I’m regularly pointing out to School Leaders that language is the primary driver of any culture, including a school culture.
Every word spoken by any stakeholder in your school is a vote for the kind of culture they are creating.
And yet, it’s still commonplace for staffrooms to be considered exempt from cultural contribution, as if some cone of silence has encapsulated it. Let me be clear – it isn’t exempt.
If you have folk in your staffroom speaking about other key stakeholders – colleagues, students or their parents/carers – in a disparaging way then their vote for your school culture is for toxicity, harm and blame.
And if you walk by it without challenge, then you’re endorsing that vote with your silence.
Some staff members claim the staffroom to be their sanctuary and a place where they can vent or blow off steam. I’ve even heard some educators claim that being able to do so is critical for their mental health. What absolute garbage.
If you need to badmouth any member of your school community to preserve your sanity, you can do it while walking the dog or while stuck in traffic.
Our staffrooms should be places where we chat, laugh, support and empathise.
And if you’re saying things that would do anything other than that for a person who’s not in the room … then buy a dog.
Keep fighting that good fight.
PS. An easy way to have support and empathy manifest in your school in a tangible way is to make it a restorative school. I’m speaking from experience here. And so, I’m running a FREE webinar on “How To Implement Restorative Practices” on Thursday 25 August at 1pm and you’d be nuts if you didn’t register at this link.
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