In response to the post, “A Fatal Flaw,” and the subsequent reader’s comment, another reader writes:
“There are so many different leadership styles! For as many principals are out there, there are that many leadership styles. Different leaders can fully embrace and implement the Foundation Trinity and the Cain principles at their individual schools and they will all look different. Different demographics, different target sub-pops, etc. There needs to be balance yes, but improving the adults on campus WILL keep the students first.
What is the Principal supposed to do? Walk the students to class while holding their hands? Giving unconditional support, outstanding and relevant professional development, and hyper-monitoring teachers will keep students first. Student achievement is not the principal’s responsibility; it is the teacher’s responsibility. Teacher improvement is the principal’s responsibility.
Can I get an Amen, or not?”
My response to this is completely contextual. In the big picture the writer, is correct. This thinking is completely in line with that of a Superintendent friend of mine, who delineates responsibility in this way, “My responsibility is to coach principals. The principal’s responsibility is to coach teachers. The teacher’s responsibility is to coach students. The student responsibility is to engage in the task.”
In the small picture, things are not quite so clear cut. Each person has a responsibility to step up and fill the breach if, for any reason, the needs of students are not being met. Where that breach occurs, varies from day to day.
A superintendent steps up to assist in cafeteria duty, because suddenly there is a need. A teacher covers a class during a conference period, because the substitute hasn’t arrived. A consultant helps unload students from the bus, because the campus is short-handed. And, a principal walks a student to class, because that particular student needs the extra-support.
Overall, I subscribe the to the Marine Corp theory of “Every Marine a Rifleman.” I believe and model, “Every Adult on Campus a Teacher.” It is that belief, more than any other reason, why I have credibility on any campus I work with. There are staff members that may not agree with everything I say and do. There are staff members that do not like me. But to a person, they have to admit that on top of all my other tasks and responsibilities, when the going gets tough, I’m right there beside them.
To sum up, there are big picture responsibilities that are the priority for specific line positions, but needs of individual students must remain the focus of our actions. So, to answer the writer’s final question, “Contextual Amen.”
Think. Work. Achieve.