Every school has a staff culture. Every school’s staff has a certain ‘way of doing things’. Some staff cultures are fabulous. Some are downright horrible. I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum, and everything in between.
What is the staff culture like in your school?
What words would you use to describe the staff at your school? How do you treat each other? What kinds of relationships do you have with each other? Is it an enjoyable working environment?
As I reflect on the various school staffs that I have observed and/or been part of, I can identify three important choices that teachers make in order to develop a healthy staff culture.
Choice 1: Choose kindness over judgment.
One of the quickest ways to undermine a healthy staff culture is for people to swiftly judge the actions of others rather than ‘giving them the benefit of the doubt’. People’s motives are more often pure than they are divisive, and it would serve everyone well if we believed the best about each other. Our default response must always lead towards kindness, and not judgment.
Choice 2: Choose responsibility over blame.
So often in schools I see teachers quickly and consistently passing blame to others (their leader, another staff member, the principal etc) without taking any personal responsibility for themselves. Healthy staff cultures develop when each person is deliberate about owning their own contribution and takes personal responsibility for their actions and behaviours.
Choice 3: Choose growth over idleness.
Unfortunately, we have all witnessed the teacher who refuses to change their ways. They seem to be ‘stuck’ in how they have always done it and they don’t want to change it anytime soon. They are idle. A healthy staff culture is characterized by growth: learning new things, developing skills, and reflecting on progress in order to learn and grow even more. Growth is attractive and it is also contagious. We all benefit from the professional growth of others. It really is fantastic. Choose growth over idleness.
Healthy staff cultures create healthy, vibrant school environments. Make these three simple choices and you are well on your way to experiencing this kind of environment for yourself and your team.
Enjoy the journey,
And more importantly,
Enjoy the moments.
Question: What do you find most enjoyable/most challenging about the staff culture of your school? Leave your comments here.