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School Gossip

Addressing Gossip With Your Faculty/Staff

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A teacher conducts an activity to show her class just how silly gossip can be. She whispers something to a student and then that student whispers it to the next until it had been passed to every student in class. What started as, "We are going to have a long three day weekend starting tomorrow" ended up as, "We will be lucky if three of you aren't killed this weekend." The teacher uses this activity to teach her students why you shouldn’t believe everything you hear and why it is essential to proactively stop gossip instead of helping to spread it.

The lesson above is sadly not limited to the students in the school. Gossip runs rampant in just about any work place, but schools should be somewhere that this should not be as significant of a problem especially among the faculty and staff within the school. However, the truth is that all too often schools are the focal point of gossip in the community. The teacher’s lounge or the teacher’s table in the cafeteria is often the center of where this gossip occurs. It is mind boggling as to why people need to talk about what is going on with other people. Teachers should practice what they preach particularly those who have seen the negative effects gossip can have on a particular student. The effect of gossip can be the same with an adult.

As a teacher, you have so much to worry about within your own classroom that it is hard to understand the need to know what is going on in every other classroom and co-workers lives. Gossip is frustrating because it builds walls between teachers and staff members that need to be working together, but instead they feud because someone said something about the other to someone else. The entire idea of gossip among a school faculty and staff is disheartening. Gossip can split a school's faculty/staff in half and in the end the people who are hurt the worst will be your student body

As an administrator, it is your job to discourage gossip amongst the adults in your building. Gossip creates a large part of your discipline issues with students, and it will create even larger problems within your faculty/staff if it is not dealt with quickly. The key to minimizing the gossip issues amongst your faculty/staff is to educate them on the topic. Show them the bigger picture about the damage that gossip can cause. When it comes to gossip, make sure they know what your expectations are and how you will deal with it when it becomes an issue.

It is also not realistic to have a faculty/staff where there is never any conflict. A policy or set of guidelines must be in place when this happens that leads towards resolution between the two parties instead of division. Encourage your faculty/staff to bring these issues to you and then act as a mediator between the two parties. Having them sit down together and talk out their issues will help. It may not be effective in every case, but it will peacefully solve the majority of conflict issues that you have amongst your faculty/staff. It is better to take this approach than to have them gossiping about it with other members of faculty/staff members which can lead to bigger issues down the line.

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