One of my readers named Jim—who I believe to be a principal—left this comment on my Struggling for Power post:
Why would administrators listen to people who consistently whine for attention? If teachers want shared power then stop complaining and work on improving lessons. I see sloppy teaching habits all day long – and mainly from the biggest conartists who state they are ignored by admins. If you have so much time as to want to do an admin’s job then you probably are not focused on the job in the classroom. Teachers should work on improving instruction and not worry about anything else peripheral to their job. Period.
How would you respond to Jim’s thoughts? Is he right that teachers are consistently whining for attention? Do we spend too much time complaining and too little time improving lessons? Is it possible to work on improving instruction without worrying about anything else peripheral to our job?
A better question: How have we gotten ourselves into the position where this kind of attitude is even possible from a school administrator? When did adversarial relationships characterized by indignancy become the norm in our profession?
The best question: Is this evidence that Mike is right when he writes:
I know that not every principal or administrator is inherently Machiavellian, but I’m suggesting that it may be a bit naive to think that they have teacher’s best interests at heart to the point of sublimating their own ideas and accepting the ideas of teachers instead. And even if they did, their bosses would not likely be receptive to the idea. For too many, empowered and aware teachers are only more threatening.
Is my thinking that productive conversations between adults in the schoolhouse are the key to school reform naive to the point of absurdity?