In response to the post, “I Got a Royal Flush – Part 5,” a reader writes: I love #3 and strive to live it daily as I work as an AP. I just wish my teachers believed it, because they seem to have the “what’s in it for me” mentality. School is about the kids, not the adults. SC Response Time to defend the teacher mindset (just a little). 1. Teachers do all the heavy lifting in education. They are the ones with 20+ students in their class all day, every day. It is only natural that many look to reduce their workload and minimize their labor. 2. Teachers don’t have as many opportunities to see the big picture (remember: 4 walls, 20+ students, 6 to 8 hours a day). When you don’t get to see the big picture or the ultimate product of your work (graduation, successful career, etc.), “what’s in it for me” does become part of the equation. 3. Most system changes are presented as being done “to” teachers (and in many cases this actually is the case), instead of being done “for” teachers. I will give you the perfect example of this. Take the common scope and sequence. This is a foundation tool for teacher success. The provision of this tool is a leadership responsibility. To not provide one is a failure of leadership (can I make this any clearer). However, time and time again, when leadership is forced to address this system failure and provide this tool, it is done almost as a punishment. Instead of saying, “Teachers, we apologize for not providing this to you sooner. Now let’s work together to speed up the implementation curve.” The message is, “Teachers, if you had been doing a better job, I wouldn’t have to make you use this.” The effect of these three realities of the teachers’ world highlights the importance of true leadership. Leadership has to communicate a compelling mission for the organization. Leadership has to provide teachers with regular evidence on the organization’s progress in fulfilling that mission. Leadership has to provide on-going and timely training, support and problem solving for those doing the actual work of the organization. And, leadership has to quickly identify, remediate, or remove those who are not shouldering their fair share of the workload. Absent all of that, who can blame all but the most saintly from sometimes asking, “What’s in it for me?” Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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