When you hear of conflict within schools, you usually think of conflict between the principal and students or parents. The conflict that results between the principal and teachers is often one that is not common knowledge. Without proper conflict resolution the result is that the staff room becomes a very uncomfortable place.
Reasons for Principal and Teacher Conflict
Conflict between teachers and the principal arise for various reasons, including:
- With school closures and the tightening of the system, new staff moves into a school that often don’t agree with the way the principal does things.
- Older staff members are resentful of a young principal.
- Staff members reassigned from other schools may be resentful.
New programs in schools are often the cause of a lot of tension as teachers with 20 or more years experience do not adapt well to change. They are often reluctant to start teaching in a different way.
Some examples of this include:
- Whole language programs
- Resource-based learning
- Teaching according to expectations, rather than covering a specific textbook from cover to cover.
Problems from the top down…
When a principal is used to running the school a certain way the school board hires a new superintendent, things are likely to change. The superintendent puts pressure on the principal to change the way things work in the school. These changes create conflict among teachers who are not willing to change. The result could be that the school board officials come into the school to try to resolve the problems. This only creates more conflict.
Conflict within schools often results in distrust of the system, with teachers blaming the principal and vice versa. Team building is the first step to resolving the conflict. It is essential that the focus of your school is on its main goal of education. Determine your strengths and needs and work to develop a new aura of trust, with effective and efficient communication among all members of the staff.