In response to the 11/1/2013 post, “A SuperintendentWrites… Advice for the First Year Principal – Part 1,” a reader writes:

I offer another point of view. I believe that many of our schools have devolved into “gotcha” schools. Everyone is looking for what is wrong and not what is right. I promise you could change the morale in many buildings with one statement: “I have your back now I want you to do your best job to reach your students”.

Too many teachers work with a “bunker” mentality focused only on their own preservation not on the student. It is time to change the approach we are using and stop buying into this media hype that we are failing as schools.

SC Response Let’s see where we agree…

“Many schools have devolved into “gotcha” schools.”  Agreed.  In fact, anyone in district/campus leadership that doesn’t provide the instructional infrastructure of The Foundation Trinity is failing at his or her job.  The only way that person or persons can keep the machine moving is through intimidation and gotcha games. And I constantly advise teachers that find themselves working is such conditions to move to a campus or district that values and supports teachers.

Operate with the understanding, “I have your back now. I want you to do your best job to reach your students.” Agreed.  But I don’t want leadership to just say the words; I want leadership to live the words.  That means implementing The Foundation Trinity, investing in ongoing staff training, working in the middle of the action, and coaching staff.  

Too many teachers work with a “bunker” mentality.  Agreed. When you work in an environment where you are responsible for performance but are provided with inadequate tools, training, resources and support, the bunker mentality is all but a foregone conclusion.

It is time to change the approach we are using. Agreed.  And when I walk into classrooms and I observe teachers teaching like I did so many years ago, that’s a long time with no change.  If this is due to obstinance, shame on the teacher.  If this is because of a lack of training and support, shame on leadership.

“We need to stop buying into this media hype that we are failing as schools” Agreed.  We do a much better job of teaching more students to achieve at minimum standards that ever before. And we are doing this with relative fewer dollars per student.  This is yeoman’s work that is completely unappreciated.  But I’ll match your media comment and raise you, “we need to quit voting for politicians that openly mock educators and are proud of their record of underfunding schools at scale.”

Now based on your comments, let’s see where we disagree… (sound of crickets)

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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