My mom was a teacher in a private school for a good many years. In fact for a short time I had to endure all the trials and tribulations of being a teacher's kid. She modeled great tolerance for her students and by most respects was a good teacher but when it came to adults and especially the colleagues she taught with that was another story. Look out if you did not agree with Mrs. Hoffman's view of how to teach. She is my mom and in the spirit of tolerance I will leave it at that. One might share similar flaws in myself. We all have them.
Are we that much different? How did your last faculty meeting go? In my experience it can be a pretty rough place where teachers are very short and rather crass with one another. Dare I say a bit intolerant! Remember the last time one of your colleagues shared an innovative idea only to be shot down and run over? I wonder why it looks so different in our faculty gatherings then in our all accepting classroom environments? Recently, while sitting at lunch with colleagues I learned our high school had been named the best high school in Vermont by Newsweek Magazine. I replied how wonderful that is and asked my colleague what criteria were used. Another colleague starring me down replied immediately with an air of sarcasm, "What criteria were used to determine the teacher of the year?" It was a remark that was off topic, unexpected, and like an arrow it pierced my heart. How did this happen I thought. I could see in her eyes that she has endured a lot of pain in her journey. I went home sad and reflecting quite a bit. A dear friend shared with me; "People who have been hurt usually hurt others."
In the end my hope for my colleague is that she be healed of any pain she is feeling emotionally. If we were to treat each other half as well as we treat our students we would experience a changed climate for the better. Educators often feel emotionally squeezed from both ends. Parents, administrators, negative community sentiment, school boards, politicians, lack of time for our own families etc... Amidst so much turmoil at school it is not uncommon for teachers to take time off in order to regain their emotional health or in desperation just leave the profession.
I think we can take better care of one another. I would challenge you gently, to make it a priority to be more tolerant of your colleagues. Unconditionally accept your colleagues like you do your students, without judgement. Welcome each of their differences of opinion. Celebrate the diversity in thought and styles that exist and see if in doing that you feel just a little bit lighter and happier!