Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Golden Rule

As y'all know I've been substituting in hopes of finding a permanent teaching position. Substituting is humbling experience. Last school year I was a awesome talented teacher with my own classroom and this school year I am a lowly sub. I have accepted my lower position because I'm not 'bout this unemployed life. However I didn't expect to get treated like a flunky. 

Recently I was subbing for a teacher. She was in the classroom preparing to leave when I arrived. She gave me the instructions for her classes. As the teacher was leaving she said "you can sharpen these pencils and put it in this box." 


I wish I could replicate the tone in which she said it. I'm so proud that I just smiled and bit back the smart-ass response I had. I have a Master's Degree in Education. I am certified to teach in two states. I taught in one of the roughest school districts in the country. And clearly she didn't care about any of that...

I would never ask another adult to sharpen pencils especially in that rude ass way she said it. I always treated my substitutes with respect. I went out of my way to get to know them. I wanted them to feel included in the school atmosphere.  I left them completely detailed notes. Sometimes I even left them treats because I you need it when dealing with my students. 

I wonder how people treat administrative assistants? Or janitors? Or servers? The "helpers" of the world sometimes get treated poorly because of some perceived hierarchy. 

I use to hate going to carry outs because of how the customers treated the servers. I never understood how berating the person serving the food was a good idea. I got recognized at a Subway restaurant -not because I was there often, but because I was the nicest person they encountered. I am always polite and say please and thank you. 

One of the things you learn as a journalist is be nice to everyone especially admin assistants. They can make or break you. They can easily "forget" to pass along your message or they can get you valuable inside information. 

But beyond getting things from someone it is just plain good manners to treat people with respect. When I was a child my mom made sure I said please and thank you. It was drilled into my head to treat others as I would want to be treated. That meant always being polite even if I was in a shitty mood. It seems that as we get older we stop being polite. We can't be bothered to say please and thank you.  

Someone told me politeness doesn't work in the business world. People who are polite are not seen as powerful and tough. I don't think that is true. You can balance being tough and polite. You can reprimand an employee without being disrespectful. You can have you assistant get your coffee- actually never mind that's rude. Get your own coffee. 

The Golden Rule still works! If we all would try to remember it maybe the world would be a better place. 

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