1. scotwright

    Great words! I totally agree with everything you said. Eventually, positivity will win out but it is a battle to beat out the negativity!

  2. shanegjcunningham

    Gotta agree George, I read that piece myslef last week and had similar thoughts, in particular the 'us v them' part. And yeah, if someone does have a genuine grievance, is it going to be resolved in the teachers lounge/staff room? I doubt it.

  3. George,
    Wow, great topic! A couple of thoughts I'd like to share. I was an assistant principal in a school where the principal spent a fair amount of time in a negative teacher's lounge to try to transform the environment. However, it backfired…The positive teachers began to associate him as a part of the negative environment.
    As a personal aside, I've just begun a blog in a similar vein as yours. I hope you dont' mind me asking, but I'd love to have you stop by and share your thoughts.. .www.cuttingeducator.com

  4. Bruce Ferrington

    Indeed – true leadership is not about doing things "to" people, it's about doing things "for" and "with" people. Great stuff.

  5. Mark Battistella

    Mark Batta
    I concur, in that bringing a positive attitude as a leader into the staff room is a proactive way of infiltrating an existing 'negative' culture.  
    Your strategy of indicating to colleagues that the staff room is not the place for discussions of a 'particular' nature is terrific…. I think I might also employ this strategy when teachers invariably say to me in the staff room during breaks, "have you got a minute"?  I think most of us know that it's never a minute!  Flexibility and availability are essential leadership ingredients … But when we respond to everyone's immediate needs we continue to miss opportunities of empowering staff to problem solve & to formulate appropriate plans!

  6. Craig Kupke

    I initially thought, yep that sounds great when I read those two points but I think you're right on the money with your comments. It's too easy just to escape and be too busy. Ive been in that situation and you need all your leaders to engage with the negative influences if nothing else. Set the example.

  7. I can't stand that 'avoid the staff room' trope for the exact reason you mention. It's defeatist, arrogant, and misdirected. I also don't like the idea that talking frankly about this difficult job is automatically equated with negativity. If the staff room is a place where teachers feel safe to be honest sound each other, then I see that as only positive.

  8. Lisa Noble

    I'm with Royan on this one. I have rediscovered my staff room this year (after some years of avoidance due to duty schedules, extra-currics and a fear of that negativity). Lured by a new VP who installed a Tassimo machine and bakes fresh cookies in the staff room at least once a week, I've begun to make my way down there again. It's not a bad spot, after all, and I think one which is a safe space to vent when you need to, celebrate when you can, and wrestle with big ideas. Today, we were talking about how to find the balance between teaching effective computation skills and effective problem-solving skills in math. It was meaningful, inter-division chat, and it's important. Not sure where else that can happen. For me, the rediscovery of my staff room has been one of the benefits of the "pause"

  9. Nikki Bowers

    I have been a principal in a school for five years where we have focused on changing the school by changing the language, people, and systems. One of those "systems" is the staff lounge. We do not complain in there. It is an unspoken rule that has taken time to establish. We laugh, share ideas, and talk about our families, weekends, vacations, etc. It a place where teachers can get away for about 25 minutes and I do, too.

Comments are closed.