We All Compete
It is human nature to compete. I always thought when I became a teacher in a school, I would be amongst colleagues who had a sense of respect and camaraderie. Although we do have a sense of respect for one another, there is a lingering sense of competition, sabotage, and jealousy that occurs within a community of educators. I truly believe for many educators, the kids are the #1 reason why we teach. And they can still be the #1 reason, even with the competitiveness.
Turn Your Desire to Be Better into a Desire for Excellence
I try to not let it get to me, but I am going to be honest, people get annoying. And because people are annoying, I feel the need to outdo them. So what is it about competition that drives us to be better every single day? And how can we channel the need to be better into a desire for excellence? Because trying to outdo someone is exhausting. That could have been energy that I could have spent on my kids, or my life outside of work.
I have spent the last couple of years not caring AT ALL about competing with other teachers. And it’s made me a better teacher! I know my worth, and I know I am a valuable asset to a school.
Here’s a little story for you. Maybe you can relate.
There was a teacher on my team who took everything I created for my class for a certain component of our day. She made sure the principal saw what she was doing with my materials I had created, and got tons of kudos for it in a group email. Although I could have stressed myself out to the max, I just let it go. Who cares? Because I knew at the end of the year, my test scores would reflect my efforts. I didn’t need a shout out, and affirmation that I was doing a great job. I am just going to continue doing what I do.
Want to read more? Here are some coping strategies!
1. Ask yourself if it’s going to matter in 1 week, 1 month, 1 year, etc.
If it won’t be an issue in the future, don’t spend a second on it now.
2. Let people have the spotlight.
If someone did a great job, or takes credit for something you did, let them have the spotlight. They obviously have deeper issues to require that kind of constant affirmation.
3. Find your outlet.
Whatever it is, find something that is better than worrying about someone outshining you. For me, blogging is my outlet. Once I started blogging, nothing was an issue anymore. If the people I was required to be around at work didn’t make me a better teacher, I found other people around the world to learn from.
If you are interested in joining, I have a Facebook group with amazing teachers and conversations!
5. Achieve greatness on your own terms.
Don’t do it any other reason other than for yourself, and your students. It’s okay to want to achieve greatness, but don’t do it because of a select few teachers on campus.
6. Help others.
When you are able to help other people, you rise above the need to compete. Show others that excellence can be achieved through hard work and cooperation. Not competition.
7. Don’t be accessible to those that put you down.
If someone passive aggressively judges you through common conversation, just let them talk. I understand two can play that game, but sometimes, disagreeing will do nothing but give them more fire. Limit your time with these people. There was someone on my team who would belittle me and play devils advocate on things I (and my team) would say and/or do with my/our kids. Everything had an unsolicited response from this teacher. I just made sure to limit our contact time.
8. Celebrate with your students.
This goes back to why we became teachers in the first place. We didn’t do it because of other faculty, our administration, or policymakers. We did it because of the kids. Celebrate victories with them, as they will be more excited than anyone to share celebrations with their very special teacher.
Whatever you do, just make sure you are doing things for you, and not for anybody else. Take your energy and put it into an area of your life that matters! I would love to hear if you have any coping strategies for avoiding that competitive side in the workplace! If you liked this post, be sure to pin or share it with your teaching friends!