The Unsupportive Co-Teacher: What is the Root?
Teamwork: one of the values that we, teachers, always impart to our students. We always insist the importance of its value when dealing with students in and outside the class. Everybody must agree that everywhere, teachers sometimes struggle because of team work issues in the faculty.
The lack of teamwork is a common problem that school faculty deal with all the time.
- ‘a teacher bringing down her fellow teacher’
- ‘a teacher unhappy for her colleague’s promotion’
- ‘a teacher giving disagreeing remarks to her fellow teacher who has just received an award’
- ‘a teacher giving no support of participation in a school activity proposed by her fellow teacher’
The situations listed above are just among the hundred concerns that we often hear about.
WHY IS IT HARD FOR OTHER TEACHERS TO SHOW SUPPORT TO THEIR FELLOW TEACHERS?
Teachers are different from each other. We all have our own personal issues and we all have our own griefs and our own success and failures that contribute to how we will behave or get along with our fellow teachers at the workplace. There are teachers who get along with each other and there are teachers who don’t. Why? Well, this roots to many things like:
1. INSECURITY and ENVY
Ms. Angel has been teaching for a year in LLEGO ACADEMY which is the first ever school she has worked in. This academic year, she will be working with some newly hired teachers in the Science department. Ms. Mae, one of the new teachers has been in the field of teaching for 5 years and it is very evident that she can share so many ideas and teach what she has learned in her previous job experiences to the teachers.
During the faculty meeting, teachers were asked to suggest activities for the opening of the new academic year. Ms. Mae have proposed several suggestions which the teachers agreed on. Everybody was impressed except Ms. Angel who frowned at the corner. On the opening day of the school, all the teachers were assigned to finish their own task assigned to them during the meeting. Ms. Angel and some teachers closest to her chose not to participate and didn’t do their task as they hated how Ms. Mae took over the last faculty meeting. They thought that Ms. Mae was bragging her experiences and was trying to tell all the teachers that she is excellent in everything she does.
As the result, the activity on the opening day of the school turned unsuccessful− as the other teachers didn’t do their task. Because of this, Ms. Mae felt bad and some members of the faculty even gave her comments that emphasizes how the activity didn’t work. Though some still encouraged her. Ms. Mae then decided not to voice out ideas every time they are asked to suggest good activities for the school.
Whenever I encounter such situation, I wince deep inside me, not because I can’t take criticism, but because of the lack of support we show to our fellow teachers- especially teachers who want to think “outside of the box” the public put us in. This type of pessimism toward teaching isn’t good for teachers and it’s the same behavior that allowed people with no experience in education to come in and make policies that has made teaching more difficult.
2. TALENTS AND ABILITY
We don’t support our fellow teacher because we see their talents and ability as a threat. We are afraid to admit and accept that they can do better than us so as a mechanism, we say that his/her talent or ability is lacking so our colleagues will think that there is more to improve on her talent.
Of course, being a teacher means showcasing your talent and using it to the point that students are being influenced to mold the talents they have. In our field, being able to do many things is plus point. Not only students will be impressed but also the superiors. If you can sing, dance, act, write and speak in front of the public, then you are the perfect person that program organisers in the school look for whenever there is a particular school activity. Sadly, when you are always chosen, some of our fellow teachers start to think that you are the favourite and that you are a grandstander or a show-off. This kind of mentality is very common and it is unavoidable. It is a shame there are teachers who know nothing but to criticize someone who is on stage but cannot do even better than the person they criticize.
To deal with people who has a very big issue about favoritism or envy, you just have to keep quiet and it is better not to talk about your assignments to anyone except to your work colleagues that you trust the most.
3. STUDENTS APPROVAL
Some teacher do not support their fellow teachers as they are afraid that their students might like their fellow teachers more.
Sadly, some teachers consider themselves effective based on the number of students who like them. It is so wrong as all teachers and students are different. There are teachers who are willing to cry in their class and open up to the students their problem with their co-teachers just to get the sympathy of the students. Not knowing that they are already wrecking the reputation of their co-teachers. This will result to distasteful consequences. Involving the students will ruin the image of the teachers. It’ll make them think that it is just alright for them to fight with their fellow students as they see the same thing from their teachers.
With this, I’d like to leave a simple message: TEACHERS ARE MODELS. EVERYWHERE AND EVERYTIME.
4. SENIORITY ISSUES
What I despise the most is the “I-AM-BETTER-THAN-YOU-BECAUSE-I-AM-MORE-EXPERIENCED” mentality. Of course, we, teachers must not think that we are better than anyone else. Even our students can be better than us. We can learn something from everyone so we must always be open to the suggestion of others. We must support the others when they suggest things which will obviously help the whole school community. Even if it means that they will get more applause than us.
Teachers must work as a team. If we always emphasize the value of teamwork to the students, we to must exercise it. Working as a team means considering the benefit of all. So if we want a better working environment, we should all support one another.
Why is it so hard for fellow teachers to support one another?
Why do we respond negatively to a positive thing done by our co-teacher?
Why do we feel envy when our co-teachers achieve something big instead of feeling happy?
How many times has a student in your class found a way to make her classmates solve a problem or understand a reading text? What would happen if another student (upon hearing his answer) rolled their eyes and shot down what this student had worked on to think about? I don’t know about you, but I would have pulled the negative student in the hallway and given him or her a nice little “talk”. So, if we can correct this behavior with students, why is it so hard for us to do the same with our fellow teachers?
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