Our school culture has a growing sense of [unhealthy] competitiveness. I believe a lot of this stems from the fact that our administration does not recognize (or maybe they do and simply don’t voice) teacher expertise using specific, positive praise. We do receive thanks yous - but they tend to be blanket statements and pretty general. (For example, “Thank you Ms. _____ for helping your team out.”)
This appears to have led to some teachers to measure themselves against others. Rather than feeling grateful that the students in our school are being taught by many talented teachers, it has become a zero-sum game and fed rivalries and pettiness.
It’s sad for me to admit this, but I don’t think there’s a ton of hope in my administration changing their ways. I guess my question is, how can teachers create a sincere, supportive environment for each other?
I suspect S.H. is not the only educator out there facing this kind of challenge.
Please share your responses in the comments, or, if you prefer, feel free to email them to me.
You can send questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.When you send in your question, let me know if I can use your real name if it’s selected or if you’d prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.
I’ll be taking a Thanksgiving break, so the response to this question won’t appear until November 30th.
The opinions expressed in Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.