When difficult conversations are broached, it is OK to disagree. Be willing to speak your mind and be ready to listen for understanding. Trust your feelings and respect those of others. Think critically, share your ideas, ask questions, and engage in dialogue. The following guidelines should be followed to assure respectful discourse:  

  • Always go directly to the person(s) with whom you have the conflict.  
  • Speak for yourself and from your own experiences.  
  • Assume we are all operating from the same starting point and everyone is working for the best interests of the student and school.  
  • Assume a peer relationship—everyone deserves respect.  
  • Be willing to listen and really hear others’ points of view.  
  • Use a respectful tone, language, and gestures.  
  • Identify issues(s), ask questions, clarify, and look to understand all sides.  
  • Be willing to look at other options/possibilities.  
  • Be careful not to breach the confidentiality of students, parents, other staff members, etc. Sometimes a topic should not be discussed in a large group, but only with the individual involved. It is very important that the time and place for discussion of a confidential topic are appropriate.  
  • After a difficult conversation has occurred, return to a state of goodwill toward each other and share a willingness to continue to problem solve, in the future, in good faith. Regardless of the outcome of a conversation, one should go away feeling heard and with a willingness to continue to converse.

Last Updated: August 26, 2019