Breaking Bad News to a Fellow Teacher

While every teacher who is passionate about their career cares about their students and puts forth their best effort, situations arise where an educator is not aware that their recently-presented lesson had either a negative impact on their students’ education or no impact at all. Here are several different pieces of advice that can help your faculty member or teacher be an effective educator.

“Robert, what was the goal of your lesson plan today?”

While it is easy to point out blame or state that the lesson plan was ineffective, the sole decision to recreate the section rests on the teacher, and the least-troubling solution is allowing them to figure out on their own. While using this phrase, be sure to act as casual as possible and not begin a conversation with it, otherwise you may cause them to panic and doubt their ability to inspire or educate students in the future. After they answer this loaded, yet gentle question, consider asking them a hypothetical question about whether or not it was accomplished, and state why you do not believe his defense is true. After all, if you must break the news to this teacher that their plan was poorly crafted, you likely have your own reasons.

This discussion will lead to a long conversation with the troubled teacher. But it will be needed to increase success in the future.

“Jennifer, I suggest you find a different path to lead your students to success, as I do not believe you have done so.”

This is more of a higher-up solution to the problem, and is also the most direct. While it may bruise the passion of some professionals, a good educator will quickly bounce back after finding the kink in his lesson hose. The results of this method could even lead to all-around success for this individual in all lesson plans and subject matter.   

“Chris, I would like you to teach your previous lesson again in a different form to send the content home to the kids.”

This solution is the safest, most likely solution to preserve your relationship with your coworker, and keep a positive air in the teachers’ lounge. There are no hurt feelings or sense of inferiority, as the troubled teacher is not aware of their mistake, though this could cost you and other students trouble and time in the long run.

While these are all useful ways to break news to a teacher that their lessons need to be revised, the route you take will ultimately depend on the personality of the educator you are addressing. Also, the long-term effects should be considered before deciding on which of these paths to take, as well as which one you can deliver best. There is no set-in-stone way to break this sort of news to someone.