How to Confront a Colleague

Seriously-face-meme-all-funny A colleague confronted me today about something I’d written in a closed teacher forum. I had been venting about how teachers at my school should use their “educated brain” to figure certain relevant issues out between our union and the district. It wasn’t worded the best way and I sort of forgot about the non-intended audience: my colleagues. I was writing shoulder to shoulder with other union reps who have shared with me similar frustrations. In a way I made a boo boo as a leader, but in another way her confrontation was a worse mistake. What I have learned in education and probably dealing with all people is that you shouldn’t confront someone unless you respect and support them. Letting them know that at the onset is a huge help to both you and them. If you don’t, then don’t confront. Forget it or report it.

If she would have confronted me with a “love sandwich” like “Hi, I appreciate the work you do, here’s one thing I didn’t appreciate though, thanks for the things you do, I hope I can help anytime.” She would have gotten through much better. As it went over, I was upset and she clearly didn’t feel good leaving the conversation. We had some resolution later that day but there was no reason we both couldn’t have felt better about what went down from the start. A love sandwich is the best way to confront someone. If you leave out the love, you might as well not make the criticism. I guess it could be summed up into our mom’s old adage: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Author: Damien Riley

Having been a public school teacher since 1997, I've gained valuable classroom experience. Sometimes a great tool is a dynamite lesson plan. These posts are from a real teaching journey. I hope they inspire you. Thanks for reading!

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