(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/2u3zIVl)
Here’s something that goes completely across the board, whether you are a teacher, a manager, a student or staff member of any kind, if you are the witness of someone else getting slammed by someone either verbally, or non-verbally, your own performance can be affected.
To get a bit ‘psychic’ about it, it really is all about the energy in the air. If there is great energy around the room, your likelihood is that you will perform very well, if not at your absolute best, however if you are in an environment where the air is toxic for someone else, you will worry that maybe you might be next in line, so you will find yourself slowly withdrawing from your learning environment or workplace.
Sadly research has shown that people who are not involved in a negative barrage, will still feel the fall out but not perhaps as much as the person in the firing line but can be up to 80% of that, even though they were not the target and perhaps never would be. This is a sad state of affairs for a classroom and any environment.
So what should we do?
At the end of the day it does come down to the person who is creating the negative energy, be in the teacher or co-worker or manager. They do need to know that we all understand that others don’t always do what they should, but there are ways to tackle the situation that do create a better atmosphere for all concerned.
- If you have an issue with someone, take the steps to request to see them after class to discuss your displeasure, but even then, make sure it’s not a rant or one sided view. Let the student/other person speak and have their say. Sometimes simply stating how you felt can be enough of an eye-opener to get the person to sit up.
- If necessary get another teacher/colleague to sit with you to talk to the student/other person so that at least you have a witness to it all and they will not go spreading rumours that may only be based on ‘how something was said’, not in fact what was said.
- Make whatever you are going to say in the words of for the betterment of the situation.
- If all else fails ask someone else to deal with the situation if you feel you are only going to lose it, but this could backfire on you as the person will wonder why you didn’t speak up yourself.
Good staff relations is paramount in any business or school, and the way difficult issues are expressed can make or break a team or class. Be aware that sometimes a teacher may find a class very challenging and end up being a ‘negative screamer’. This is the last thing you would ever want to do as not only that one person will fail, but your whole class will probably have on the whole lower marks.
If you are someone who is receiving the collateral damage from someone elses tirade, you do have the right to complain to that person/teacher or a superior person, but if you can get some clear evidence of this negative environment, you could be making rod for your own back.
The toughest part of not being in the firing line is exactly this, in some ways you say yourself, this is none of my business so nothing to do with me, on the other hand you may find your enthusiasm for this class has collapsed and you may dread it every time you enter.
If things get too bad, you do have the right to collect a number of others reports on this person and lodge an official complaint. This can work well so long as you and everyone else is willing to stand by your statements.
None of this kind of behavior is easy to handle or easy to fix, because we are all complex human beings. The best thing to do is to take one take at a time and one measure at a time.
Also know – this too shall pass.