Saturday, September 27, 2008

Students badmouthing teachers

When you have a great rapport with students they reach a stage where they wish to talk about other teachers. Your response can do a lot to enhance or damage the atmosphere in the school.

Whatever you do, whatever you think, support your fellow teachers. Resist reasoning or justifying your/their position as the student has probably thought about it more than you and could leave believing that they were right and now you agree with them too.

Stopping this sort of conversation dead is usually quite easy. Take the moral high ground. One way is to say, if they didn't care they wouldn't be doing (insert supposed misdemeanor here) they would just let you fail. I usually have a talk about diversity and how students react differently to some teachers than others. Another good strategy is to talk about how in the workforce you rarely get to work with people that you like and have to develop coping strategies. Another is to stick your hands over your ears and say loudly "La La La" until they stop.

A celebration of diversity in teaching staff is important. Having the happy go luck teachers - with a laissez faire mentality, the disciplinarians, the collaborators, the facilitators, the technically focussed, the passionate, the administrator are all important to maintaining a rich and diverse culture within a school. There is always a teacher that students don't like, protecting that staff member can also be a self preservation measure, it just might be you the students target next!

The worst scenario possible usually happens when popular students are underperforming and are being encouraged by caring teachers to raise their standards. The mob that can occur needs to be diffused, detected in early stages and squashed by team leaders. Teachers and more often parents indirectly cause and encourage these issues as typically we judge and discuss actions based on reports by students and when we have only a limited view of the whole picture.

Raising resilience of students such that they can work with a range of people, especially ones they don't like or relate to, is an important skill developed in school. Only by supporting all of our teachers 'publically' and working on issues with team-leaders, peers and managers 'privately', can we adequately support teachers with perceived image issues.

So get to it!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi, thanks for leaving a comment.. it's good to hear what people think!