Imagine a work place where everyone is supportive, understanding, efficient, and on time. The reality is that sometimes people 'see' what others 'do' and find it lacking. How do you reply to a colleague that criticizes others in the office? Not everyone is able to see the whole picture. People view life through different lenses. Some folks are definitely out of focus. But we all help make the world go round. I'm not really referring to office gossip, but to comments folks make about other's work. Why do they think they can judge? How does it help? How does it hurt?
You frame the question well. Whether we voice our concerns about the quality of our colleagues' work or not, we all confront moments when our immediate reaction is to judge. How we handle this initial inclination says more about us than it does about the quality of our colleagues' work. Do we see our colleagues as fixed entities, incapable of growth and improvement? Or do we see our colleagues, ourselves and our school as dynamic minds and souls, capable of closing the gap between the reality-in-the-moment and ultimate potential as teachers, learners and community? My strategy is to voice my assumption that we are all learners and growing to those who grouse about the work of another colleague. Then I encourage my grousing colleague to risk sharing his/her observations with the "offending" teacher and to open up a space for growth.
Thanks Mike. It is strange that teachers are not always supportive of their colleagues. I appreciate your suggestion..."Have you spoken to "x" about your concern?" might just be the right thing to say.