At all levels of the educational hierarchy, from the newest to the oldest, from bottom to top organisational position, educators tend to speak two languages.
* Neophyte teachers when speaking with other newbies, tend to speak differently to the way they converse with older, more experienced peers.
* Classroom teachers when speaking with each other, tend to communicate differently than they so when talking with senior teachers or unit leaders.
* Senior teachers/unit leaders discourse differently to each other as peers, than they do when communicating with assistant principals/principals.
* Assistant Principals have a conversational fraternity that is often not shared with their immediate superordinates, their principals.
* Principals when in discourse speak with a familiarity that generally does not translate to the conversations they hold with directors and departmental seniors.
* Those in departmental support roles have similar communications limitations that shape and limit conversation, based on their level of seniority in school support positions.
At each discrete level, I refer to conversations as being ‘above the table’ or ‘below the table’.
* Conversations ‘above the table’ are those shared by subordinates with superordinates. They are qualified, with those at the lower hierarchical level often tailoring what they say top fit with the expectation of what they think those in superior positions want to hear. They are expressions from the head rather than statements from the heart. They are based on saying the right thing in order to get on, staying safe and secure within the organisation.
* Conversations ‘below the table’ are those in which people are speaking with peers. They can be covert and even clandestine in their nature. This is about colleagues on the same shared level speaking from the heart, saying what they genuinely think and feel about issues. The ‘blind spot’ within the Johore Window is engaged.
Under the table where they are invisibility to those above, educators can say what they genuinely think and feel. This may sound disloyal, even hypocritical. However, these conversations can be a pressure release point and help those het up to calm down and regroup.
Just some thoughts and observations coming from over time and down the years.