That annoys you? That you really don't want to be around? Who does things in ways that you simply cannot understand? Who doesn't seem as focused, or productive or who just doesn't make sense to you? So you ignore them? You pretend they aren't there even when they are standing right in front of you? You don't answer when they say hello, or ask you how your weekend was? You whisper in the ear of other people when they are in the room, rather than speaking out loud? Have you ever stopped to think how that person feels? Or even better, why they are the way they are? Maybe they are socially awkward. Maybe they have ADHSD, or maybe they have another learning disability. Maybe they have an anxiety disorder or depression. Maybe they have never really fit in. Maybe they were teased as a kid. Maybe they have an eating disorder they are desperately trying to hide. So maybe they don't make sense to you, maybe they do annoy you. Maybe you don't want to be around them. But think for a second, about how your actions make that person feel. You don't have to be their best friend, you don't have to go out with them on weekends, or invite them over for coffee, but maybe, just maybe, being nice and polite at work could make a difference. Not to mention the fact that if you change schools or there are major changes in your staff, you could just as easily become the person who is ignored. I say this because a former colleague of mine, who I wasn't particularily fond of, recently committed suicide, and it has made me reflect on the times I wasn't as polite to her as I could be. I never ignored her like some people did, but I wonder if maybe being a little bit nicer, or sending the occasional email since I left could have made a difference, just knowing that there was someone out there. So this fall, I think we should all make the extra effort to be nice to someone we don't necessarily "get". Someone who maybe does annoy us, but really, would any of us be teachers if we couldn't be nice to people who annoyed us? Just because, we don't always know what's going on with the people around us. They could have problems which make it difficult for them to relate to other people, but that doesn't make them bad people. If we had a student with these problems, we would do everything we could to help them. We may not be able to do the same with a coworker, but sometimes a smile and small conversation can make all the difference in the world, to someone who feels that they don't quite belong.