doesn't happen then the effort of individual teachers and the school is jeopardized.
Also fighting can become contagious. It affects loyalties and focuses on pettiness and not on serious work. Always, keep in mind, our primary focus are the students and striving to have a good school, not fighting/feuding with colleagues.
If one staff member does feel comfortable and confident to confront the feuders, he/she must have the rest of the staff's support.
A message must be stated in a professional and caring manner so that the feuders understand how their fight is affecting everyone. They must accept each other and lay aside their issues.
In a gentler serious way, they must be told that their selfish and narrow behaviour is affecting their work and everyone else's as well. And if this problem is not resolved, either one or both of them should be advised to leave the school.
In some cases, the fighting may persist, so as an ousider, what can you do? If we are involved with one of the feuders, we must end our involvement or we become part of the problem. If we take sides, the fighting will not stop becaise feuders gain power and influence from their supporters.
I know that this may become very difficult for you as one or both staff members are friends of yours. You MUST let them know how their fighting is affecting you, the students and the school.
If they are making a choice, so must you, letting them know you are "not taking sides" and ending your "professional friendship". Their situation is creating a climate of insecurity, division and low achievement, is not appreciated and is totally unacceptable.
Of course, we all get upset and even angry with colleagues at times and you feel like avoiding them, but you can't. We must give our kids a quality education and if there is fighting, it's damaging to everyone whether we admit it or not.
It is not too much to ask that we respect the function of a teacher enough to resolve never to be an obstacle to the work and effort of your school. If we don't then there's no reason for us to remain as teachers.
"Weakness on both sides is, as we know, the motto of all quarrels". - Voltaire
Report cards and interview are done and now you are looking forward to your March/spring break. Enjoy yourself! To me, the last term always went by the fastest. See if you agree with me. Have fun and relax!
Future newsletters will be about procrastinators and meetings - the importance of them and how to run them effectively.
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