Don't you love how everyone feels as if they can do your job better than you can do it yourself?

Whenever any other adult walks into my classroom, things change. Why? Cause classrooms are fishbowls and when a new species enters the tank, the environment changes.

Sure, in some ways, things will revert back to normal. Especially if I, at the front of the room, keep an even keel, and keep rolling on with business as usual. (Which I usually do. I have sort of given up on dog and pony shows a long time ago... but when you are a young teacher and you think that your job is on the line when a "boss" walks in, you get tense and start ascending Bloom's taxonomy as if climbing this academic Kilimanjaro was the only thing ever that you were hired to do. What? The VP is coming? Quick kids, start to SYNTHESIZE!!! It's such a joke.)

However, kids who are normally energetic and enthusiastic will clam up and in my experience, the "high end" of class gets lost - or at least tamped down. Sure, a few of the most bubbling personalities will still participate and share their "voice" with the room but most kids will -- especially when there are people in suits or business attire in the class -- remain in their own little quiet, one-word response bubble.

Classes where the teachers don't have classroom management though... they are often exposed. I mean a teacher that can't get Jimmy to sit down when the principal is not in the room is a teacher that feels embarrassed and threatened when the VP is in the room watching Jimmy defy classroom protocol.

But the thing is, the VP's often look at the teacher as if it's "the educator's" fault that Jimmy won't sit down, be quiet and do some work. Why the VP doesn't enter the room with the attitude that, "Hey, this is my school and I am here to support the teachers and if Jimmy won't get on the bus, I need to do something about Jimmy," is beyond me.

Uhm, maybe, the teacher could use some back-up?

But no, VP's enter the room looking for "our" problems... as if the problems they see in their teachers' rooms are not "their" problems as well.

Goodness how I'd love to see the tables turned on this one though. I mean how great would it be to see the entire school board walk into my VP's office? I wonder if she would carry on in the same way as she would if it was just a P.E. teacher who had popped by.

And I wonder if they had only spent 7 minutes in her office (with a check sheet in hand, of course -- the rubric for good Vice Principalling... I mean who hasn't memorized that?) if she would feel as if she was being fairly evaluated and assessed by her "bosses".

No notice. No prior awareness of what was even on the check sheet. Just BOOM! a surprise little visit. In, then out, then gone... the only lasting impression being an air of slight disapproval from each of the Board Members.

Of course, this folly bleeds upwards. Why? Because instead of supporting her, they come in with an attitude of "looking for her faults". And she thinks to herself, "If you know so much, then you trying doing this damn job!"

Don't you just love how everyone feels as if they can do your job better than you can do it yourself? Parents, principals, kids, they all think, What schmoe couldn't do a better job than the schlub they currently have in room 6213?

And when I look at the work my school board does, my VP does, the science and math and history and P.E. teachers do, I pretty much think the same thing, don't I.

Yep, I am a hypocrite. Don't judge me but I will judge you.

Ya gotta love school mentality, right?

Views: 23

Comment by Jessica Eitzen on January 19, 2010 at 8:15am
I started reading this expecting something completely different. My experience is with the parents who just know you can do your job better than you, nevermind the fact that your discipline problems often stem from their lack of discipline.
And she thinks to herself, "If you know so much, then you trying doing this damn job!" I've wanted to say just that to a couple of parents.

What you're actually saying, though, I think just really depends on the school district. Here at my district, there's no VP. Our principal comes in to observe, and I'm often grateful because I have a class of godless heathens who are physically incapable of behaving. I have a para helping me with my class of 15 and even then, it's more than the 2 of us can tag team. When my principal comes in she actually will help students who have their hands raised, and she'll call students out on their behavior. Things don't often get a lot better, but it's a help.

My mom has been teaching for 35 years in the same district, and the principal before the current one was kind of like the VP you mentioned. I remember bits of this, too, because he was my elementary principal. He'd walk into the room and there would suddenly be this surge of negative energy. The teachers were tense and on edge, the aides were tense and on edge, and therefore the students were tense and on edge. He'd sit there and write in his little notebook with this look on his face like, "You may have been teaching for 2 decades [or whatever] but I'm going to figure out everything you're doing wrong. You suck as a teacher."

I can't imagine an environment like that.
Comment by Alan Sitomer on January 19, 2010 at 9:19am
Jessica, you make me smile.

Keep up the good work.


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