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With Difficult People
(This information may come in handy when dealing with school officials. It’s important to know the other party’s plan of action.)
“Nintey-four percent of the people surveyed in the 1995 Annual California Education Survey said they were concerned about public education,” said Tom DeLapp, ACSA assistant executive director of communications membership. “Most of those people share the misperception that public education is failing.” Speaking with these people to alter their perceptions through facts and truth isn’t easy.
"Administrators share the unenviable position of having just about everybody think they know how to do their job better than they do,” said DeLapp. “Everybody thinks they are an expert on schools and education because they went to school. When administrators talk with people, they often speak to those who think they already know the answers."
the personality type
on equal terms
and don’ts (partial listing)
COPING WITH QUESTIONS: FIVE BASIC RESPONSES
Respond only: Flat answers prompt more questions and “yes” and “no” answers mean that you are victim of their questions, playing on their field.
Respond and insert: Answer and elaborate with information not directly called for… this will establish you as the expert.
Insert and respond: Preface your answer with reflections or information… set the stage. This is a great way to break bad news.
Insert only: If you’re not going to answer the question, then you’d better make the content of your alternative good.
Ignore: Go on as if the question was never asked.
WHEN A PRESSURE GROUP COMES KNOCKING
Summarized from article in “The School Administrator,” Oct. ‘93
DON’T BE STAMPED INTO AN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE
DON’T TAKE MORE TIME AND EFFORT TO RESPOND TO A REQUEST THAN ANY STAFF PERSON OR BOARD MEMBER CAN GIVE TO EVERYONE IN THE COMMUNITY IF OTHERS ALSO MAKE THE SAME REQUEST
DON’T TRY TO PROVE THAT TEXTBOOKS, CURRICULAR MATERIALS OR TEACHING METHODS ARE THE BEST
DON’T EXPECT TEACHERS TO DEAL WITH INTENSE CRITICISM ALONE OR WITHOUT THE OPTION OF RELEASE TIME
DON’T DENY ACCUSATIONS WITHOUT EXPLANATION AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE CONCERN
DON’T BE DEFENSIVE, CYNICAL, SARCASTIC OR IMPOLITE OR TRY TO HANDLE EVERYTHING YOURSELF
DON’T HESITATE TO GET AN OPINION OF LEGAL COUNSEL BEFORE RESPONDING
DON’T FORGET THAT THE BOARD OF EDUCATION NEEDS TO BE KEPT INFORMED OF UNUSUAL, LARGE VOLUME REQUESTS FOR MATERIALS
DON’T TRY TO FORSEE THE RIGHT RESPONSE OR ANSWER TO EVERY SITUATION
How To Disrupt The Delphi Technique, tips on how to protect yourself from those who would use the "Delphi Technique."
How To Deal With Difficult Parents describes how some administrators are trained to deal with questioning, opposing and dissenting individuals.
Dealing With Difficult People, the information referenced in "How To Deal With Difficult Parents" from the Association of California School Administrators, EDCAL - Volume 25, - April 22, 1996
Unmasking The Crime Against Parents: In many ways, the experiences described in this article about Plano, Texas parallel those encountered by parents and community members in Reading, Massachusetts. Reading school administration "mantra" says one thing but their actions reveal a different intent.
Guide For Recognizing Political / Social Control Tactics - Useful
for recognizing the tactics of some school officials and school administrators.