BLINDSIDED!

December 10, 2015

Definition: to attack critically where a person is vulnerable

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..Directors who blindside staff are far and away the most despicable sort of people to pollute the international teaching arena. If you’ve ever been blindsided by your school Director, you know just how devastating an attack can be. The modus operandi is to deliver the knock-out punch the day before a long school vacation, thus ruining their victims’ holiday while instilling a sense of insecurity, frustration and anger. Here’s some examples of blindsiding as excerpted from the ISR web site:

I had a sucker punch incident at a school in Thailand. The director left me feeling vulnerable and insecure, asking, “Are you happy here? You seem very negative sometimes. Many of the faculty don’t like you.”

I got a call into the office and was told several parents complained about ‘something’ I had done. The Director would not tell me what I was being accused of doing or which parents complained. He was very, very vague about what they were unhappy about. I left his office confused and angry.

It seems I’m not ‘warm and fuzzy’ enough for the parents at my school. My principal called me in and basically said it could be a potential deal breaker down the line if I don’t fix it.

He said, “I’m getting complaints about you from your colleagues who shall remain unnamed. They’re telling me you don’t make an effort to know them and cultivate their friendship. Some parents complain you are a bit distant.”

ISR wants to know why worthless comments of this type are sprung on teachers who, up to the moment of blindsiding, felt good about their contributions to the school. Do directors blindside teachers to keep them feeling insecure and thus make them yes-men to an inept administration? Is it an underhanded way to get teachers to work harder? Or is it merely an insecure “leader” keeping experienced educators off-balance so they won’t question an obvious inability to carry out their admin duties?

We all welcome the type of criticism from which we can grow as educators. Well intended criticism structured in a way that promotes positive growth is a good thing. But nebulous, vague, unfounded comments that cannot be qualified and intend only to wound, belittle and/or create anxiety have no place in any setting, least of all in an educational institution.

If you work for a blindsider, you have either experienced or witnessed the devastation that lies in their wake. What has your experience been with Directors who blindside educators? How did you deal with it? What advice do you have for teachers who have been blindsided?