Staff Lounge Honesty:
Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7-12: I thought it was this week and asked my students to write their favorite teacher, coach, counselor, mentor, etc. a poem last week, thinking it was this week, but…yeah. Typical. A few students immediately had someone in mind, but some didn’t, and that concerns me.
Some wanted to write about me, but the standard rule that they need to think about someone else. It was strange how many didn’t have a connection or relationship with an another adult in the building to say “thanks.” Writing on demand is difficult, so maybe this extra week will give them the headspace to come up with someone. Maybe they just don’t know the other teachers in the building, for many reasons. We’re all kind of siloed this year, and with any luck and work that will change.
Here’s the thing: do we teachers do a good job of giving thanks to one another, especially if that colleague has been openly hostile? Do we show our colleagues the respect they deserve, even if personalities clash? Can we see beyond the petty disagreements, passive-aggressive communication, undermining behaviors for just one week to consider, “You know, I think you’re a jerk, but you are a good teacher and care about our students?”
My call to action is this: write your colleagues a letter, poem or haiku and tell them thanks — every last one. Find something good about their teaching style that helps kids. Aggressive colleagues are sometimes the best teachers. They don’t have time for small talk or niceties. I confess I have been thought of as that ‘aggressive colleague.’ It’s not my intention to scare a colleague or increase anxiety, in a colleague or myself. It is my intention to make a great environment for students, and I’ll focus on that.
Writing this post means I’ve outed myself, but heck, few people read this anyway. With deep sincerity: if you are reading this, you are an awesome teacher. Really. You have found your path to best serve students, and have the friendships you need. We all work too hard with heart, mind, and soul not to be respectful to one another.
And for the love of pencils, don’t buy them a chicken:
*Yes, keep these passive aggressive thoughts to yourself. Let the respect show only.