Sunday, February 2, 2014

I don't want to be that guy!

We all have met this guy.

He's unpleasant. He thinks he is more important than everyone else. He thinks he knows more than everyone else. (He probably does - but that is not really the point.)

He puts people down. He rolls his eyes. He doesn't listen.

He's a bully.

He's also a doctor.

Photo by China Daily/Reuters

Read the article "Medical Disrespect."

As I read this article I thought about our schools. Replace doctor for the principal, the teacher, the Superintendent.

Please don't let me be this guy!

These bullying actions can cost lives in a hospital. Surely the outcomes are not that dramatic in schools?

But they are. Teachers hesitate to share their struggles because they are afraid their colleague will not be supportive, that their principal will not listen and the openness will result in a lower evaluation, and that the Superintendent will react harshly.

Student performance suffers because people refuse to be open, honest, collaborative.

The article states,

Disrespect is a threat to patient safety because it inhibits 
collegiality and co-operation essential to teamwork, cuts off communication, undermines morale, and inhibits compliance with and implementation of new practices. 

In my mind this could apply to schools. Disrespect is a threat to student achievement. Collegiality and cooperation disappear. Professional learning communities, central to much of the work that we now do, cannot survive in a disrespectful culture. Communication, morale - central to creating an atmosphere that promotes innovation and learning - are compromised.

Schools, like hospitals, are people-focused cultures. If we are to create a culture that supports student achievement we must create a culture where people are treated humanely, where behavior that is rude or mean or belittling is not tolerated.

We must commit ourselves to creating a culture that treats colleagues and students humanely. If we really are concerned about improving student achievement we can do nothing less.

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