Last weekend, I attended a college recruitment fair. More than 1,000 students walked through the booths of over 200 colleges from across the country speaking to college recruiters, picking up pamp…
Source: Taking a Proper Gemba Walk
It’s ironic that I was once a part of the very process I now despise. Walk in a pack into a classroom and erroneously expect teacher and students to behave as if they are not being scrunched. This year, I especially hate this process is beginning so early and this year. Teachers need a break. Administrators need a break from this process. It has eroded the trust and partnership between teachers and administrators.
“The field has been hit hard by a sense of de-professionalization and top-down school improvement strategies. Individual schools can overcome the odds, however, by creating great places to work.” The article seems incomplete how it ends. Current examples or strategies of making school a great place to work was lacking. Thinking back, even when I worked at a school in Belleview many moon ago it was a decent place to work. The principal was no nonsense, firm, but fair. He was the same stern person to all the adults and somehow he made himself personable to the kids with a smile and chuckle or two. I can remember really only one discipline problem with a student that had to be handled by administration that I encountered because everyone knew and understood the consequences for not following the rules. At the time I arrived at Bellview, there were five of us total in the school not counting the two custodians out of the rest of the custodial staff(lunch staff was white). It still turned out to be a place that was ok to be there everyday. We had two phones on each wing to call parents on the spot about homework. No one tripped about borrowing supplies when someone needed it. Parent conferences were scheduled during the school day during our planning. Once a month for the grade level meeting, we would come together to celebrate all birthdays for the month. Each person took a month and was responsible for the celebration. What started out as getting just a cake ended up becoming a birthday brunch with Mrs. W grunting yum to every bite which made thirteen of us smile and chuckle between our individual munchies. Or Mrs. B making sure everyone had enough even though it wasn’t her month. Even with Mr. H feeling the need to share an antidote or two, it’s amazing how the conversation steered naturally to everyone sharing information about students and lessons with everyone making instructional adjustments to stay in sync as a grade level. During those times, we always discovered Mrs. N was way off course on her Science lessons because she wanted to teach what she liked, but never took offense to the help we all gave on helping her readjust to the map (the early stages of curriculum mapping) while still implementing a strategy or two to make it her own. And by my third and final year there before transferring to another County, diversity improved from five to eight. Yes this was an improvement compared to the times. Remember, the Little Rock Nine didn’t achieve success overnight intergrating Central High and neither does a school. However, the changes that occurred and the employee culture that made people work together, students smile and do their best, and everyone follow the expectations set came from within the school’s walls. Schools have lost the ability to make school “a nice place to work” because state and district mandates have become motivated to strangle the very life out of the people who make up the school. I don’t have time to sit down and authentically help you align your lesson when I’m fighting for my own standard and lesson alignment according to mandates in this crazy world of compliance. Federal, state, and district have created an educational “survival of the fittest” atmosphere that will never be effective in drawing millenials to the profession, especially when there are so many professions with higher earning power without someone constantly over your shoulder making you feel incompetent. There are signs of the pendulum slowly swinging the other way. However, this time, it might be a case of too much, too little, too late for everyone. Unfortunately, our children’s might be the ones harmed the most in the long run.
Mike Murdoch says “When I ask questions, I want to know. When I stop asking questions, I don’t believe in your answers.”
This is food for thought especially now with the current educational climate.