In response to the posts relating to, “Teacher Stress,” a reader writes:

“In my experience as a teacher, counselor, program manager, and assistant principal, those teachers that felt that administrators were bullying them were teachers that were having “issues” in their practice.

I have worked and continue to work with teachers in many ways. Ultimately we are accountable for ensuring that each student receives a rigorous engaging education. If I were to sit in my office all day and pretend that all was well I would be doing a disservice to every student and teacher in my building.

Additionally, I think that constructive criticism is one way to show respect for all teachers, whether they are superior or satisfactory. Every teacher should strive for excellence and in my experience superior teachers seek the criticism and the satisfactory teachers are those that feel that there is no room for improvement.

All said, we should strive for excellence. Settling is unacceptable, as we are talking about educating our youth. My grandfather always told me “Close only counts in horseshoes and grenades.” I expect that my children have a high quality education and not a decent education, and all teachers and parents should expect this.”

SC Response
Agreed. I want to add two things.

1. Criticism isn’t fun. Even if I ask for it, anything that isn’t 100% positive stings a little. If I didn’t ask for it, it is even worse. Most educators are able to go for years without facing any meaningful criticism. So if you are the first bearer of seemingly bad news, regardless how relevant or truthful that news is, you are the jerk. In fact, the more relevant or truthful, the more the information is unappreciated.

2. Research shows that our most competent educators have the perception that they have the most to learn and have the biggest holes in their craft. As such, they are the most receptive to feedback; positive or negative. Our most incompetent educators have the perception that that they are experts in our field and that there is nothing in their craft to improve on. Thus any feedback contrary to their opinion is obviously wrong.

So the litmus test is this. If an individual continues to ignore, contradict and/or fight coaching feedback and criticism, you are most likely dealing with a marginal educator who should be replaced, sooner rather than later.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…