Professional boundaries allow colleagues to work effectively together with limited personal conflict. This means that colleagues can be friendly without being friends so that personal disagreements do not distract from the completion of work.
Examples of Professional Boundaries
There are physical, mental, emotional, and social boundaries to consider.
- Physical – using a non contact greeting instead of a hug or a handshake
- Mental – setting work hours or a schedule to avoid burnout and exhaustion
- Emotional – choosing to surround yourself with positive attitudes instead of negative ones
- Social – not engaging in gossip in the staff lounge in efforts to maintain healthy relationships with all colleagues
Professional Boundaries for Teachers
Teachers will need to set professional boundaries when working with other teachers. There will be colleagues who they are friends with and others whom they are not. Regardless, professional boundaries allow the work environment to remain cordial and productive.
Tips for establishing professional boundaries with colleagues as a teacher are:
- read the code of conduct and adhere to it daily
- keep conversations about personal life to a minimum
- hold up your end of the bargain in working partnerships
- avoid gossiping about colleagues
- respect other’s chosen boundaries
Professional Boundaries for Teacher Leaders
Teacher leaders (instructional coaches, PD facilitators, specialists, mentors, etc.) will need to set professional boundaries when working with teachers they support. Although they are not an administrator, they do have leadership duties to fulfill. Leading your peers can be uncomfortable if you are friends with these colleagues, so setting boundaries ensures you can be cordial with peers but also complete leadership duties.
Tips for establishing professional boundaries as a teacher leader are:
- meet with each teacher on your caseload and discuss professionalism in the partnership
- design an availability calendar so teachers know when to schedule time to work together
- offer contact details with specific hours of operation
- share a coaching menu so it is clear how you can help teachers
- hold all colleagues accountable on a continual basis to meet expectations for the partnership
No matter your role in education, it is important to set and respect boundaries. This decreases unwanted stress and frustration while at work, allowing you to do the best you can as an educator.
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GO BE GREAT!
How do you establish boundaries in your role?