Dealing with Difficult People Trying to do your Job in an Age of Narcissism
Why the problem? Parents see their child as a peer There is confusion about the role of the parent Parents see themselves as the child’s attorney Parents are busy/tired Service industry philosophy
The Fragile Family Inappropriately involved in child’s affairs Parent/legal defender Expectations unrealistic: child is either helpless or gifted/entitled Sense of entitlement Parent self-centered
Fragile Families Parent special/child special Seek privilege or exemption (testing behavior) Assume right to criticize rules, authority Become intrusive in the school Enraged when slighted
Parents want to know…. How do I discipline my child? How do I manage my child? How do I raise my child? How do I help my child to learn? How do I enforce the rules that I set? How do I monitor my child’s activities and friends?
Our Response: How do I draw boundaries? How do I avoid placating behavior? How do I avoid overreacting? How do I want this to end?
Check Communication Skills It’s folly to invite large numbers to a “gripe session”. Have small-group coffees to listen Keep the lines open Inform, inform, inform Watch body language, off-hand remarks What happens in school is curriculum...
Problems occur when: We fail to communicate We make unwarranted assumptions We don’t listen attentively Our nonverbals obviate our verbals We don’t check for understanding We have to deal with conflict
Pay attention to communication “You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.” -Sam Levinson
Some tips: Use face-to-face Make sure conclusions are clear Listen, listen, listen Practice what you preach Ask pertinent questions PAY ATTENTION!
Some more tips: Pick up on key words, feelings Use silence to your advantage Ask permission Don’t assume; check it out Don’t get hooked on another’s anger
What do we tell parents? Our homework policy Our behavioral expectations Our grading policy How we insert and incorporate Christian values Our outcomes How we want to be contacted What supplies students need Importance of presence and promptness
What do we ask parents? What does your child do in his/her spare time? What hobbies or collections does he/she have? How does your child like to learn? Where does your child like to sit? What special talents does your child have? Special needs? How long does it take your child to do homework?
Understand: Most parents are really doing the best they can; Many parents are themselves stressed; Many parents feel isolated and that they have no one to help them; Many parents and teachers react when they should reflect.
Dealing with Difficult Colleagues How to welcome and love conflict
Creative Leaders Welcome Conflict … as long as it’s legitimate … as long as it results in synergy...as long as it invites commitment and investment … as long as it represents win-win … as long as it’s an opportunity
Dealing with Colleagues Make sure you have a role in the resolution: “What do I need to do?” “What do you need to do?” Watch out for hidden agendas Don’t allow stress to rule Make sure you’re colleagues, not competitors
Dealing with Children It’s often not their fault Kids will be kids: –Impulsive –Excitable –Attention-deprived –Self-insufficient –Unable to separate –Looking for love in all the wrong places
SAVE YOURSELF TIPS FOR PREVENTING THE SHARKS FROM PUTTING YOU ON THEIR MENU
SAVE YOURSELF! Don’t play their games Know when to walk away… Love thy neighbor as thy slippers Your funnybone: use it or lose it Who cares? FIDO Leave town
Avoid spitting contests Be a magnet, not flypaper Don’t buy a cow to get a glass of milk Retire from the Supreme Court Learn from the tortoise Pin a medal on your shirt SAVE YOURSELF!
The power of a teacher I have come to a frightening conclusion; I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the class. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child will be humanized or de-humanized.-Haim Ginott
Some Thoughts on Bullying: 30% of students grades 6-10 involved We blur the line between bullying and and competitive behavior Bullying has a negative experience on the object of the bully Addressing bullying must be in the context of normal interactions, but intervention must occur when the bullying occurs.
More thoughts on bullying: Students need attention, power, love and competence; bullies lack these. Remember that boys’ play is aggressive; distinguish play from bullying Avoid zero tolerance; it equals zero flexibility Bullies start early;may be related to research on daycare
Bullying: May be a sign of a spiritual crisis Bullies have keen empathic skills, but treat the other as an object We teach empathy by modeling it ourselves Caring must be experienced and taught, even beyond the classroom Use Gospel stories to teach empathy
They need: Attention Individuality Talent scouts Patience Care