In response to the 1/27/15 post, “A Stressed Out Staff,” a reader writes:

This is absolutely absurd. There is no empathy in this article. This is more “blame the teacher” propaganda. If a school staff is supposed to be a team, this completely undermines that idea. Encouragement and stress relief is what is needed. Support and an empathetic ear are what are needed. Sometimes all a teacher needs is encouragement and a chance to vent.

SC Response First, thank you for writing that you disagree with the post.  I was actually sharing with a LYSer earlier this week that I was getting a little concerned that we weren’t hearing from anyone with a contrary position.

Second, I went back and reread the post and want to take your critique line by line.

A. “This is absurd.” The facts are not absurd.  The facts are the facts.  There was an AP that was concerned about staff complaints. We went to observe teachers, on this particular campus, to better determine the source of the teachers’ stress to better support the complaining teachers. The instructional practices observed were, at best, lower yield.

B. “This is “blame the teacher” propaganda.” Far from the case, I am a public education advocate.  What I am not is a public education apologist.  When we are on our game, I won’t back down. And when we aren’t doing what we should, I will not sugar coat it.  What we do as public educators, every day, is too important to abide half measure on any day.

C. The post “undermines the idea of staff as team.” To the contrary, it completely supports the idea.  What undermines the idea of “staff as team” is leadership allowing those working for the team to also carry the weight of those not working for the team. That would be a form of leadership failure and only benefits those taking advantage of the team.

D. “Encouragement and stress relief is what is needed.”  Agreed.  For those who are engaged in doing the work as required.  For those who are not, they must be encouraged to engage and implement their training, because by not doing so, their stress is self-inflicted.

E. “Sometimes all a teacher needs is encouragement and a chance to vent.” Agreed, and I even wrote as much…”Don’t confuse the stress of focused purpose with the stress of lazy practice.  One is addressed with empathy and support.  The other is addressed with honest communication and monitored expectations.”

I just point out a leader must recognize that “guilt stress” requires a different response than “pressure stress.”

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