Thursday, April 07, 2005

People Management

Teachers don't get enough credit for their people management skills.

I witnessed yesterday a pretty good performance by my Level Head trying to quash some misunderstandings and unpleasant rumours about the recent redeployment of teachers. The short of it is some students were unhappy about the change in teachers and the rationale for the change didn't get through to them because some colleagues were rather disgruntled themselves. So my LH tactfully raises the issue and then reiterates the rationale clearly and firmly thus sending a strong signal without blaming anyone in particular for the student unrest (they know who they are after all). And that's how teams ought to work. And the relevant people ought to get the message and shape up. And that's something they don't teach in class, and isn't on one's resume, and yet is so damn important.

Me, I've had to deal with a kid who's a chronic complainer and too hotheaded for his own good. First I have to resist the urge to smack him so he'll listen to reason. Then I have to struggle to keep him on the same point because every time I open my mouth he finds a new grievance to complain about (or repeats an old one). And then I have to repeat myself over and over again so that it will get past his self-constructed cloud of self-pitying, rage-against-the-world angst and finally get him to be aware that most people do not take kindly to his way of communicating and if he wants other people to be nicer to him and not bother him HE needs to change.

Why am I expending my energies on this kid? Why not leave him to learn the hard way by getting rejected and beaten up by everyone he meets? Because I don't think he's smart enough to learn from that. He's just going to get angrier and end up killing someone. And that would be a waste of an innocent life.

And it counts for so little in my Work Review. I'm a teacher, dammit. It's an unspoken part of my job to deal with kids like that. And the time I spend counselling that idiot counts against the 42 hours which my VP says should be enough for teachers to prepare lessons and go to class and do all the necessary marking and oversee a CCA and keep good records and pass notes and forms to their civics/form classes like demented messenger pigeons, not to mention reflecting on my own pedagogy and mentoring the newer teachers. And of course remedial is entirely optional and not giving remedial won't be held against me even if my students fail so 42 hours is all the time I need to spend at work. Yeah, Right.

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