Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Two classes started, a third to start this weekend.  I am disappointed that the emphasis in each class is on principalship.  Not once has special education been mentioned.  I realize that most of my classmates are aiming to be principals but it is a bit bothersome that it is up to me to adapt each assignment to fit my needs.  Special Ed is often the step child with baggage all its own.  

I really complain a lot.  Malcontent? 




There is no doubt I am struggling with my decision.  I am not sure I have what it takes to be an effective administrator.  In certain situations my edit button does not work.  Sometimes I think that is good.  We need administrators who call it as they see it and expect better from service providers and public education as a whole.  Why is it that in education we suffer from fear of upsetting others.  We are all so nice.  We follow the union protocol of going to the person first and resolve issues that way.  I have come to think that is good practice in certain situations, and absolutely bad practice in others.  It gets muddled when you repeatedly observe poor practice in student-teacher relationships and teaching methods.  We are also told by our union that we are not to assume any sort of supervisory role or sit in judgement of one another.  Oh brother.  Let's just feed the fires of mediocrity.  Going to a colleague to make gentle suggestions takes nerve. 

Many just look the other way and rationalize that kids survive, no real damage done.  Some say it is not their concern and hide in their rooms with the door closed.  Others sit and stew but do nothing.  A few bring their concerns to the principal where no action is taken for any number of reasons.  Principals cannot see everything in a day.  You figure that they spend a minimum of 4 hours per required observation; pre-conference, observation, write up, post conference.  And let's be honest here.  Any teacher can look really good for one observation hour a year.  

I am all for leadership helping weaker teachers get it right.  But they both have to want to get it right.  Let's be honest for a moment though.  How many principals have the time or the knowledge to do this?  This takes time.  Big time.  But if we don't invest more in what goes on in the classroom and special education programs we perpetuate mediocrity and burnout.  

As teachers, many of us make those teacher requests for our own kids.  We know who is good, we know who to avoid for our own kids.  If my colleagues aren't requesting me for their own kids, I need to be counseled out of teaching.  But who is going to do that?  A principal can try, but the union catches wind and it turns into a divisive battle.  As a union member, I want my union to help those who do not belong in teaching find another career.  I don't want them to defend to the end a teacher's rights.  What about the students?  Yes, I want the district to invest in my colleagues.  Yes, I want my union to make sure I am fairly evaluated.  Yes, I want them both to counsel all but the very best right on out of education.

I sure did not intend to write about this today, but I am trying to allow the thoughts to flow as they will.  For a control freak like me, that's a bit of a challenge.

Now, back to my classes...ponder this.  If a professor who insists on being called 'Dr.' and who spends much time lecturing the class about quality writing and only turning in perfection (no typos, spelling errors, grammar mistakes) hands to the class a 7 page document written by the professor and it is full of typos, spelling errors and poor sentence structure, how much credibility do they lose?  

Malcontent?  No, just expecting 'Dr.' to practice what he/she preaches and to drop the pretentious expectation that we all refer to him/her as 'Dr.'  Really, we all respect the work done to earn that title.   However, Dr., you spent one third the time in the classroom I have, and I am old enough to be your mother!


  1. What you are doing is a huge undertaking and it will be a testament to your character. Keep true to your beliefs. Things may not change today, tomorrow or in the near future but remember that it takes a person with conviction for what is right to change what is wrong. You might need to take small steps in order to get the big changes done. This could be perceived as a sign of weakness but I think you need to try and work with the system, broken as it may seem.

  2. I wish you could have met and worked with the principal that retired two years prior to your arrival in our little 'burgh. She was a no-nonsense, call a spade a spade and don't tell me it's a shovel type of leader.
    I miss her to this day.


Although I am dangerously opinionated, I am a flexible thinker and welcome your thoughts.