20 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL
q Expect People to Treat You Differently
When you’re a teacher, you’re one of the teaching team. You work together,
laugh together, and occasionally complain about the supervisors together.
Although complaints should always go to the person with whom you have an
issue, people who have common jobs usually develop common bonds. That
common bond can create an unintentional separation between teachers and
supervisors. Even when supervisors do everything they can to make staff feel
respected and well treated, there will still be a division by virtue of the differ-
ence in titles, hierarchy, compensation, communication, meetings, and such.
As a supervisor you may still work in the classroom alongside other
teachers doing many of the things they do, but you are still the supervisor,
and because of that you hold a special role and are seen as different by the
staff you supervise. Even those who were or are your friends may treat you
differently than they used to. That’s okay. You do have a new role now and you
will be different. You may not be able to share all the information you once
did because of confidentiality issues. You may be out of the room more often
because of meetings and paperwork. You may not get invited to after-work
social activities, because people may feel they can’t talk freely around you.
Yes, you’re the same person, but in your job, you really are different. You
have different responsibilities and priorities, and often a different level of
commitment to work.
q Work for Respect, Not Approval
In a way, we really do want people to treat us differently. As supervisors, we
want them to follow our lead, consider our suggestions, and complete our
requests. Yet we often feel bad when everyone “doesn’t like us” or “isn’t our
friend.” At work we can certainly be friendly, but we can’t expect everyone to
be our friends, nor will we feel like being friends with everyone.
What should we expect as a supervisor? We should expect others to
respect us but not necessarily to like us or even agree with us all the time. We
should also expect others to feel comfortable questioning our decisions yet
present a united front to families and children. And we should expect oth-
ers to know that we will consistently communicate openly and honestly even
when that means conveying diﬃ cult messages.