How to Deal with a Negative School Culture

As teachers, especially in 2022, we are most likely dealing with more challenging behaviors from children than ever before. It’s not easy dealing with a negative school culture, find a list of warning signs of a toxic work environment even before you take the job.

Also find some ways to help you deal with the negativity if you are already in this environment, as a teacher. 

It's not easy dealing with a negative school culture, find a list of warning signs of a toxic work environment even before you take the job.
How to Deal with a Negative School Culture

5 effects of a negative school culture 

On this blog, not only have I discussed SEL for kids but also how teachers can maintain their mental health. 

I’ve talked about motivational quotes before and how I’ve incorporated them into my journaling and my teacher planner.

No one really talks about how important it is for us to keep our mental health in check, instead, we are always reminded about how to take care of the physical and professional aspects in our lives. 

It’s estimated that almost 62% of teachers met criteria for moderate to severe anxiety while nearly 20% had severe anxiety. (the conversation). 

This statistic is truly a scary one. 

Why are most teachers experiencing this? I polled a few teachers and their responses were a mix between management, paper work and student problem behavior. 

5 effects of negative school culture 

A negative school culture can be detrimental to the success of a student. It can lead to low self-esteem, poor academic performance, and even dropout rates.

Not only that, but its effects on teacher self-esteem and self-wroth are remarkably obvious.

The culture of a school is an important factor in shaping the experience of the students who attend it.

A negative school culture can have various consequences for students, such as low self-esteem, poor academic performance and dropout rates.

  1. The first one is an obvious one: there’s no clear direction from administration about the sense of purpose. This in turn would cause teachers to self blame and turn to blaming others. 
  2. Hostile relations among staff and parents: this is a clear one. If you find that most staff members do not respect others, constantly call out other teachers and more. This is a clear cut sign of a toxic work environment.
  3. An emphasis on rules rather than people: who wants to be in an environment where only rules matter rather than people? This quickly turns into a slippery slope of toxic behaviors and environment.
  4. No collaboration between colleagues: this is also a clear one, there aren’t any collaborative measures taken between colleagues, there are some competitive streaks, harsh comments and more.
  5. More punishment rather than recognition for accomplishments: when as teachers we aren’t rewarded for accomplishments, we can certainly see our self-esteem waning. We promise to do this for our students, but teachers need this even more than students do.

How to deal with negative school culture?

If you’re already in the thick of it and at a school with this type of culture, it is quite possible that you can deal with it without it interfering with your mental health.

The first step to take is to separate yourself ‘mentally’ from the environment. For instance, once you get home, you put aside ANYTHING related to work in your mind.

Avoid teacher end of year burnout with these tips!

This step is quite hard to do at first, but with a couple of brain training activities, you can get to it easily!

The second step is to find a teacher or a couple of colleagues who you identify with and can ‘dish out’ your frustration to them in a safe manner.

These teachers will become your best buds and your saving grace. It is estimated that teachers that go through hardships alone, will certainly feel more depressed than those who do not.

The third step is to find the humor in your day.

I’ve written many articles here on this blog to help teachers see the humorous side to teaching. My favorite article is this back to school funny quotes for teachers!

I love resorting to humor (when you can of course), to help you get through the day, the week, the month, the year!


Baby Yoda relatable AF quotes and memes for teachers (and parents)

It really does help in the end, because we definitely are good teachers, we know we want best for students, but teaching is HARD! In the thick of it we know that it is.

We probably didn’t know this before we got into teaching, but alas, we know it now!

I hope these tips help you when you’re looking for a new job, position in teaching, to somehow spot the difference between a negative school culture and a positive one.

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