About Ginny Hoover...
Ginny Hoover took an early retirement after 31 years of teaching in Kansas public schools. Her experience spans the 5th through 8th grades. During the last ten years she has functioned as a trainer of teachers in a variety of areas in her district, surrounding districts, professional organizations, and teacher service centers. At the state level Ginny is a state trainer for the KS State Writing Assessment (based on the Six Traits Writing Model), a member of the Kansas Social Studies Committee for writing the social studies standards, benchmarks, and indicators, and the lead trainer for the state in government and civics.
Recently, Teacher TimeSavers published a variety teaching units and tutoring hookups that Ginny wrote and designed. These include a Six Traits materials, literary unit for Taming the Star Runner, Hookups for Language Arts, Transcripts of Trials for Goldilocks, The Wolf, and Mr. Dad, and Tactile/Kinesthetic Activity Patterns.
The Gifts of Children by Hoover and Carroll Killingsworth, a book about recognizing, acknowledging, and refining the gifts of children, is scheduled to be published some time this year. Visit Teachers Helping Children--The Gifts Project for additional information.
Joyce McLeod, Jan Fisher, and Ginny will soon have a classroom management book to be published by ASCD. It will cover managing time and space, managing the classroom, and managing instructional strategies.
The Gifts of All Children
by Carroll Killingsworth and Ginny Hoover
The Eclectic Teacher
by Ginny HooverDealing with the Back Stabbers and Happy Haters
Until you have been the target of a back stabber or happy hater, you cannot understand the damage inflicted by such characters. Even if you understand that their tirades and/or innuendoes are based on their insecurities, it doesn't make the target any less humiliated and embarrassed. Sometimes these attacks are face on attacks…and sometimes the attacks are behind the back and well-meaning friends tell you about the attacks.
When I think about surviving a cruel word assault, a "cheerleader" beginning of the year speaker for our school district said something wise that stuck with me all these years. He said (and I'd give you the name if I remembered) that people needed to learn to distinguish between the "important" and the "urgent." Important decisions/events/actions will make a difference today and our future tomorrows. Urgent decisions/events/actions are important for the day…and will have little to do with our futures.
Back stabbers and happy haters deal with the "urgent." But if we let them, they can also deal with the "important." If we allow the damage to be permanent, then we give greater power to them. Yes, there is the humiliation and embarrassment, but we must move on. It is tempting to think about revenge, but that will only make things worse and perhaps snowball an incident into a war.
I do not advocate ignoring the bullies. It doesn't work. I do suggest that you pick your battles.
When taken on face to face decide on whether to deal with it immediately, deal with it in private, or to let it go. Know that you have these choices and these choices give you power!
The decision should be based on the importance of the attack to you and the possible success of the maneuver. Sometimes the back stabbers and happy haters sabotage their efforts by going too far, and without any action by the target (notice I'm avoiding the word victim) the perpetrator comes out of the situation looking the bully he/she actually is. The target wins without any action---I'm not saying that the humiliation and embarrassment doesn't exist…but it is temporary for the target, but very few will forget the cruelty of the back stabber or happy hater, and that is a loss for him/her. There will be a loss of respect, replaced by fear. (If he/she can do that to one target, it can happen again!)
In any action to counteract the cruelties, make sure it is NOT a reaction. That takes on the flavor of revenge or ineptitude in dealing with the back stabber and happy hater.
Plan well. When you decide to act, make sure you are not making yourself even more vulnerable.
Do not turn yourself into a bully. Most bullies were past targets of bullies…and their over reactions, their efforts at self protection changed them.
The Life of a Teacher , a Gazette article I wrote, includes lists of ways to deal with "happy haters." It would be a good review of ideas.
Every situation is different. But knowing your enemy (and they are enemies) and his/her motives will help determine what actions to take. I think that many of the philosophies of Love and Logic could be used to defuse certain situations. Think about it before you do anything. Remember to act, not react. Remember not to escalate the conflict by bringing others into situation. A "them" against "us" can really become a trial.