‘Having Your Cake & Eating It Too’ – the perfect character ed opportunity

Yes, I’ve seen the movie ‘Mean Girls’.  Yes, I’ve watched a few times. Yes, I can think of some of the times when I was in high school and these scenarios ran across my plate.

Somewhat grown up at this point, and spending almost my entire career in a public school setting, I never thought I would come across someone who had teachers being the ‘mean girls’.

So, who doesn’t love cake?

During faculty meetings in a colleague’s school, its’ typical to have some cake and throw a couple of bucks towards a gift when celebrating a wedding or babies.  Normally averaging about once a year, this year, it’s around six. That’s a lot of cake and cash.

An ’emergency meeting’ was had to discuss this school-wide crisis, as decisions had to be made if they were proceeding with all of the cakes. Or so that’s what many THOUGHT they were voting on.  It turns out that the meeting was to voice objections to having cake and giving a card – because a faction does not like the person.

Seriously.

I heard this, paused, and asked again, “wait… say this again?”

This follow-up meeting was after the fact it was voted on to have one for this person.  A select few proceeded to ‘rally the troops’, and make a case.

“Well, the person doesn’t like me so why should I contribute?”, quipped one teacher.

Said another, “The person will take pictures and tweet it out.  I don’t want to give anyone the impression that we like this person.”

Another teacher said, “You just get tired of fighting.  Everyone just gives in.  That, and not everyone is voting.  Many don’t want to get sucked into this black hole, and quite frankly, I can’t blame them. ”

One teacher said to another, “You’re probably going to get him a card.  If you do, don’t sign my name, and certainly don’t sign it from all of us.”

What ever happened to the notion of “If you don’t want to contribute, don’t sign the card?” Why not let other go ahead and have their cake? And eat their cake?  Can you really not have a cake OR eat it? phew!

Furthermore, who has the time in the day to be stewing over something so minimal as this? When I was teaching, I hardly had time to use the bathroom. And why would you waste all of that energy into something like a cake & card? My opinion – – they are probably deflecting so that others aren’t paying attention to what they are, or are not, doing. Anyway…

The staff meeting was purposely moved so those party logistics could be provided.  The person walked into the meeting thinking there was cake and all the typical hooplah, and nothing was there.  The person was thrown off, but carried on.

As a Superintendent, I can’t even fathom this. How can a group of teachers, charged with educating students in academics and character, be so petty and so, well, ‘mean girlish?’

The allegedly are the same faction of folks who aren’t willing to stay after school for school related stuff (unless paid) but will stay after to discuss who gets a cake and a card?

The only thing I could keep thinking to myself is this:  WHAT IF THOSE TEACHERS TOOK THAT ENERGY & EFFORT INTO PETTINESS AND APPLIED IT TO THEIR LESSONS, ACTIVITIES, AND ACTUAL TEACHING???  

I can only imagine how amazing of a Staff it would be if they did.

In their current position, two books for that staff come to mind are:

shiftingthemonkey
image credit: amazon.com

Click here for book review of Todd Whitaker’s book “Shifting the Monkey”.  Todd’s book goes into the depths of what ‘monkeys’ are (problems & problematic people) and how to deal with them. It’s totally worth scooping up online or reserving in the library.

and

image credit: amazon.com

Click here for a book review of Dave Burgess’s book “Teach Like A Pirate”  Dave’s book is magic.  It’s just a fantastic compilation of what educators can to to be great and what superb educators can do to tweak to the educational peaks of awesomeness.

Of course, no book is the magic bean, but it’s a start on getting to the right path.  That being said, you don’t know what you don’t know. Maybe such behaviors are jus ingrained in a building over years of neglect? I don’t want to go down that path that they did; nobody should be putting that amount of effort into something so petty.

What screams out to me is so many teachable moments from this.  So many types of character education opportunities can arise from this.  If this incident really happened, and the teachers saw this happening to a student (i.e. having a birthday party and then uninviting), I believe most would pounce on the opportunity to delve into a variety of conversations that circulate around being good people.

As I finish this post on MLK day, I wonder what such a leader would think of this.  A champion of education, I believe Dr. King would be reminding those why they are in education in the first place.

So on this day, have some cake.  In fact, have cake everyday.  That’s what the gym in for 🙂

Onward.

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