Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thoughts on Respect for Teachers

Over Thanksgiving, my parents commented to me, "When we were kids we wouldn’t talk to teachers the way kids do now." They were appalled at how kids act in school and how the parents respond when they are told their kids have done something wrong. Respect for teachers is low in many places. Anyone who is a teacher knows the environment that surrounds our lives today. The worst part is we are responsible for a lot of these problems.
Let me explain: I teach in two different schools this year and I have found it to be a very interesting. The culture of the two buildings is very different. One has a Principal that is not very well liked the other has a Principal that is liked and respected. But in both buildings, the way Teachers treat each other is appalling. The disrespect they show for co-workers is ridiculous. This may happen in the business world, I don’t know, but the way people complain about how others’ do their jobs or what they do during the day makes me cringe.  They complain that this person doesn’t have as many duties or that person doesn’t have a class during as many periods and they even undermine or sabotage each other.
With as difficult as our jobs are and the climate in the world in which we are teaching, I don’t get this mentality.  How Disrespectful is it (not to say unprofessional) to question what a fellow teacher is doing with their time?  These complainers will never go and ask the person they are complaining about, to task them about their reasons for doing things, or maybe why it seems they have extra preps or why the schedule looks unfair. No, they would rather talk about the other person behind their back, during lunch periods. This is why I have not eaten lunch in a faculty room for six years. I can’t stand the bitching. My question to these teachers that complain is, "Why does it matter what they are doing?" How does this affect you in your teaching? 
There was a student teacher in our building, earlier this year, my one piece of advice to him was, “If you want to be happy in your job, you can’t worry about what other people are teaching or doing during their day.” I told him, “When you start worrying about how much extra time someone else has or how many duties they have, you start forgetting what is important; the students and your teaching.” 
 To be true Professionals, we need to respect the person next door to us as Professionals. And that is part of the problem; we don't respect the person teaching next to us or across from us. And I know I am only the Anti-Librarian, but if we don't respect each other, why should the community we are teaching in?

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