Treat teachers like colleagues, not like subordinates — and never like enemies. If you make friends of your colleagues they can offer marvelous assistance, including:
Watching your class when you visit the restroom
Being a buddy teacher and accepting misbehaving students
Providing you with background information to help with particular students
Attending one of your teacher-parent conferences when you want to present a united front
Letting you vent about various problems
Suggesting ways to improve your teaching methodologies
But if you make enemies of your colleagues, they'll shun you. And one of the surest ways to make enemies is to engage in the worst behavior of all — gossip. Take this mini quiz about gossip.
Gossiping may prove hazardous to my health because:
I may learn later that I've deeply hurt the person I've gossiped about.
The person I've gossiped about may spread rumors about me in retaliation.
The person I've gossiped about may kick me in my behind.
All of the above.
The answer is d. — all of the above. If you gossip about colleagues, you've got only yourself to blame when someone plants a painful kick in your butt. Do not gossip.
In Chinese, gossip is bàng wén. In French, it's commérages. In German, klatsch. In Japanese, zokuwa. In Spanish, chisme. But in any language, gossip can be defined as insulting slander, spread secretly behind a person's back to damage his reputation.
Of course, you can easily avoid gossip by simply never eating lunch with your colleagues, but this raises a crucial question: Should you eat alone or with the other teachers? Eating lunch with your colleagues is a great way to forge professional relationships; however, some teachers are so negative they ruin the entire meal. Whereas, if you eat in your room, you can quietly read a book — but you'll never form any relationships. Therefore, if you can build relationships while sharing meals, do so. But if you need a quiet lunchtime — and if you create other opportunities to bond with colleagues — then use your time for reading and reflection.