School Culture: Toxic Environments and Teacher Bullies
Last week I posted a blog post that featured a letter to teachers who bully other teachers at school. When I posted it I really didn’t expect to get many likes or responses to the post. Boy, was I wrong! There were so many responses from teachers who had experienced bullying or were currently experiencing bully that it was unreal. I have never worked at a school where I felt like I was being bullied by another teacher, so I don’t have a frame of reference for what this would look like.
Some of the behaviors that were mentioned in the blog post were:
1. Sharing your opinion all of the time.
2. Speaking for others.
3. Over talking other teachers.
4. Talking at other teachers.
5. Telling the administration everything that happens on the grade level.
When I read some of the behaviors that this teacher obviously felt were workplace bullying tactics, I instantly thought about how many administrators consciously and unconsciously create an environment where this kind of behavior is acceptable. I have worked at many schools and each school had a different culture. Some of the school cultures were toxic and others were positive. One thing I do know is that toxic administrators create toxic school cultures. Administrators set the tone of the school and the success of a school rises and falls on the the administrator’s leadership.
My current administrator is a great example of a leader who tries to create an environment where the staff is valued and workplace bullies cannot survive. I’m not saying that our school is perfect because we most certainly have our challenges, however because our principal’s motto is “Assume good will” it has helped me to give my coworkers the benefit of the doubt before I assume that they have done something with ill intent.
Yesterday we had our Fall Festival and the environment was reflective of our principal’s goal of creating an environment were everyone is included, respected, and seen as an important part of the school. While my school and my grade level aren’t perfect but I think that they are perfect for me!