Communicating with the Difficult Teacher. From: Dealing with Difficult Teachers By Todd Whitaker Lisa Scarrow. Approach. When you are ready The more comfortable you feel, the more likely it is they will feel uncomfortable. Do not hurry to interact with the teacher
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Communicating with the Difficult Teacher From: Dealing with Difficult Teachers By Todd Whitaker Lisa Scarrow
Approach • When you are ready • The more comfortable you feel, the more likely it is they will feel uncomfortable. • Do not hurry to interact with the teacher • Chances are you are emotional (naturally) • It will be easy to get into an argument • You need to have a game plan • If you run into the teacher and they request a meeting it would be best to delay for awhile
Approach Continued • Determine the best place to meet with the teacher • It is best not to give them advance notice. Chances are they know when they did something wrong and will begin planning excuses and mentally preparing their defenses • You need to be the one who is prepared • While you are waiting make sure you are continuing to treat them as a professional.
The Broken Record • While in discussion with the teacher if s/he starts making excuse you have to become a broken record. • Repeat what the unacceptable behavior is: • Ex: I was very disappointed during our staff meeting when you interrupted the discussion to interject a rude comment that was unproductive.
The Best Teacher, The Worst Teacher • Always ask yourself if you are confronting this teacher in the same manner you would if one of the best teachers were in the room observing • Think about the whole staff being in the room to witness you
The Best Teacher, The Worst Teacher Continued • Remember this conversation will probably be repeated by the teacher with a few added details • Don’t be concerned with how close to the truth it really is • Envision that when it is repeated, in the lounge perhaps, that the most effective teacher is listening as well as the least effective teacher • If you handled yourself correctly the most effective teacher may sympathize with the teacher, a natural reaction, to maintain respect. But mentally they will be giving you high-fives knowing how the conversation probably really went. The least effective teacher will probably be thinking about whether or not they display the same behaviors making a mental note to stop if they do
Trying to Eliminate the Inappropriate Behaviors • Do not defend the inappropriate behavior by rationalizing something else • Ex. They are a good teacher but they just don’t get along well with their students. • They may not be the worst but very rarely are these people really good teachers. • Ask yourself questions like: • Would I want my child in their classroom • How many years would one of the excellent teachers have to teach before they exhibit that behavior. If the answer is never than that is probably not a good teacher. • By defending we are potentially reinforcing the behavior and setting the tone that it is acceptable.
One to One, Not One to all • Remember to never address inappropriate behavior of an individual in a whole group setting. • Teachers who the behavior does not apply to resent having to be lectured • The person displaying the inappropriate behavior is being given a chance to hide and will also rationalize that they are not the only one displaying the inappropriate behavior
Excuses, Excuses • Ineffective teacher have many excuses • We do not give our students the freedom to display inappropriate behaviors when they are having a bad day • We do need to be sensitive the key is figuring out if a teacher is having an off day or it is a repeat of a continual inappropriate behavior.
Being Specific • Ignorance or Insubordination? • Sometimes it’s hard to determine if a teacher doesn’t know any better or if they are choosing to act inappropriately • You must be specific when giving feedback so the teacher knows exactly what behavior must be eliminated • If you are specific it is now fair of you to expect a change. • If a behavior is continued it is much more likely that it is intentional because you were specific with the change that neesdto be made.
Looking At Our Own Behavior • Remember that it is perfectly acceptable to feel the feelings and emotions you have • The key is reacting or not reacting to them in an appropriate manner • All schools have teachers who are intimidating. • The challenge is to not ACT intimidated, afraid or uncomfortable. • Put these feelings into perspective • Focus on your goal of improving the teacher
The Plan • Determine: • What behavior you want changed • decide when and where to meet with the teacher • develop a strategy • do what is right for the students of your school
Questioning Strategies to Use When Communicating • After an incident has occurred allow several days to pass – continue to treat this person professionally. • Then, when casually meeting the teacher say, like it is a second thought, “Can you tell me a little bit about…….” • Being so indirect will cause the teacher some discomfort • The teacher is probably trying to figure out how much you know, and what “part” exactly you are talking about • The fewer details the more stressful it is for the ineffective teacher to figure out how they are going to respond
“Can You Tell Me a Little Bit About……?” • The teacher will then have the choice to lie or tell the truth. • No matter how the teacher replies treat them as though their intentions were not malicious – Show no reaction just continue prompting. • The ineffective teacher will be trying to figure out exactly what you know • Your next question can have a little bit more information but continue to pry. • All along treat the teacher as if they are telling the truth whether you know differently or not. • Eventually some version of the truth will come out. • When it does, act completely shocked that it could have happened • The longer the investigation the more thinking time the teacher has and the longer s/he is uncomfortable.
Using The Examples Set By Our Superstars • Take note of what good teachers do to make things happen for them. • Being aware of behaviors and strategies our most talented teachers use, we can generate additional ideas that are effective. • This will give you guidance when working with adults.
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