Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Cheering on the Demise of One’s Own School

By on May 31, 2008

It seems that at every school there is always a small minority of teachers that don’t seem to like teaching, or kids, for that matter.  And putting in more then the minimum is unheard of.  But beyond that there seems to always be that one tenured teacher who actively cheers on the demise of one’s own school.

We’ve got this teacher at my school that is absolutely gleeful at its failings.  You can see him sitting in the faculty lounge or the coffee room kicking back and loudly monologuing about our principal’s one slip up or another, at the district’s latest gaff, a student population’s seeming inability to improve, a teacher’s unfortunate circumstance, or a child’s run-in with discipline.

This isn’t just venting, mind you, this is loudly enjoying the failings of a school striving to be better than good.  It is as demoralizing and choking as walking into a cloud of smog.

This teacher doesn’t problem solve, doesn’t bring advice to the table, and doesn’t pull his weight.  He’s never showed up to an IEP, never done any adjunct duties, never kept silent during a faculty meeting.  In fact, he actively has heckled colleagues.  There’s a no iPod rule at school, but he wears them daily as a flaunt to both the students and administration.

This is the teacher that, under our previous principal, worked hard to bring the union in when he was being observed more frequently than his contract dictated he had to be.  This was the teacher who released his class early one day to leave in protest of how he was being treated, and walks around with, I kid you not, a perpetual frown just to look particularly fierce.

As a colleague I normally don’t put my path in front of him.  He’s a troll under the bridge and I merely choose to cross another trestle.  Many times when he walks by and his wake of anger and bitterness ripples the air around me, I find myself thinking, “At least I don’t have to wake up as him every day.”

I do have a concern that someone that unhappy and that verbal with his colleagues about his unhappiness is bound to be sharing it inappropriately with the students.  Whether they overhear his disrespect or he blatantly lets the cat out of the bag, I certainly don’t trust that he role-plays support.

So my question is this:  What role do these downers play in our schools and what can be done about them?

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