Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It’s Not About You

you In David Byrne is angry with me from Seth's Blog, Seth Godin writes,

“The next time you're sure someone is angry with you, perhaps it's worth considering that you might be mistaken. Perhaps that customer or prospect or boss has better things to do than being angry with you. Each of us has a huge agenda, and while it's comforting for some to jump to the conclusion that we've offended, it's far more likely that the person you're talking with merely has something else going on.

In a digital age, our cues for social or marketing missteps might be mistuned. Sometimes, believe it or not, it's not (always) about us. (On the other hand, and just as often, people are annoyed and don't have a clue...)”

During certain times of the year, many teachers are under stress (and sometimes it seems like it is all year long!). Some teachers get stressed out during testing. Special education teachers get stressed out during IEP season. Many get stressed out during holidays. Music teachers get stressed out before a big musical event. Yearbook teachers get stressed before deadlines and yearbook distribution. The end of the year can also be a major stressor. Let’s face it, there are many reasons to get stressed out.

When this happens, teachers tend to snap at each other.

I have mentioned before that sometimes teachers act like the students they teach. I have had to listen to many teenage girls who were crying because their friend was mad at them. When I sat both of them down, I found out that the friend was not mad and had no idea why the girl thought this way. This has also happened with teachers. As head of the department, I have had to act as a mediator between two teachers. It all started as a misunderstanding and one teacher felt that the other was “mad” at her. (I really tried hard not to roll my eyes!).

I have had a principal snap at me before and I wondered what I had done wrong to make him angry. Then later, when I approached him warily, he acted like nothing was wrong. In fact, I don’t think he had any clue that he had snapped at me. Maybe I perceived it in a wrong way. When I mentioned it to him (he was a great communicator and I had no problem sharing things like this with him), he told me that he didn’t think that he had been angry with me but he might have been angry or worried about something else and didn’t realize that he spoke sharply to me.

I think the best way to handle this is to talk to that person. I have always felt that communication was the key.

Sometimes we perceive things one way only to find out that in reality, the opposite was true. But the only way to feel better is to get it out in the open. If I walk around with hurt feelings about something, it only festers like a bad sore. In fact, it will only get worse.

I just need to realize, as Seth Godin says, “it’s not always about me!

Have you ever felt this way? How did you handle it?

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Dave Wants You'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/20858368@N00/105497713 by: Chris Owens


gail said...

I just LOVE seeing your posts in my reader each morning and this post prompts a reply. I teach kindergarten children and it's a critical part of my teaching to help them work on problem solving skills. Little children cry quite easily. It's part of their developmental makeup to vent in that way. It's only as we get older that we really use emotions like anger. So, to make a long comment short, yes - have the parties talk with each other. Be sure both sides get to share their perspective as even the guilty party has a story to tell that may help them and others see what they did in new light.

Abimbola said...

Cheers, great post.

Worth remembering "it's not always about me"

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