When I first got this assignment I thought ‘how easy, ’ but I was wrong. I soul-searched long and hard, I doubted some of my own beliefs and had several great conversations about non-negotiables. After pondering long and hard, my answer became simple; don’t be a jerk. However, I am writing for a professional audience and defining a goal of what can be done is better than say what can not be done. When we deal with other people in our life, not matter what the age, we must act with respect. After all, whether in the classroom, school, or community we are all on the same team. Because of this connection we should operate with a “Win / Win” mindset. Let me say my non-negotiable in another way, my line in the sand is this then;
When the horrific events of September 11th occurred, our nation fell into a state of shock. But as the days and weeks passed many voices began to be heard, and not all of them were kind. There were many people who openly expressed anger, hatred, and fear. As I went about my day, I began to say “We are all on the same team.” This was my mantra to remind myself that whoever I encounter throughout my day, this person and I are both part of the same experience. Healthy work environments foster this team mindset, unhealthy environments do not. The same is true for a school or classroom that everyone on a school’s campus is on the same team. Stepping onto campus one can quickly get a feeling when the school’s culture fosters unity.
In the work environment, factions can be created. The same inter-office conflicts happen in education. Some educators have an attitude of ‘teachers versus students.’ An “us versus them” mindset just does not work. Covey (1989) teaches that the way to be successful with others is to have a “Win / Win” approach. This is the nature of education, both the teacher and the student working together toward success. When one is stuck with Win / Lose fame of view there is the need to have the other person, or group, be the loser. However, too many professional educators are stuck in the Win / Lose paradigm. If educators embrace the idea that students and teachers can win together, then new and exciting lessons happen in the classroom
Covey, S. R. (1989). The seven habits of highly effective people: Restoring the character ethic. New York: Simon and Schuster.