When I analyze a My Voice Staff Survey, there are two statements I start with:
If I have a problem, I have a colleague with whom I can talk
Staff respect each other.
My experience has been that the bigger the gap between those two numbers, the greater the likelihood that that the problem someone is talking to a colleague about is another colleague who they don't respect. That is an underlying issue in the work schools do that must be addressed before most things can move forward. In the National survey of over 20,000 school staff members those numbers are 93% and 72% respectively. Not horrible.
I was once in a school where the first number was in the high 90's and the second, among classroom teachers, was 0%. It actually forced me to run a system check on the survey processes. Everything checked out. I had been asked to go to that school to talk about their student data. I knew there was no assistance I was going to provide to help their students that was not by way of dealing with the fact that most of their "collegial" conversations took place in the parking lot, rather than in the staff room.
Suggestion: Next time you have an issue with someone that erodes your respect for them, find a way to talk with them about it instead of someone else.
The Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and putting into practice the conditions that foster student aspirations in schools and learning communities around the world. Please visit us on the web at www.qisa.org.
The views represented in this blog are my own and do not represent QISA's stance on any of the issues discussed.