In response to the recent post, “Dying in Ditches,” a reader writes:
“I like this poster as he or she seems to be a Steven Covey fan. First, I agree that the road between the two ditches can be traveled. I have traveled it and in fact find myself traveling it again. Like Cain, I have never died in a ditch, although I have died taking hills, after I took them. I suppose you can say I died of my wounds. So yes, you can not choose a ditch and can instead choose the path, but it still may not be safe. You just hope you can do something for kids along the way.
I agree with the writer’s statement, “When the focus is on instruction and student mastery through exemplary instruction, the “other” issues either resolve themselves or become unimportant.”
But, I have to add, that it doesn’t always work that way. As Cain points out, when people have agendas other than kids, leadership gets sticky. I am in a district now where the entire climate and culture is openly hostile towards the needs of kids. The adults have arrived at a consensus that allows adult co-existence. The sacrifice for this stale-mate is quite literally human, as the kids are paying a tremendous price.
What is tragically funny is that the adults all know the right talk and talk a great story. But it is just talk. There is not sufficient moral conviction amoung the leadership to break the adult alliances and to focus on kids. The few leaders with any moral conviction whatsoever quickly become victims of the adult serving machine.
In this particular district, the truth is quite one sided, and it is not in the favor of kids. So, I agree with the poster, and I hope to work in a school like the ones described. I have always worked on the uncharted edges of the map, and sometimes “there be monsters there.”
I wish I could tell you that this writer is wrong and cynical, but I can’t. This writer works in one of the most dysfunctional districts I have ever come across. The hope is that the mavericks in the district (in this case, teachers and Principals who are student focused) can carve out just enough student success so that the inevitable attacks from the vested interests are viewed as purposefully self-serving.
Keep fighting the good fight for your students. If you don’t, who will?
Think. Work. Achieve.