It has been a while since my last post so I thought I’d jump back in with a whale of a tale. Things weren’t exactly going well at my school up to this point but after the events that occurred the other day it is safe to say I work in a powder keg.
It was just another ordinary Friday at school until our grade-level chair called us into the work room for an impromptu meeting. This couldn’t be good at 6:45 on a Friday morning. We knew it had something to do with a meeting called by our principal earlier. She had some things she needed to get out to the staff and her way of doing such is to delegate others to do it for her. She can’t handle all of us in one sitting.
We all sat down at the table as the grade level chair proceeded to tell us that we were all in trouble for a few things starting with questioning the decisions of the school administration as well as being “rude” to central office personnel who had come to our school to discuss results of the then recently released End Of Grade testing several weeks prior. We sat there all a bit perplexed and shocked as the department chair told us how the administration was sick of our complaining and questioning of their decisions.
Lets forget for a minute that some of those decisions have been highly questionable, extremely inconsistent, and flat out bad.
The straw that broke the camels back was when our chair told us that our administrator would write us up for questioning any of her decisions. We all sat their mouths agape, speechless. One of my coworkers very astutely said “so we are being censored.” She later made a great allusion to Dolores Umbridge of Harry Potter fame. If I wasn’t mad about the ongoing events I would have been mad at myself for not having made that connection myself.
So, as it stands at my school we are not allowed to question any decision of the administrator without fear of a reprisal in the way of a write up that goes into our personnel file. I have to say I am seriously contemplating making such a move to call the bluff of the principal who has to date shown the worst management skills of any administrator I have ever worked for. When this happens I will go into her office and slide over a copy of the the Bill of Rights and ask her if she is prepared to continue through this process and infringe upon my First Amendment Rights. I seriously doubt she will, but I seriously doubt I’d get much support from the county office either if I complained to them.
They were in fact the other part of the “problem.”
They have thus far shown me very little in the way of effective management and decision making themselves. The fact that they sent representatives to our school to discuss the previous year’s testing data and the contrived means of measuring student/teacher growth wasn’t what bothered me. We knew the results would be bad, we knew we as a school had not done well. What bothered me was that they thought us rude for questioning the validity of the data, which if you know anything about, is highly questionable.
It started when I discovered an inaccuracy in the data they provided. They acknowledged the mistake but clearly did not want to dwell on it. Pardon us for wanting to know if more inaccuracies were present and asked questions. They treated us like Dorothy and the rest of her gang from the Wizard of Oz. We were supposed to over look the guy clearly standing behind the curtain.
When we pressed for more answers it became clear to us that they were not prepared and or willing to answer our questions. Forgive a few teachers for wanting answers to the questions they have about these tests. Considering these test results determine our worth based on new guidelines it is hard for us to keep our mouths closed and sit their dutifully and be told yours scores suck be better.
They tried to sugar coat it and tell us not to take it personally but how are we not when we are slammed in the media, in the public eye, and by ill-informed politicians who clearly don’t get what education should be about when they sign off on these asinine policies.
We were rude for standing up for ourselves I guess. The soft skin central office personnel clearly didn’t like our tone so they complained and our principal never wanting to look bad in the eyes of her superiors, came down on us, through her messengers of course.
There is a big difference between what we did and being rude. If you want to see rude I can be rude. There is also a big difference between questioning and being insubordinate. If my principal asks me to do something I don’t like or agree with I will most likely comply but I should absolutely be able to voice my objection without being written up for it. That is a fundamental right of all American citizens, but seeing as those rights are slowly but surely dissolving, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
So Educational Decree No. 1 at my school will be not to question the administration about anything. There may or may not be a magical pen that will carve “I will not question my principal,” into our hands.