Colleagues or Accomplices?

When I attended my local Palliser District Teacher’s Convention on February 21, I had the chance to listen to keynote speaker Dr. Peter Jensen.  He is mostly involved in coaching and psychology and has spoken about his times with the Canadian World Junior Hockey team and mentioned other athletes such as Christine Nesbitt.  He spoke on motivation and how to achieve it.

One of the things he spoke about was the difference between having friends vs having accomplices.  The example he gave was this:

If you are on a diet and find yourself in a situation where you are surrounded by a bunch of pizza, a friend will support you in not eating the pizza and will help you find other food.  An accomplice will say things like, “Oh come on.  It’s only one or two slices.  You’ve been so good this week, a little cheating won’t hurt……”  An accomplice actually hurts you or sabotages you (although they don’t necessarily mean to and may not even realize they are doing so).

It made me think about my staff.  As a teacher are you surrounded by colleagues or accomplices?

We’ve all been there.  There’s a difficulty facing our profession/staff/school/students and it’s tempting to sink into the pits of despair and being to commiserate.

Colleagues will challenge your thinking, try to come up with potential solutions, and investigate an issue to its fullest extent before decisions are made.  They might encourage you in your own thinking and will really sit and listen to you as you speak about the issue.

Accomplices will commiserate with you.  Nod their head while others list off the thousand reasons why things won’t work instead of putting efforts into figuring out how they might be possible.  Will shoot down potential ideas.  Won’t really be interested in listening to anyone else unless they have the same opinion.  Will listen to others only so they can poke holes and point out the flaws and faults they see while ignoring the possibilities.

So I ask you…..are you a colleague?  Or an accomplice?


About Cherra-Lynne Olthof

I've been a middle school teacher for my entire career (which began in 2001). Like my students, I too am a life long learner. My goals include helping my students to achieve their goals, support them in their learning, and to encourage them to think "beyond the grade".
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One Response to Colleagues or Accomplices?

  1. Hi Cherra-Lynne,
    Very excellent post which all teachers should read. I have some ways you can ramp up your impact on your activities to generate understanding by parents so they can lend their voices to real and meaningful political support of teachers. You hit so many nails on the head here in your blog. I would love to arrange a phone call with you to see if I might be of help to you.

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