Let’s continue with the Amazing Teacher Pledge – a set of 10 promises that I believe all amazing teachers make.
To recap, here are the first five promises of the Amazing Teacher Pledge:
Here is Promise #6:
I promise to avoid negative teachers.
You might think this is a bit silly, but I can’t be more serious.
Most new teachers want to fit in with their new staff, department or team.
They go along, listening to what other more experienced teacher are saying, anxious to learn how to better to their job.
The danger is that these new teachers are often placed with the negative teachers in hopes that the high energy, eager-to-please, save-every-kid mentally of the new teacher will rub off on the negative teacher.
What happens most often, in my experience, is the exact opposite.
The new teacher is the one who transforms, and that is bad for everyone.
Amazing teachers avoid those negative teachers.
You know who I’m talking about. You probably already have someone in mind. Every school has at least one. Some schools have several, and you feel sorry for the students in their classes.
These are the teachers who complain about everything.
They spend their lunch time discussing how bad the school is run, how lazy their students are, how they aren’t getting paid enough, etc.
You know them.
They care more about their personal comfort than doing what’s best for students.
Avoid these teachers.
If you can’t avoid them, at least don’t agree with them when they start their rants.
Amazing teachers don’t CONFIRM the complaints of negative teachers, they COUNTER them.
Negative teacher: “That Mitchell, he is so lazy. He is going to end up dropping out of school. If he wasn’t in my class, I would be able to teach.”
Amazing teacher: “Mitchell is smart. I wonder if there is anything going on at home that might be causing the behavior. Let me talk to him.”
Unfortunately, new teachers, because they don’t want to make waves, will smile and nod. This is totally understandable. What is important is that we identify the negative teacher as someone who we cannot emulate. New teachers need to quickly identify negative teachers and make the decision to avoid them as much as possible.
Here’s a story that I heard of recently:
A young teacher was in a school serving as a long-term substitute while the actual teacher was on leave. Let’s call her Mary. After a while, Mary was becoming part of the school community, making friends and really impressing those around her with her enthusiasm and desire to do what’s best for kids. Unfortunately, she became Facebook friends with two negative teachers who started a conversation online complaining about administration. Regardless of whether their complaints were justified or not, it was an inappropriate conversation to have in such a public forum as Facebook. As the comments went back and forth, Mary began to join in, sharing her point of view, which was in agreement with the complaints. As expected, the administration learned about the Facebook conversation, including the opinions expressed by the young substitute, Mary. When Mary discovered that the conversation had been read by the school administration, she immediately went and apologized. Unfortunately, the damage had been done. At the end of the year, when there was an opening for a permanent teacher at that school, she was not hired. Other permanent positions in other schools in the district opened up, and she applied and interviewed. She did well, and impressed each interview panel. When it came time to check references, however, the Facebook conversation always came up, and she was not hired in the district. Luckily for Mary, she did finally get hired in a nearby district, and I’m sure she is being amazing in her new position.
True story. (Her name really isn’t Mary, however.)
You’re probably saying, “That wasn’t fair,” and I would agree, but this serves as a great example of how associating with negative teachers will lead to negative consequences.
I believe negative teachers are in the minority.
Unfortunately, they are a vocal and powerful minority.
One of the my goals with the Amazing Teacher Pledge is to make being amazing something so attractive that even negative teachers will want to come over to the amazing side of teaching.
Most negative teachers were amazing teachers once. They loved teaching and saw it as a calling. They had dreams of changing the world one student at a time. Something happened along the way that soured their teaching experience, and they went over to the dark side.
Let’s bring them back!
Until then, avoid these negative teachers.
There you have it, Promise #6 of the Amazing Teacher Pledge – Avoid Negative Teachers.
What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts about this promise. If you agree, please share using one of the share buttons below.
Until next time,