As I've mentioned in this space previously, I'm currently enrolled in an admininstrative credential and master's program. This is my 9th year in the classroom, and, while I'm not really ready to leave teaching, I'm looking to open doors for the future.
Unfortunately, I'm kind of conflicted. I hear, and read here in the Blogosphere, a lot of venom directed at administrators at the school, district, and county level. Much of this I can identify with; there are many in the admin ranks who would identify with several of the points I made in my last post. But I don't think that this is necessairly an occupational hazard. I believe it's possible to be an administrator who is looking out for kids and for teachers. Adminstrators can be responsive to the needs of their school community and the demands of the county, state, and federal education agencies.
Why, then, are so many apparently not?
On a somewhat related issue: Last year, our district was embroiled in a labor dispute: we wanted more money, the district said there wasn't any. Both sides dug in. We "worked to contract." We quit doing afterschool interventions. There were "crisis" meetings. Teachers pressured, and I mean really pressured, colleagues to leave campus exactly at the contracted time. Teachers would wait in their cars in the parking lots until the contracted start time, then march through the office in unison, "United and Informed," wearing red t-shirts on Wednesdays. Teachers stood outside the campuses, and sometimes on campus, on Open House night and passed out flyers to parents. There was even a letter, formatted as a certificate of appreciation, handed out on Day of the Teacher, that was one of the most childish things I'd ever read.
You can probably tell my own position on the issue, and it leads to some of the conflict I mentioned above. I support our union. I pay my dues, I was the sole site rep on our campus for 2 years, and I honestly appreciate the efforts the union takes to improve my salary, benefits, and working conditions.
We want to be treated like professionals, yet when we don't get our way, we sulk like babies, throw tantrums, and act in ways we would never accept in our classrooms. How is it acceptable from us, then? Relationships with the administration of the school sites were damaged, and they had no control over anything we were upset about.
In the end, we got more-or-less what we wanted. I appreciate that. I don't think, though, the methods used were justified, or even really what led to the resolution. I dread our next round of negotiations.