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Volume 4 Number 6

Teachers.Net and I, by chance, became high-tech links in the chain of people and events that cracked the Chinese government's tight lid on its emerging SARS epidemic
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June Columns
June Articles
June Regular Features
June Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:

Letters to the Editor...
The Nurturing of Our Peers

The Nurturing of Our Peers: Teachers Should
Practice the Same Empathy, Respect and
Social Skills We Teach Our Children.

Dear Editor,
As a new teacher in my late
thirties, I am eager to teach and enjoy the
profession of Education. I have an amazing
relationship with my students and their
parents, and each time a student learns
something new or begins to construct
meaning, I am filled with happiness and I
experience the rewards of teaching. I
realize that as a new teacher, I may be
idealistic, however, I am stunned and
disappointed with the experience I received
from many of my peers. I assumed that
teachers were nurturing, and many teachers
do nurture. There are times, however, when
teachers treat each other negatively as
they develop cliques and thrive in
unfriendly attitudes and unprofessional
behavior. Many times, these behaviors are
simply accepted as the rest of the school
ignores the problem in order to avoid
political suicide, or remains unaware.
I have visited many elementary
schools as a parent, student teacher and
volunteer. I have witnessed many building
cultures and listened to many forms of
gossip. During these visits, I have
experienced drastic differences in climates
from warm and welcoming, to insincere and
unfriendly, and always questioned what
factor contributed to the differences.
My first two years of teaching lead
me to the most difficult experience
imaginable. Though many teacher were kind
and supportive, there was a definite power
structure within the frameworks of the
building, especially in my grade level. I
discovered first hand how difficult life
could be as a teacher in an unfriendly
environment, even when your classroom
experience is ideal and your students are
thriving academically and emotionally.
Because of this experience, I would like to
research this phenomenon of teachers
forming cliques and being unkind to each
other. I would like to hear what other
teachers have experienced and address this
issue in order for excellent teachers to
continue in this field without leaving from
the bullying behavior of other teachers.
Many readers may be annoyed with this idea
because teachers face so much criticism in
the media today. There may also be
teachers who have not experienced this
behavior in the staff room or throughout
the school, and I am in no way saying that
this negative behavior happens everywhere
and at all times.
My goal is not to add a new set of
concerns to the teaching profession. It is
to address an existing problem by asking
questions and formulating solutions. For
example, what makes a particular school
building welcoming or clique happy? What
can we do as teachers to survive in a world
where collaboration means ‘doing what
everyone else does because that is the only
way that is acceptable’? How can we
proceed with our professional growth
when ‘best practices’ are dictated by a
few people rather than education-centered
data and new techniques that don’t meet
with the approval of the ‘leaders’ in the
school? What can we do when the principal
is a large part of this problem? And most
importantly, how can we teach children to
practice empathy, respect and basic social
skills when we treat each other coldly and
unprofessionally, and thrive in gossip?
As I begin my quest to discover answers to
these questions, publish my concerns, and
to survive my own negative experience, I
hope any person with the same concerns will
respond by sending letters and writing
about their experience. Our jobs are
demanding and difficult. We should be
nurturers to each other. We should set
this example for our children.

Thank you,
Shani Wood
Seattle, Washington

Shani Wood,,

This month's letters:

  • Teaching in Virginia, 6/15/03, by Neelu.
  • The Nurturing of Our Peers, 6/09/03, by Shani Wood.
  • Violence and Terrorism, 6/06/03, by Eric Schirhart.
  • Children In Georgia, 6/06/03, by Eric Schirhart.
  • maths, 6/05/03, by venkateswararao.
  • teacher job, 6/05/03, by venkateswararao.


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