Monday, January 25, 2010

It's the Same Sorry Story

I read a lot of teacher blogs.  

I love reading teacher blogs.  

I don't feel so alone when I read teacher blogs. 

Because the same pathetic sorry stuff is going on in every school district.  

Because the same innovative, smart thinking, kick ass teaching and problem solving is going on in classrooms.  

Because we all have the same complaint.

And that is (drum roll.....) Administration is the biggest problem we all rage against every day.  

I am really trying hard to figure out why that is so.  Do stupid, thoughtless, uncaring decisions really have to be made?  Where do they originate?  

Not school boards.  In general, they are uninformed and have no idea how to hold administrators accountable.  They actually believe everything administrators report to them at school board meetings.

Not communities.  Parents want what is best for their kids.  Some don't have any idea what they should expect from their district, some have unreasonable expectations, most have no idea how difficult a teacher's job is.  Tax payers don't want their taxes to go up so because of how district administrators present budget issues, they target teacher salaries instead of digging deeper.  How many community members know how many employees, other than teachers, it takes to run a district?  How many of them know that many of those positions are unrelated and unnecessary to student learning?

Why do so many administrators succumb to management by intimidation?  Why? 

It seems that administrative teams are full of people in great need of control and power.  Not all administrators suck.  I am related to a phenomenal administrator who keeps kids as her priority, who is fair, has high expectations for her teachers, is empathic,  and has innovative ideas on which she actually follows through.  Imagine.  I have actually worked with a few like her.  It makes all the difference.

We teachers spend an inordinate amount of time in the world of injustices.  We see many students suffering through any number of injustices (societal, familial).  We live with daily injustices (curricular mandates, budget cuts,  hostile work environments, lack of time to think and plan, poor administrative leadership) with mind boggling resiliency.  This wears us out.  It makes us less effective.

I cannot figure out why it has to be this way.  

It is really quite simple.  
  • Let good teachers teach.  
  • Get rid of poor teachers.  
  • Give teachers more time, and less bullshit busy work.  
  • Quit acting like we are a bunch of renegade, irreverent  and lazy stupes who need to be led through intimidation and bullying.  
  • We do know what we are doing.  And guess what?  We want every single one of our kiddos to be effective learners.  
  • You know what else?  You don't have to beat us up when kids don't learn.  We have already done a great job of that ourselves.  

I will continue my quest, dear readers.  I am determined to figure this out for us all.  

Until then, dear teachers, keep on doing the great work you do every minute of every day.  YOU are what keeps so many kids going in their worlds of injustices. 

 I am clapping  and woo-hooing now.  Can you hear it?


  1. Wheeeeeee!!! We need to get together and put our best blogs into a book and publish the damned thing. And go on a book tour. Maybe someone would listen. Thank you for having me on your bloglist. I am honored.

  2. I hear you!!! I'm adding an "Amen!!!" to your clapping and woo-hooing. ;-) I don't know why Admin is so pervasively bad. I recently decided that "Those who can, teach; those who can't, administrate." (So I'm glad you stopped trying to join the Dark Side. ;-)

    Merci beaucoup from me, too, for adding me to your blogroll! I love your blog, and added you to mine.

  3. I hear you!!!

    You know that (ridiculous, insulting, false) saying, "Those who can, do, and those who can't, teach."? It should say, "Those who can, teach, and those who can't, administrate."!!!!!

    I'm not sure where you teach, but here in PA, unions and tenure are very strong. It is near impossible to get rid of bad teachers. As far as principals, I know my school runs well in spite of Principal Pretty. We make her look good so no one higher up knows what's really going on.

    We get observed umpteen times a year - who's observing the principals?


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