Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring Break or Bust

Do we need a Spring Break or what?! Just seems like this has been a challenging week - A parent sent the Assistant Principal and me an e-mail with concerns about her son's kinder teacher. Instead of e-mailing my disappointment to the AP that the parent had not gone to the teacher first, I mistakenly e-mailed it to the parent instead! In another stiuation, I've got a teacher that is upset with a tutor. The tutor has been volunteering for several years. I have a conference to mediate the situation and it leaves a pit in my stomach. This week one teacher snapped at another because her kids were late getting out for dismissal, or at least the teacher felt like it was a snap. On another occasion a teacher sent out her kids for dismissal with a substitute and one of the teachers went to her to complain that she shouldn't send the kids out with a sub because it was too hard on the rest of the team - since when? It just seems there has been a lot of mistakes and negativity this week all over the building... Oh yeah, we have challenges here in Dreamland too!

So why all the snipping and sniping? It is hard to keep a high flying team's morale high ALL of the time. I think it boils down to teachers being tired... and stressed. Actually I think it always happens this time of year when teachers are worried about high stakes testing and students that might be retained and parents who think they aren't doing enough... and negativity begets negativity.

Morale traditionally seems to take a dip this time of year, so what's a coach to do? What I want to do is pinch their little heads off... but instead, I'll take a deep breath and remember that there is always another side - the teacher whose mother is sick or who is trying to buy a new house or who is dealing with a sick child of her own or even difficult behaviors in her classroom - the parent who is worried sick that their child might fail or is trying to figure out how to keep a marriage together or make the next mortgage payment. We all have our own stories and we deal with them best when we try to walk in the other person's shoes and not take anything too personally. I also believe in confronting difficult situations head on and simply trying to figure out what the problem REALLY is. Putting your head in the sand only makes the situation bubble and boil (from the voice of experience!)

The Kindergarten Team Leader recognizes the same symptoms that I do even though we haven't had time to talk and so, being proactive, she has arranged a breakfast get-together next week and has asked each teacher to come to the early morning get- together with a "drop for your bucket" - a positive comment written about a colleague. That should help remind us that we all have the same goal - doing the best for the children in our care. If that doesn't do it... how many more days until Spring Break?!!

1 comment:

Mrs.Mallon said...

dayle,
After spending a week in a rehab hospital and seeing people who can't speak, walk, or use their arms, we really need to take time to sit back and count our blessings. In one minute, our whole world can change. If we use Spring Break as the time it was meant to be - the rebirth of all that was lost in winter - we will come back refreshed, renewed, and ready to give our students the best we have to offer for their last quarter of their kindergarten year.