Have you ever worked with people that go out of their way to make sure new things don’t work? They don’t want to put in the extra effort it might take to get ahead, either because they are afraid of failure or they are content to do things the way they have always been done. I have worked on campuses, where teachers were actually ostracized for going “above and beyond”! Simple things like gaining praise for a great newsletter, an extra parent call, or even enthusiastically participating in professional development can sometimes make others jealous or even resentful. In some places, this is called the “Crab Mentality”. The crab mentality is a natural phenomenon that even scientists can’t explain, but it almost never fails. You see, if you have a bucket of crabs, they easily have the capability to climb out of the bucket and save themselves, especially if they work together. But they will not. Sometimes the crabs seem almost malicious. They climb over one another and even work to pull those that appear to be making progress towards success downward to the group. They are not interested in others success.
We should all be on guard for the Crab Mentality. Even at schools with great culture and climate, it can creep in and pull others down. Look around your own campus and your peers….I am willing to bet that everyone there is working hard and trying their best. However, I also believe that there are a few that stand out. Maybe it’s the way they teach a lesson with a smile, they make even lunch duty fun, or they have a way of getting along with that student/parent than no one else can seem to reach. The question is, what is keeping them from falling into the crab mentality? And more importantly are you one that is pushing them upward or pulling them down.
The crab mentality is a reflection of the famous saying “we all like to see our friends get ahead, but not too far ahead.” Learning to recognize the crab mentality in yourself and others is a very good idea, especially in schools. Our schools need teachers that “get out of the bucket” to seek adventure and try new things, not groups that are holding them back. Don’t be a crab!!