In response to the post, “DAEP – Part 3,” a reader writes:
“I don’t think the poster demonized unions too much. Unions are about adults, by design and membership, not kids. I think that to some extent we have to get out of the “buy in” mentality. Buy into what? Doing the job you have been contracted and paid to do? Ridiculous.
Leadership has a duty to adhere to best practices and to lead from the front, not the rear. That leaves teachers fighting best practices, which is common. I cannot count the number of teachers who have told me they disagree with Marzano and Bloom. Forget the fact they never heard of Marzano before I introduced them to it; they disagree with him none the less.
Teachers in poor performing schools deeply desire autonomy. The same is true in good performing schools; teachers desire autonomy. This desire for autonomy is often so great that teachers (and administrators) isolate themselves from the best practices of their own profession.
The boot camp approach is interesting (yes, I have experienced it). The military understands that people are drawn together by common experiences. The military then develops a “boot camp” that exposes people to common experiences and draws them together. The problem with this model in public schools is that the military model of boot camp is contrived. The experience is very difficult to reproduce in the civilian world. That is I why I suggest that you let no major event go by without being utilized.
When situations come up that have the potential to have the faculty going through a common experience, capitalize on it quick. It can be as simple as celebrating success or mourning together. The point is, common ground is not found just on the battlefield, it can be a simple event such as learning how to hold a rifle and march. In education, common ground does not have to be built initially on curriculum and instruction; don’t hesitate to capitalize on simple events that bring people together.
By the way, I am passing on knowledge that I have learned the hardest way possible.”
When this reader writes, “I am passing on knowledge that I have learned the hardest way possible,” even he doesn’t appreciate how true that is. He is now in the midst of turning around his third unacceptable campus in his relatively brief career as an administrator. He isn’t the principal who drives the school into the ditch. He is the principal they hire to get the school out of the ditch. In the course of doing this, he can count on one hand the people in his districts who have publicly supported him during his tenures – his superintendents (kind of), his wife, and his dog.
In schools, doing the right thing for kids, all the time, is hard and lonely work.
Think. Work. Achieve.