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Principal Offers Seven Tips on Having Tough Conversations With Teachers

Principal Offers Seven Tips on Having Tough Conversations With Teachers

Being an administrator isn't an easy job, and it can especially be challenging when administrators need to have "tough conversations" with their teachers.

Bill Carozza, principal of Harold Martin Elementary School in Hopkinton, New Hampshire shares seven tips on how to handle these types of conversations in the work place.

"A teacher who has known me for many years, knows that I appreciate my job because of the energy I receive every day from teachers and students," he said. "Yes, Sunday night is not always easy on the soul but once I’m in the building on Monday morning, all is well. I avoid my office as much as possible during school time and work the job in classrooms and hallways.It doesn’t hurt my allegiance to the job that many members of our staff have been together for years and those that have been recently hired have melded in nicely with the family. Truly, it is all about relationships."

According to Carozza, "there are times when we can’t avoid the tough conversations. Good people make mistakes."

"Conflict can happen when perspective and personalities collide. That’s the time the Principal needs to step in and take the conflict head on," he said. "Rick Dufour has stated that Principals should confront those individuals who are not committed to the values of their team or professional learning community.But when you’re in the midst of the conflict with people you care about, having tough conversations is one of the hardest parts of the job. I have not always done it well, but here are some things I’ve learned."

The first thing Carozza learned is to "eat the frog."

"Productivity expert Brian Tracy says that we should tackle our most difficult and important task first thing every morning," he said. "The concept is that if we can 'eat the frog', everything else will seem easy. Don’t wait for the day to go by. Procrastinating may result in your “deciding” not to tackle the issue at all. And, the conflict may fester if you wait too long to intervene."

Another tip Carozza offered is to "listen as much as you can."

"If you want the colleague to change a habit or behavior and be personally reflective, they need to know that you care about their improvement," he said. "Validate whatever response they may have…if it’s valid of course. But listen either way."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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