In my last post, I discussed how politeness so often gets in the way of effective work.

Today, I want to talk about what’s behind this (false) politeness – avoiding the truth.

In fact, what often presents as politeness is the exact opposite. A veneer of courtesy is used to hide our own fear of confrontation and, ends up being downright rude

The example I used previously demonstrated this. The other teacher, who I had never met, been introduced to, or even knew, came into my room and simply said “I’m just here to observe.” I knew this school had a number of teacher aides and in other schools I had worked in, these aides would often come into the room without introducing themselves. So perhaps she was there to observe a student or group of students. I had no idea. It soon became evident she was there to observe me.

This put me on edge. Was this a normal practice – checking out how the new teacher was going? Or was there some concern about my competence? It would have been nice to know. In any case some prior discussion would have helped set the scene. I’ve been around for quite a while now and my self-image is no longer tied up with any real or perceived view of my competence as a teacher. But in the situation, wondering if your competence is being questioned is hardly likely to engender confidence.

I’m only offering my services as a CRT to do my bit. Because principals are crying out they just can’t get replacement teachers and often have to take classes themselves. I am in a position where I can help out where needed. So I’ve put my hat in the ring. But if people think I no longer have what it takes, I’d like to know. If they came out straight and told me that, I could either work out what I needed to do to lift my game or stop wasting everyone’s time trying.

As it is, I’m left wondering.

This is the trouble when we don’t tell the truth.

We leave thorns in our side. In schools we let teachers who are not up to scratch keep teaching. Or we don’t use the opportunity to provide that teacher a chance to grow. Either way, those who end up suffering most are the students.

And that’s just not acceptable.