Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 83

I'm not one to bad mouth anyone who would dare to be a City school principal. That job is thankless, exhausting, and frankly impossible given expectations and budgets. Not to mention the broken communities, lack of parent involvement, and hoards of troubled kids and burned out, lazy, or incompetent staff.

So, yeah: props to the Big Cheese for trying, but I really have a problem with the General Scold leadership style. This is the type of leader who gets on the intercom and lectures all staff for the mistake of one staff member. It is cowardly behavior, because the leader figures he or she is solving the problem while actually he or she is avoiding the problem, and in fact the morale in the building goes down every time it happens. Please: Take the offending staff member into your office for training, counseling, or dressing-down or whatever that person needs: don't lay heavy guilt on everybody for one person's sins.

I also distrust and dislike leaders who contradict themselves routinely, and the Big Cheese is a walking contradiction. Here are a few examples:

(over the intercom) "I need you to write an AWOL slip for any student who is not in your class when they are supposed to be. Give these to the Administrator for your grade level."

(while I am delivering my AWOL slips not two hours later) "Mr. G, why are you wasting time and paper filling out those AWOL slips? Take some initiative and call those parents yourself!"


(at the staff meeting) "I need you to write detailed and engaging instructional plans every day. We are not done this school year yet. I expect full 90-minute plans with teaching and learning until the last day of school."

(the very next day at another staff meeting) "I am tired of staff sitting in their rooms writing plans during their planning period. What are you planning for this time of year? You got nothing going on. Get your behinds out in the halls and patrol during your planning time."


(at the staff meeting) "Do not, under any circumstances, send children to the administrator. Handle your business. The children will never respect you if you don't learn to handle them without calling for an administrator all the time."

(over the intercom) "If children are disrupting your class room, you need to send them to the administrators immediately. This is not rocket science. We have procedures in place. If the student is continuously disruptive, send them out of your room."

I could go on, but you get the point. Every day she issues directives and then forgets about them and/or backpedals. Today we had two fires set in two different wings of the school consecutively. While we were outside yet again for an hour watching firefighters schlep hoses she was screaming at a substitute teacher for not bringing his roll book and taking roll of his class on the field. The poor sap doesn't have a roll book because he's a fucking substitute! He doesn't know the kids who are in his class, and, in fact, he had six or seven kids pretending to be in his class because they didn't want to go to their real classes. Who is responsible for this? The Big Cheese, who should ensure that subs get attendance sheets which are accurate and current.

I don't even get an accurate attendance sheet--I've reported a dozen times that there are children who withdrew months ago still on my attendance sheet each morning. Nothing ever gets fixed. Not once have I received an accurate roll list for a single one of my classes. This is not the teachers' fault.

No comments: