As a Leader we would love to lighten our load and shrug off the trouble from our lives. If we have a choice to pick members that is going to be on our team we would favor a certain type, which would lack a skill we would need. To sacrifice this harmony we have to have a variety of types to ensure talent of all types. Reality is, as a teacher, we don’t get to pick our peers nor do we pick our audience. We have to learn how to get along with our peers and our students. We are contracted into our positions for at least a year so we need to be prepared to survive it. If we can learn the right skills we can teach our students how to not just survive, but turn adversity into a positive.
When you don’t like someone they can tell and the repercussions aren’t worth the pain it will bring. Peter Bregman points out in his article, Working with People You Don’t Like, that people will eventually decide they don’t like you. As a leader this isn’t going to work for you. Bregman states, “It’s simple, really. The people you get along with will find ways to help you; the people you don’t get along with will find ways to obstruct you.” So, we really need to catch on to our emotions early and change our thinking. Bregman says that we could be just seeing ourselves in them and not liking it. He states, “. . . chances are, the reason you can’t stand that person in the first place, is that they remind you of what you can’t stand about yourself.” With self-reflection, we have to be real and search ourselves for what the real reasons are that we don’t like about them; are they reflecting us. Bregman goes on to say we need to get over what we don’t like about ourselves. I like how he summarized his article with, “. . . being compassionate with yourself is the key to being compassionate with others. Before you know it, you’ll actually begin to like people you never liked before. Maybe you’ll even feel like helping them run those meeting more productively.” This is a higher calling that many of us need to learn; we need to get over ourselves and step up to admit what we don’t like about ourselves and make peace with it.
As teachers we need to collaborate with our peers and find what works with the students we share. As Fullan pointed out, teachers need to collaborate and help each other with teaching strategies. As a leader in our classroom, we can apply this to our students needs; we need to know our students well enough to place them in a group to enhance their skills. We need to give the students a chance to get to know each other at a deeper level where they will learn to respect each other’s differences and learn to see the qualities in each other.
Collaboration among teachers, administration and students was shared by Loop in her article, The Advantages of Collaboration in Education, where she shared how teachers can share projects or positive and negatives of a project for others to learn from. Loop also pointed out that teachers also share with administration the goals of the school, community belonging and increasing student success. She goes on to tell how partnering with parents can help improve educational outcomes like self-esteem, decrease the dropout rate, grades and test scores. I was happy to see how Loop incorporates the students with group work when she said, “Group projects encourage children to cooperate, improve social and interpersonal skills and help them to better understand the material at hand through discussion and a team learning effort.” Through this group work the students learn see the diversity and deal with it. With the help of teachers they can learn to accept each others’ differences and look for quality in a person. They can learn more about each other as well as themselves.
As we evolve into being a leader we have to work with a variety of people and we need to be aware of our weaknesses to develop our skills to lead people. Like a baby bird coming out of it shell or a butterfly coming out of its cocoon, they need to develop their muscles by breaking out of their shell. If you do it for them they won’t have the muscle to survive in this world. Leaders need to develop their weaknesses to be well-rounded leaders. We also have to help our students to work with a variety of people too.
Getting the right people on your team, and getting the wrong ones off mentality isn’t always reality. We need to learn to adapt until there is a change. Our students love to request removal of students or themselves, but are we really preparing them for life if we don’t teach them how to accept each other’s differences and to look for the quality that they bring. The people that are “work” for us are actually teaching us about ourselves. They help us see our limitations and we can learn to embrace the change required to tolerate or accept people that are different, this requires thinking differently. These relationships make a difference in us and for our groups. We need to value our differences and accept people for who they are and focus on their strengths. Our students need to learn how to accept diversity as well. A skill they will use, and will be tested in their life.
Bregman, P. (2012) Working with People you Don’t Like. Fox Business. Retrieved on November 6, 2015 from http://www.foxbusiness.com/business-leaders/2012/09/21/working-with-people-dont-like/
Fullan, M. (2014). Leading in a Culture of Change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass (pp. 51-77).
Loop, E. The Advantages of Collaboration in Education. Globalpost. America’s world news site. Retrieved on November 6, 2015 from http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/advantages-collaboration-education-19763.html