A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Top ten signs your administrators have lost touch

10. Administrators won't meet teachers' eyes when teachers try to speak to them. If an administrator won't stop reading his or her email long enough to devote his or her attention to the staff members when they approach, 'at in 'and and very 'umble, guv'nah, then that administrator will have no idea what is going on in the school.

9. They insist on having policies that look good in the eyes of the public, but they equally resist enforcing those policies because it will make the students unhappy. They nonetheless insist on having the policies. They even announce every day on the intercom that the staff are to enforce these policies.

8. They are unconcerned in the extreme that this makes the staff feel like David Hedison in The Fly:


And we're just waiting for Vincent Price to put us out of our misery.

7. They then wonder why they spend all their time putting out fires instead of taking a step back and seeing that the damn forest is tinder-dry, and that they are the rain gods. The administration sets the tone for the building, whether lax or regimented or chaotic or peaceful.

6. They withhold information from the classroom teachers regarding students in their own classes. Teachers spend far more time with individual students than do administrators, but often-- illegally-- administrators leave teachers in a cloud of ignorance.

5. They make "deals" with certain students but fry other students for the slightest infraction. Those students who are thus blessed can ruin a school fast.

4. They stand huddled in little groups when in the hallways, like a defensive phalanx-- but without Eric Bana or Brad Pitt, more's the pity. Their backs face outward to fend off any approach of Others.

3. They do not consider asking for teacher input in the creation of programs or policies; or, worse, they create a group of sycophants to rubber stamp decision to give the appearance of teacher consultation. Further, they do not consider the impact of their programs of policies on how teachers get their jobs accomplished.

2. They expect their faculty to do things they would never consider doing themselves.

1. Their doors are never open. They disappear behind the pine for untold hours, heedless to the consequences. And since they've got their own buffet in the conference room and their own bathrooms, who knows if they'll ever come out?



At 5/1/07, 6:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see you've been to my building!

As I told a colleague, we wouldn't be constantly putting out fires if we'd just bothered to take away the matches in the first place.

At 5/1/07, 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why work for such low-lifes?

Where are the elected school board members?

At 5/2/07, 6:08 AM, Blogger Mike in Texas said...

They do not consider asking for teacher input in the creation of programs or policies; or, worse, they create a group of sycophants to rubber stamp decision to give the appearance of teacher consultation

Wow, its like you've been hanging out in my school, and was there for the "choosing" of our new AP

At 5/2/07, 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have aptly described a very familiar situation. Thank you.

At 5/3/07, 10:40 AM, Blogger Liz Ditz said...

I posted a snippet & link over at SchwabLearning--both parents & parent/teachers responded:

Parent to Parent Message Board

At 5/3/07, 6:36 PM, Blogger HappyChyck said...

A few years ago I had a principal with all of those signs, plus he used to pit faculty members against each other and I think he might have been bipolar. Sometimes I still have nightmares.

At 5/3/07, 8:47 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I am so depressed to see that this rings a bell with so many. Crap.

Lee: They're part of the problem.

Liz: Thanks so much!

Happychyck: I can't even imagine adding THAT problem to the mix. And the thing is, they all think they're doing a GREAT job.

At 5/3/07, 9:50 PM, Blogger QuakerDave said...

Don't forget the ones who expect teachers to "volunteer" to do things like serve on committees, while they themselves would never "serve" on anything for which they were not being paid.

(The only problem here is that too many teachers, out of guilt or fear or their own self-serving motives, will ALWAYS volunteer, if they think it will 1) "be in the best interest of the children", 2) get them a leg up with said admins, or 3) screw somebody who didn't.)

At 5/9/07, 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again I'm reminded of why I love my admin's so much. Mind you, the principal's not so goos about eye contact, and they have been known to gather in small, though not impenetrable, herds in the hallway.

At 5/9/07, 7:57 PM, Blogger Ms. C said...

I remember *loving* my principal and assistant principals when I was a student, but as a teacher I really feel there is a terrible Us vs. Them policy, and it's not completely the administration's fault.

How many times have you disagreed with a decision, but said nothing because you didn't make waves? Did you ever stay silent when something awful went down? Have you ever heard the advice to "just close your door and teach?"

I can admit to clamming up when I should have spoken up. I'm new, and I don't want to lose my job, or make life difficult for myself because I disagree with a new "policy." But I'm also ashamed of that, and I won't be new forever.

I refuse to justify my silence as merely me "being to young and inexperienced to know what's best for the stduents."

If all the teachers disagree, but they are all silent...even if administration was listening and willing to accept they would only hear silence.

And silence is consent.

At 5/12/07, 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post!

It's the teachers as a whole who enable the admin's action. They don't want to stand together because they fear everything while the students fear nothing.

My admin does do "favors" for her "favs", and that is a ploy to keep the staff in place. I bet every school has it share of spies who report everything back to the principal.

They may have lost touch, but they certainly know how to push our buttons.


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