Working with Different Personality Types

Five personality types that you might find on your teaching team and how to best work with each of them!
Teaching teams attract all kinds of personality types, some positive and some negative. When you work with a difficult teammate it can have a dire impact on your work and personal life. Identifying some common difficult personality types and how to work with them can really save you a headache.

The Negative Nancy

Negative Nancy has a bad attitude towards everything and everyone. This makes it difficult to do any type of collaborative planning or work. She also doesn't care for change and will complain about every little thing that comes up. 

Instead of writing Nancy off, try and figure out what is causing the negativity. Is your teammate bored or maybe in over their head? Do they have something going on in their personal life that is affecting them at school? Take the time to truly listen to what they have to say without trying to be a problem solver. Then work together to find a solution. 

Debbie Downer

Debbie Downer is terrible about being self deprecating. They are often a perfectionist and hardest on themselves when they don't reach their lofty goals. In order to protect themselves from failure they often seek a group consensus on everything and are hesitant to make decisions on their own. 

Debbie Downers are generally very hard workers who need help in recognizing their accomplishments. Give them a chance to shine by completing tasks they are good at and praising their effort and success. 

By giving these coworkers a plan to follow and providing clear communication they are able to thrive in and out of the classroom. 

Loner Larry

Loner Larry knows everything they need to know in order to be a great teacher and doesn't ask for , appreciate, or want your feedback. They prefer to work on their own and potentially take credit for your ideas on the off chance that they use them. 

There are so many things that we do as teachers that just aren't possible without the support of a team. As the saying goes, "It takes a village," and while these teammates may not want our help they will need it at some point. 

Five personality types that you might find on your teaching team and how to best work with each of them!
By making purposeful choices within your team to collaborate and show Loner Larry how well it can work they will have no choice but to join in. Celebrate their efforts to be part of the team by making a point to listen and use their ideas and then provide them with feedback on how they worked in your classroom. 

Missing Melinda

Missing Melinda is always late to meetings and yet still sneaks out early. They are also the first one to call in sick or ditch duty. They are hallmarked by not appreciating others' time, but constantly complain about having to do something outside of contract hours. 

Tardiness is a big buzzkill. I mean, no one wants to sit through another meeting, but really no on  wants to sit and wait for the latecomer to get there either. Speak frankly with this teammate about valuing one another's time and practice what you preach. If you say that team planning is from 3-4 on Thursdays then stick to that. 

Nick the Know It All

Nick the Know It All has been there and done that. They know every answer to every situation and aren't afraid to tell you how you should have handled that difficult student, yet they never seem to actually help.  Basically Nick the Know It All is an armchair quarterback. 

While these teammates can get frustrating really fast, they are also a fountain of knowledge that can't be dismissed. You may wish that they had better timing with their suggestions and feedback, but hey, at least they are trying to help. Embrace their ideas and let them know how much you appreciate their help. 

At the end of the day you don't get to choose your teammates, but you do get to choose how you interact with them! 

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