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Working with challenging husband/wife teams

Working with challenging husband/wife teams

Postby zenteach » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:51 am

Does anyone have any tips for working with challenging husband and wife teams?

I work fairly closely with both the husband and the wife and the dynamics can be odd from time to time. While I have a fairly decent working relationship with both of them, let's just say it is not exactly a joy to work together for reasons I can't exactly pinpoint.

Without getting into all of the details, I am curious if there are typical tips that seasoned international school educators live by when working with husband and wife teams. For the most part I have only encountered really positive experiences when working with spouses, however I am beginning to see this is not always the case.
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Re: Working with challenging husband/wife teams

Postby applebutter » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:39 pm

Avoid them as much as possible. I worked with a terrible combo in the Philippines. The husband was the Head of the school and the wife was the elementary principal. Not to go into too much detail but their shenanigans ended up with both of them being fired before the start of the next school year. I think they are in Thailand now. Anyway, school owners are not stupid, and often these people don't last. Just wait them out and then the idiocy will eventually move on, and then they are someone else's problem.
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Postby PsyGuy » Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:41 pm

Pick one over the other. I really have never been in that type of situation, Ive never had a married couple in the same department or division, couples in the same IS but usually by nature of my appointment I would work closer to one than the other. I usually find the male spouse to be pretty chill and the female spouse to be a nightmare.
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Re: Working with challenging husband/wife teams

Postby wrldtrvlr123 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:34 am

It varies wildly from couple to couple but it's safest to assume that whatever you say to one will be heard by the other (and not necessarily in the exact form or in the exact way it was delivered by you).

Like dealing with any potentially problematic colleague, be professional and cordial and don't get drawn into any professional or personal drama.
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Re: Response

Postby Heliotrope » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:04 pm

PsyGuy wrote:
> I usually find the male spouse to be pretty chill and the female spouse to be a nightmare.

I can't reconcile your experience with my own.
Actually, most of the times I've had couples working at my schools, they were both friendly and professional, and in the few instances where one of them was anything resembling 'a nightmare', it was more often the male than the female.
Although 'a bit stressed and not always overly friendly towards others' is a better description, as I haven't had any colleague that fellow teachers or admin would describe as a 'nightmare'.

When working with a husband and wife team, I wouldn't change my behaviour much, other than assuming what you say to one will be passed on to the other, but the same can happen with two colleagues (admin or teachers) that aren't husband and wife. It's always smart not to say anything to a colleague that you don't want anyone else to hear.
When the husband and wife team is unable to leave their marital problems at home, just tread lightly, and don't talk about the husband with wife (and vice versa) if you can avoid it. The best way to deal with them will depend very much on the actual couple. So basically, what @wrldtrvlr123 said.
Hang in there! (and if it's making your work life less enjoyable, leave when your contract is up)
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