Dealing with Difficult Teachers by Todd Whitaker Angie Bielefeld Haleigh Hansen Andrea Pettigrew Diania Pile
Lazy Negative Resistant to change Boring Negative leader Belligerent Inflexible Back stabber Domineering Stubborn Cannot get along with others Lectures Cynical Doesn’t like teaching Argumentative Counting the days until they retire Counting the days until school ends (and it’s early October) Doesn’t like kids Doesn’t like their job Part 1:The Principal and the Difficult Teacher Phrases and terms used to describe difficult teachers:
Six general areas that may cause you to label teachers difficult: • Classroom Behavior • Staff Influence • Public Perception • Resistance to Change • Dampen Enthusiasm/Damage Climate • Parade of Students to the Office
Three Kinds of Teachers • Superstars • Backbones • Mediocres
Looking for the Good Part-Sometimes You Have to Squint Part 2: Motivating Difficult Teachers • Consistently try motivating your most difficult staff members • Have regular, positive, weekly memos • Give difficult teachers responsibilities • Praise a staff member in front of your superior • Public and Private Praise (must be specific)
Parts 3 and 4: • Making Difficult Teachers Uncomfortable and Communicating with the Difficult Teacher
Effective teachers need to make ineffective/difficult teachers feel uncomfortable. • Effective teachers usually take more responsibility than ineffective teachers. • If ineffective teachers feel no discomfort, they will continue to operate in the same way. • One method to begin to make less effective teachers feel uncomfortable is to empower the effective teachers on a staff. • Ineffective teachers usually look to pass the responsibility. Instead, make them accept it.
When trying to improve an ineffective teacher, it is always best to pair them up with a superstar teacher. • When attempting to communicate with a difficult teacher, always assume that they want to do what is right or best. • When communicating, always be prepared. Have a game plan, so that your emotions don’t get the best of you. • We should never address a difficult teacher in front of a group. It should always be one-to- one.
Effective teachers should always look to eliminate ineffective teachers’ negative behaviors. • When talking to difficult teachers, effective teachers should always focus on how they can help improve the ineffectiveness.
Part 5: Weakening the Influence of Difficult Teachers • Negative leaders in a school might be the most harmful influence in preventing school improvement • Roles and Styles of Negative Leaders • Brown-Nosing Back Stabber • Town Crier • Stay-At-Homes • Saboteurs
Dealing with Negative Leaders • Break up the Group • Power of Pity • Guest Speaker • Shuffle the Deck • Room location • Planning period and lunch break • Grade level
Part 6: The Role of New Faculty • New teachers can be powerful tools in improving schools. • Two ways to improve your school • Improve the teachers you have • Hire better ones • New teacher leadership • Starts during the interview
Where do I start? • Focus on the end goal. • Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe
Retirement and Other Miracles • Retirement • Building Transfers • Discontinuing a Program
Dismissal • Nonrenewal of Probationary Teachers • Dismissal of Tenured Teachers – Incompetence, Insubordination, and Immorality • Documentation – An Essential Element
Part 8: General Tips and Guidelines • How Can I Stop Them From Sending So Many Students To The Office? • Establish Expectations • Expect That the Difficult Teacher Always Wants To Do What is Right • Enforce the Expectation
If All Else Fails - • If They Know You Are Aware of It, They Know You accept It. • Never Argue or Raise Your Voice With A Difficult Teacher • Hope They Will Run Out and Tell Their Peers • Use a Shotgun Approach
Easing the Guilt • Should You Feel Guilty? • “You should not ever feel guilty about doing what is best for the young people in your buildings. You should only feel guilty, if you do not.”
Passing the Buck Down the LineAdapted by Todd Whitaker Said the college professor, “Such rawness in the student is a shame, Lack of preparation in high school is to blame. Said the high school teacher, “Good heavens, that boy’s a fool. The fault, of course, is with the Junior High School. The junior high school noted, “It’s so hopeless and sad Thanks to those elementary clowns, They can’t add or subtract.”
The grammar school teacher said, “From such stupidity May I be spared. They sent him up to me so unprepared.” The primary teacher huffed, “Kindergarten blockheads all. They call that preparation? Why, it’s worse than none at all.” The kindergarten teacher said, “Such lack of training never did I see. What kind of parents Must those kids’ parents be?”
This responsibility to teach Is something that we all share, But somehow the grass is Always greener over there. So rather than hand down These grumbles and groans, Let’s remember about glass houses, And the throwing of stones. The answer of course, It is not chance or luck But what we do in our own classes, So let’s not pass the buck!