Toll Free: 877-3-iteach | Email:

Dealing with Difficult Staff

Handle Conflict Well

How Teachers Can Deal with Difficult Staff
April 26, 2019 iteachus

Dealing with Difficult Staff

No matter what profession you are in, you will work with others that you may not particularly get along with. This is just a normal part of life. You can not control how others treat you… however, you can control how you handle your side of the interaction.

Before I got my teaching job, I was an Educational Assistant (EA) to two different students in Special Needs. The teacher that I worked for was not a kind person. She decided early on that she did not like me. Luckily, I worked in many other teachers’ classrooms during the day that could vouch for my professionalism and how I was helping my student become successful in a general education setting. I attended Science and Math with a student that had a behavioral IEP and spent the rest of the day with the teacher mentioned above. No other teachers had any complaints about me. I didn’t realize the teacher above had complained about me to the administration team. She created false claims against me, saying I was not helpful to her or the students. She had not discussed her “issues” with me and I was completely blindsided when I was pulled into the principal’s office to discuss the issue. This was my first interaction with a “difficult staff” member. We finished the year working together and everyone survived and that teacher no longer decided to be in education.

Fast forward to when I had my first official teaching job. To my surprise, there was another teacher that was difficult to work with. I was hired in her desired position, as a reading teacher and she was moved to writing, which she did not want to teach. She took her frustration out on me, making it very difficult to enjoy my first year. She added extra stress by stopping in my classroom, critiquing my teaching and berating me in front of my students.

Why am I mentioning these two situations? I know every educator out there has had a less than pleasant situation with a co-worker. How do you handle working with these difficult educators?

  • Focus on your students, your team, and your personal goals.
    The main reason you started working in the education career field was probably not to focus on the drama created by your toxic co-workers. Taking the focus off your toxic colleagues and focusing on your students can help you shift attention to what’s really important. In an article for the “Harvard Business Review,” executive coaches Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins point out that focusing on your work — not the habits or actions of your peers — can be a helpful way to reduce the negative impact of your difficult co-workers. If you allow your co-workers to take center stage, your attention will be compromised and your ability to be aneffective educator may suffer.
  • Be calm
    I know this may seem so simple and ineffective, but trust me, when you are consistently dealing with difficult teacher coworkers, it can zap every ounce of peace you have! Staying calm allows you to clearly think through your next steps in handling struggles with this person. One way to remain calm is not to take things personally. I hear your frustrated sigh. Isee your eyes rolling at that statement. This road is one that I’ve walked. So I am advising this out of my own experience. By allowing my co-workers’ actions and cold comments to become personal, I left work day after day stressed. That led to dread about going to work the next day, even though I loved being a teacher. It is usually impossible to completely avoid these difficult teachers. If that is your situation, repeat to yourself daily, “I may be forced to work with you, but I am not required to like you. I will work with you for the benefit of our students, but you are getting none of the personal real estate I have in my head. I have more positive things to think about.” Most difficult people and situations don’t crop up overnight; more than likely,this person has exhibited signs of being this way to someone else before.
  • Confront your co-worker
    If your co-worker’s behavior continues to bother you and disrupts your work, it may be helpful to have an honest, respectful discussion with them. Although it might seem unlikely, it is possible that your co-worker is unaware of the effects of their actions. In an article for the Wall Street Journal’s “Speakeasy” section, psychologist Meredith Fuller advises being direct and using specific examples to help your co-worker see the consequences of their actions. Next, ask them what they will do to rectify the situation. If things do not improve, you might need to speak to your principal, union representative or another school official to see what furthersteps can be taken to address the behavior.
  • Seek support
    Difficult co-workers can increase your chances of developing the feeling of burnout. When all of your energy is devoted to fending off attacks from negative colleagues, you have little left to give to yourself and your students. According to a study published in 2003 in the “International Education Journal,” teachers who had support from their principals and co- workers had a decreased chance of developing burnout. Whenever possible, increase the time you spend with more uplifting colleagues and cultivate positive relationships with others. This can help lessen the negative impact of these difficult co-workers.

Every interaction with difficult staff members will mold you into a better human being, as well as, educator. You will feel tested daily and you will make it through. Above all else, my advice to a newcomer in education and to experienced teachers, alike, is to try to resolve professional and personal differences in a respectful, appropriate manner. Sometimes adversaries can learn to “agree to disagree” on certain matters, while still maintaining a civil work relationship.

For more resources on dealing with difficult people, check out the links below: 

Crucial Conversations



  1. ETIAS 6 months ago

    Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice while you
    amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog site?

    The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

  2. 4172093330 5 months ago

    Hey very interesting blog!

  3. ESTA 5 months ago

    Highly descriptive blog, I enjoyed that a lot. Will there be a part 2?

  4. upskirt 5 months ago

    It’s wonderful that you are getting ideas from this
    piece of writing as well as from our dialogue made at this place.

  5. bbw 5 months ago

    Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff
    previous to and you are just too fantastic. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you’re saying and the way in which
    you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it
    sensible. I can not wait to read much more from you.
    This is really a terrific site.

  6. hoax website 5 months ago

    Hello! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many
    months of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

  7. phishtank warning 5 months ago

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your weblog.
    You have some really great posts and I believe
    I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off,
    I’d really like to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please blast me an e-mail if interested. Regards!

  8. I enjoy, lead to I found exactly what I was having a look for.
    You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man.
    Have a nice day. Bye

  9. casino 5 months ago

    Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored to death at work so I decided
    to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break.
    I really like the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get
    home. I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my mobile ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, superb

  10. casino 5 months ago

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really one thing that I think I would by no means
    understand. It seems too complex and very wide for me. I’m taking a look
    ahead on your subsequent post, I will try to get the
    cling of it!

  11. viagra 5 months ago

    Hello, after reading this remarkable paragraph i am too cheerful to share my experience here with mates.

  12. Hi! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say
    I genuinely enjoy reading through your articles. Can you recommend any other
    blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics?
    Many thanks!

  13. Felony Bonds Tampa 5 months ago

    I believe everything said was very reasonable. But, consider this, what if you typed
    a catchier title? I ain’t saying your information is not good, however suppose you added a title that grabbed people’s attention? I mean Teachers Dealing with
    Difficult Staff | Teacher Certification | iteach is a
    little boring. You should glance at Yahoo’s front page and see how they create news titles to grab viewers to open the links.
    You might add a related video or a related picture or two
    to grab people interested about everything’ve written. Just my opinion, it could
    bring your website a little bit more interesting.

  14. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
    I’ve read this post and if I could I want to
    suggest you few interesting things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I desire to read even more things about it!

  15. Ellenton Pest Control 5 months ago

    Hello colleagues, pleasant paragraph and good arguments commented here, I am really enjoying by these.

  16. Bradenton Pest Control 5 months ago

    you are in reality a just right webmaster. The site loading pace is incredible.
    It kind of feels that you are doing any unique trick. Furthermore,
    The contents are masterwork. you have performed a magnificent task in this subject!

  17. esta 5 months ago

    Hello this is kinda of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs
    use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so
    I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  18. I am really happy to glance at this blog posts which
    includes lots of useful facts, thanks for providing such statistics.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Ready to Get Started? Apply for Free!

Apply Now