Conflict In School And How To Address It
Conflict in school can be a major thorn on your side if not swiftly dealt with. Imagine going an entire school year at odds with a fellow teacher - that’d be a miserable amount of time working alongside someone who just grinds your gears.
But there are methods for dealing with teachers you aren’t getting along with. It won’t be easy, but for the sake of a peaceful work environment, it’ll definitely be worth it - for both you and the students.
7 Ways To Handle Conflict In School With Other Teachers
#1 Focus On The Problem And Not The Person
There’s no quicker way to incite a problem than by pointing the blame. The second a person feels attacked, they’re going to respond with fire. So don’t make things worse by saying “this is all your fault because…” Instead, slow things down and talk about the actual problem itself.
And make sure you accept blame where it matters. When you diffuse responsibility for an issue like this, you cool down what is likely a heated situation, and help pave the way for a mature discussion about what’s going on between you and another person.
#2 Get A Mediator For Your Conflict In School
Keeping a cool head in an argument is no easy task. The best thing you can do is get someone else (someone above, ideally) to mediate for you instead. This will add a sense of impartiality, which can help keep the conversation more level-headed. Try to keep in mind that their main job is to facilitate problem-solving, and not do it for you. You’ve still got to talk to the other person and resolve the issue like an adult, so don’t just expect others to fix this for you.
#3 Focus on Outcomes
To help keep attention on what’s important, discuss how the conflict is affecting your work environment. For one thing, conflict in school leads to discomfort amongst staff who are “in the know” of your problem, which stifles good and positive communication amongst them. Plus, the bad mood it fosters is inevitably going to hurt the students of the teachers involved as well.
It can be easy to overlook these consequences as your anger and frustration blind you. But if you make sure to bring these issues up, it’ll be easier to keep the big picture in mind as you try to resolve things.
#4 Be Heard Separately
During a conflict, it can be hard to listen to the other person without feeling the need to defend yourself. To minimize the desire to lash out defensively, set up one-on-one’s with your mediator, and tell them your story during that time. You’ll have an easier time sharing your side of things if you aren’t defending your actions in real-time with the person you’re in conflict with.
#5 Use 3rd-Person Storytelling to Stay Calm
It can be helpful to tell your story from a more detached perspective. So rather than “I was upset when he/she did this…” instead, try out “Teacher X became upset when teacher Y did this…” This will create some mental distance from your emotions, and allow you to focus on the events and problem more calmly.
#6 Agree to Accountability and Follow Up
Once you’ve gotten past the hump of anger, and agree to some kind of solution, ask your mediator to check up on things a few weeks down the line. If you know a lack of progress will be known to another person, you’ll feel more compelled to stick to your guns and actually try to solve your problem.
#7 Don’t Expect Perfection With Conflict in School
Remember that your goal isn’t friendship or anything like that. As a professional teacher, you only need to get along with your co-workers - nothing more. Sure, it’d be nice if you could be all buddy-buddy, but it’s best to keep a realistic perspective and simply get from “not getting along” to at least “we don’t get in each other’s way.”
Because in reality, sometimes conflict arises from simple personality differences. You can’t do much about that other than create strategies to minimize the negative effects of it. But still, that’s much better than quietly fuming and letting both you and your students suffer from your personal dilemmas.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Your students are the ones that hurt the most from a conflict with a fellow teacher or staff member. And the best way to keep them happy is to resolve all problems as quickly as possible.
The second best way to keep them happy is by making sure they’re capable of keeping up with your classroom. And you can help them with that by providing tools like KeyboardingOnline, which will make it easier for them to improve their typing skills, complete their work, and communicate digitally as well.