There’s Nothing Wrong With You

If something is wrong in a school building, if the vibe around you feels off, makes you feel somehow paranoid, or if the energy feels dark in some way, it is likely that there IS something wrong in the building. For years, I concluded from that vibe that there was somehow something wrong with me.

Can you imagine the collective energy in a building with up to 2,500 people in it, and only one gets to be in charge? That means that someone is always looking at you, someone is always above you, judging, and when you start to feel that pressure, that downward energy on your head, when you feel that no matter how hard you work you are capable of making a mistake, then watch out, it may not be you at all. It may be the building.

I never suspected the building. I just trusted that the people working in there, the principal and all, were good people who were there for the best of reasons, to help kids grow up and do what most educators went into the profession for.

But now I see that power corrupts. The only way I was able to really get this idea straight was by moving from a school where the administration put out the dark vibe every day to one where the administration doesn’t, and from a school with blinders on regarding language instruction to a vibrant, honest group of teachers who walk the walk with the current research.

So don’t do like I did for thirty-five years. Don’t just naturally assume there is something wrong with you if the vibe is off in your building. Don’t make the big error of thinking that if you just work harder and do better work, attend enough conferences, work when you should be resting, and all of that stinking thinking, then those administrators will approve of you. If an administrator doesn’t show you unconditional positive regard from the first day, then they never will.



2 thoughts on “There’s Nothing Wrong With You”

  1. Ben-
    You are so spot on with that thought that the dark vibe not only comes from bottom up but trickles down. We got a new admin team this year. The difference is phenomenal! We are respected as professionals. We are supported. We are given meaningful feedback. We as a team have brought our lights out from under the bucket we’d hidden ourselves under. Students can’t feel safe to learn if the teachers don’t feel safe and supported to do what they love and teach fearlessly.

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