Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Adult Reprimanding Adults

In a professional environment, it takes a bit of courage to reprimand a colleague in front of other colleagues, which I suppose is why I've been so surprised to see it happen more than a few times at my new school. I've been even more surprised by the reactions of the people being reprimanded. They've generally been receptive to the correction.

"Ms. Salvador, please don't talk while others are talking." "Yes, sir. Sorry about that."

"Mr. Diaz, let's not criticize others' work right now." "I apologize."

Maybe it's just me, but I think there's an innate blocker of rationality that generally kicks in when you're called out as an adult by another adult in a group of adults. It really doesn't matter how justified the reprimand is, I think most people immediately become defensive and generate negative feelings toward the person calling them out. While they may say they're sorry, they're usually just thinking about how big a jerk the person who called them out is. Even if they have the ability to think about the situation rationally and recognize that they were in the wrong, most people would prefer to spend time thinking about how their actions weren't that bad, and how unnecessary it was to be reprimanded.

This doesn't seem to be the case in the situations I've seen at my school. Teachers genuinely seem apologetic, and they seem to forget about it fairly quickly. I suspect it is merely a coincidence that I've noticed such occasions in the last few weeks, but I've been impressed by the teachers who've swallowed their pride and moved on.

One of the norms set at my school by many of the committees is, "Speak the truth with love," which means, "Be honest, but do it tactfully." I tend to believe that if we were all able to do that, the world might be a little better off.

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