Your Great But . . . .

criticism 2











I received and email today from one of my administrators ( I have bunch of them) and it was “directed” at my lack of effectiveness in one of my classes.  It was quite interesting! It was the old crummy sandwich, if you know what I mean: compliment, you suck, compliment.  They say you should always give two compliments for each negative thing you say, so this email followed suit.  I wont’t bore you with the details, but it basically the email said some of my students are failing because I didn’t do enough to help them out (that is a gross oversimplification, but it does capture the gist of it).  Now beside being irate at the implication and wanting to “defend” myself, I also am trying to see the cause of the email.  Here is what I have discovered:

  1. The email is built on a false assumption.  The assumption is because I teach GT/Pre AP I can’t relate well to other students.
  2. The email assumed I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing because of a “walk through”
  3. The email was, well and email.  Criticism delivered in writing is ALWAYS a bad idea!
The whole thing put me in a bad way for the remainder of the day.  It shouldn’t.  But it did. Why?  Because humans thrive on connection, positive connection.  We need to be encouraged and appreciated.  Years ago there was a book written called, The Five Love Languages. While the book focused on married couples, it does have crossover for day-to-day connection with those we work with and interact with each day.  Check it out, see what your language is.
So here is what I got out of this whole experience.
  • Face-to-face communication is the only way to deliver a criticism, you need to be able to view body language and listen to tone of voice, you can’t do that with email.
  • Never assume you know everything about someone, you never do and most often your assumptions are wrong
  • And please don’t use the old crummy sandwich, be direct and smile when you speak.  Don’t treat me like a jerk, treat me like a man (or woman).
I would have tolerated this “rebuke” much better had it been done in this manner.  But it did get me to think about how I treat my students.  Am I treating them the way I would like to be treated?  Food for thought, until next time, peace.


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