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

“I agree with the writer’s comments concerning administrators being “mean and bullies” at face value, however I suspect that if we look deeper there is a perception issue. When I do my PowerWalks and provide you with feedback, what do you call that?

If I have non-negotiable issues, and then I monitor them with classroom visits, what do you call that?

If I coach teachers on my expectations, put them on growth plans if they don’t meet those expectations, and terminate them if they can’t be coached, what do you call that?

At the schools I have led those actions has often been called, “Picking on teachers,” which I suspect could be interpreted as “mean and bullying”. I call it clear, consistent, and accountable leadership.

Does your translation of “respect” from administration translate into “Leave teachers alone and trust they will do the right things for kids”? Because I call that incompetent leadership.

Does “respect” mean letting teachers choose what they teach and when they teach it? Again, my definition of incompetence.

So I agree that administrators should respect teachers. I agree that administrators should not be mean bullies. However, in my experiences these definitions are very much a matter of perspective and perception.”

SC Response
Well you know that I agree, but then we are products from the same leadership development tree. I think what gets lost in translation when people observe us from a distance is though our communication style is direct, we never advocate being a jerk just for the sake of being a jerk. We never advocate tearing someone down who has not been provided the appropriate tools and resources in the first place. In fact, the old school LYS’ers may be the biggest teacher advocates in the field today.

But it is advocacy focused on ensuring that each teacher is successful in completing the mission of our profession; that is ensuring that every student that we work with is better off because of that work. That means if the system is holding back our teachers, we change the system. That means if teachers need on-going support and training, we secure the support and training. That means if teachers need better tools, we bring them the better tools. And that means if a teacher refuses to embrace the new when it is clearly more powerful and effective than the old, then you deal with that teacher.

The bottom line is if a leader truly respects her staff, she doesn’t force them to continue to work with slackers. That’s not mean; it’s respect for the job, respect for the profession, and the ultimate respect for the individuals that are doing the actual work.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…