In response to the posts relating to, “Teacher Stress,” a reader writes:
“Bullying is certainly the right word. I understand the accountability issues all districts face but district administrations can do much more in supporting teachers then they currently do. I am not saying there are not bad teachers out there, but there are plenty of good ones. Those who don’t care about doing a good job will never care. The ones working hard are only the good ones.
I think the problems arise due to bad administration.”
First, in general, teachers are not used to being spoken to in any authoritative or adverse manner. I have a long, outlined explanation for this, but the short version is that teachers are people pleasers who have had school experiences that have been overwhelmingly positive. This means that that the school related feedback they have received has almost always been positive. In this dynamic, anything not positive is viewed as mean. We would all be better served if we had a little thicker skin.
Can districts do a better job of supporting teachers? Yes. But sometimes that support manifests itself in making teachers implement improved tools and better practices. Now we are back to the being “mean” and “bullying” behavior issues. Or the “just do your job” issue. It depends on what side of the table you sit on.
However, we agree that most school problems are leadership issues. But I feel as if we have reached this conclusion by two different paths. Where I think you are assigning blame, I’m assigning responsibility. If a handful of teachers are not performing, that is a personnel issue. As a leader, I either coach or remove. It is a very simple equation. If on the other hand, a significant number of teachers are not performing, that is a system failure. As a leader, I’m responsible for creating and managing the system that makes my staff and students successful. If I do not or cannot perform that duty, then I have to be coached or removed. Again, it is a simple equation.
As a teacher, you have to ask yourself what is holding back your campus, a few individuals or the system? If it is a few individuals, either help out your peers or share some of the responsibility when the axe falls. If it is the system, either demand change and assist in its implementation or become part of the problem.
It’s not personal, its improved campus performance.
Think. Work. Achieve.