Few things in any given teacher’s career will make the ceding of ground more obvious than new administration. We’ve had three principals in as many years. Our school has struggled mightily all three of those years. Each new regime promises to turn the screws on us teachers by adding new meetings or initiatives, most of which are new ways of doing the same things as before.
As the old ways are lumped together with the new, it’s not obvious at first how much we’ve given, and how much has been taken. Quick example. A huge bone of contention in our District last year was the topic of an extended school day. Leadership wanted it; teachers didn’t. Or, at least, they didn’t want to simply add more time to the school day without some guarantee that the time, our time, would be well spent. There were too many questions about the extended day that teachers, with union support, easily voted it down on a school-by-school basis.
Our school voted the extended day down because we couldn’t really get our questions answered. We were simply adding an hour to the school day and that was that. There was nothing to say about the quality of the time we were adding.
With new administration, suddenly we are an extended day school. Funny how that happens.
I get it. Teachers are very reluctant to say no, especially with how easily it is to suggest we don’t give a sh*t about our students if we don’t do a million extra things every day. So we keep giving, and giving, until pretty soon, all those inches added up to a mile. And we wonder why teachers, especially those in struggling schools, are walking zombies.
No matter how small, watch how many inches you give. That ground is very hard to get back.
I won’t twist myself into knots trying to make some larger educational point about STEM or what have you. I also think the racial implications are pretty obvious.
This, however, does not bode well for those working in the education profession. This is a very obvious and frequent sign that some schools in some places scrape the bottom of the barrel for employees.
I’m also confident that recent reforms in education, including and not limited to the unreasonable attacks on the integrity of educators, discourage many good people from either getting into the profession in the first place or staying for the long term. Many of us have our reasons for staying, and many of us have our reasons for teaching in the most difficult environments.
Inasmuch as I defend teachers, it’s incidents like these that have me shaking my damn head.
The recent attacks on teachers have culled the professional herd so effectively that many simply lack basic common sense. They rarely, if ever, question authority or use critical thinking skills. I rarely see anyone really speaking up at faculty meetings or venting frustrations, and there are numerous. When you hand them a program, many follow it to the exact letter and word.
I may get blowback for this one, so here goes: is the relative apathy of teachers, and the myopic ignorance of the larger political realities affecting education, forcing them to cede control of the activist narrative to parents? I am part of many activist groups, passively and otherwise. Many of these groups are led by […]
First, a vocabulary lesson. To the left, the simple Google definition of the word “priority.” It would seem as if thought and policy leaders in many school systems, particularly those in tenuous political climates, try to put schools in low-income communities of color in a position of “priority.” That is, divert the most resources to […]
I saw this circulate today through my circles on doling our better criticism. I like it. It applies to my discipline because I feel as if I am constantly scrutinized by individuals who do not know how to give critique without immediately establishing a dishonest, hostile, and overall unsatisfactory professional relationship. This part is most […]