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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Nice or Not?

I was thinking about something that happens often in schools. Sometimes new educators are caught in traps of inefficiency and poor choice. What I mean by this is that there can be times when a new teacher is hired for a job, and that job is a bad job, ill fit, or negative expectation. In the same regard, there are times when someone is hired for a good job, but that person does not have the necessary skills and expertise for the job.

When educators face situations like this, a quandary arises. Of course, the educators should be respectful and kind to any new employees, but if the job is not a good choice or the person is ill equipped for the position, a problem exists. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that in most schools, time and human resources are maxed out so to see a job or an individual who is unable to support the needs of educators or students, it's troubling. Events like these can cause resentment, avoidance, and a lack of collaboration and support.

Years ago a job similar to what I describe above arose in my midst. The job was attractive to me, in part, but I knew that the way it was written would not work--it was a set up for failure. Rather than apply for the job, I recommended changes to make the job more helpful and doable with regard to the needs and research related to the job. My ideas were not embraced, the job was filled as is, and to this day the job has had little impact on the work we do at my school though there could be impact in other places, impact I'm not aware of. I was so happy that I didn't agree to take a job that was impossible and ill fitted to the environment where I teach.

When educators face a situation of an employee not suited for a position or a position not suited for the environment's need, it's important to separate the people from the problem. It's integral to remain kind, truthful, and respectful to the individuals, but it's also important that you don't support the person or the work in ways that dilute what you can do to support children well. Working in kind ways for positive change can be helpful.

So if you're in a position where you are facing scrutiny or a lack of support, you may need to think about how you fit your job and how your job fits the environment where you work. As I write this, I realize that this is a question we can all ask with regard to our the broad definitions of our jobs as well as the details that make up that work.

It's always polite to be nice, but it's not always easy if the there's challenges with regard to a position of the individuals who fill those jobs.