Over the next few days, I will reveal problems which live in our educational system. Those situations represent all four points of view found in “RESCUE THE TEACHER, SAVE THE CHILD!”: students, parents, teachers and administrators.
Problem #4: In the 1970’s an assistant principal called me out in a public meeting because he did not like my curriculum, which included an auditioned choir. Before I could respond, the principle turned to his cohort and stated emphatically: I’m going to tell you the same thing the superintendent told me when I called out the basketball coach for starting the wrong players. Shut up!
In the early ’90’s, my principal shielded his staff from parental rough ups. When a parent complained, the principal would go directly to the teacher and ask what happened. In most situations, the child did not reflect to the parent the actual events. No surprise there. The principal would then relate to the parent that he investigated the matter and the teacher made the correct call. I was a performing arts teacher so I know the complaints were there: why didn’t Susie get into the highest choir; didn’t Johnny deserve to have the lead in the musical, etc. Interestingly, I never heard from the parents directly. All complaints went to the principal where he was able to defuse the temper tantrum of the entitled parent. No teachers ever complained of harassment by the administration. There were no blindsided “gotcha” meetings. It was a time period where not only did I adore teaching but I was encouraged to grow in a caring environment.
Where are those administrators today? I have no idea. For the past 20 years, I became the victim of stark reality: today’s administrators do not feel compelled to support their staff. If they do shield a teacher, it is usually based on a teacher who holds “favored child” status. In my experience, the favored child syndrome is bestowed to those staff who cannot navigate a classroom. Perhaps the adage of “water seeks its own level” manifests itself in administrators’ fear of opinionated, bright educators who do not “rubber stamp” the administration agenda.
How do you deal with today’s inept, biased and limited-vision administrators? Can you do it alone? When do you know the time is right to change schools or quit? How do you fight back if you are wrongly released from your position? Great questions. Take a break and enjoy a summer read which addresses these situations and provides solutions. Rescue the Teacher, Save the Child! is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.