Michael in Fort Worth: Addressing Conflict on Staff

Michael’s Pics from Week One: Click for the gallery

As a great deal of undergoings must overcome some barriers (often around the halfway point), so too must Fort Worth. Indeed, there has been some “drama”. However, it is important to keep in mind that in an internship like this one, most everyone is doing the program because they truly want to help make a difference in the lives of middle school students. It has been very helpful for me to keep in mind that most people here are so dedicated to the program that small details become large issues because most everyone takes his/her job very seriously.

The stress and the average 3-4 hour nights of sleep make conflict more likely, but conflict is also perpetuated by most everyone taking his/her job very seriously and having different ideas about how to perform his/her job. The particular conflicts that seem to most often arise are contained within the different teams and result from different ideas represented within the teams about how to best benefit the students. (At Fort Worth, we are all divided into teams which are named after different colleges. Our team Texas Christian University. We’re the Horned Frogs. Most teams are either named after a school in Texas or an Ivy League school. ) I believe that the majority of the conflict is healthy and just reminds everyone to always work hard. Obviously, people are going to have different ideas, priorities and values when it comes to teaching. In order to truly make the experience your own it is paramount to represent your ideas and priorities within your lesson plans and in team meetings. If you don’t, then you risk not fully exploring the classroom for yourself, not fully testing your own ideas and lessons on the incredibly demanding minds of middle school students and not feeling like your classroom belongs to you.

The best advice concerning conflict I could give to anyone doing this program is: be ready to always defend your ideas with regard to lesson planning, discipline and your right to be creative in the classroom.

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