Let’s be honest… to a quite certain extent America is have a crisis of administrative leadership in our schools. It’s the unspoken calamity. People blame teachers for all that is wrong but the truth is our nation’s principals and vice principals are woefully under-prepared and under-resourced to do their jobs… which really is all about empowering me with the ability to better do my job.
Look at my school, for example. We have only 1 principal and 3 VPs in charge of nearly:
-at least 50 – 75 other “classified” employees.
(These are ballpark numbers; they keep the real numbers under wraps around here for some reason and year to year I never know what’s really what. Plus things are always in flux. One year we were near 5,000 kids. This year, due to budget cuts, we are looking at losing 18% of our teaching staff. Ya just never know what’s what.)
Of course, the responsibilities for my administrators above don’t even take into account the requisite interactions with the teacher’s union, parents, other principals, conferences, meetings with the school board, the district personnel and on and on with which the P and VP’s must deal. Like these administrators even have a prayer of being able to successfully navigate all of the discipline, grades, budgets, emergencies, proms, politics, sporting events, meals, tardy sweeps, staff meetings and so on.
In a word their assignment is “untenable”. Truly. If you look at all that our school site administrators are asked to do, it’s simply not possible for them to be able to accomplish everything we are asking them to accomplish — especially if we want them to accomplish their mandates excellently well. Crud, I never thought I’d say this as a teacher, but I really think we need more warm bodies in the administrative game because with such limited resources leading our schools, how in the world can we truly be expecting them — or us — to flourish? Of course, flourish is a word that they we will all pay lip service to but let’s be honest, when we view school site administrators, we kinda get the feeling that they are merely hoping to survive, to navigate this unmanageable ship through a rocky sea without losing too many passengers to the wild waves.
Some, we know will be lost. But c’est la vie, right. There’s always next year.
And oddly enough, I like my principal. And the VP’s. They are not bad people… they are just swamped, handcuffed people who are overwhelmed, overworked, overtaxed and under-resourced. I mean, when I see that 250 teachers were axed by Rhee in DC, I gotta wonder, were these folks given support, encouragement, training, clear expectations, adequate interaction with principals and school site administrators before they were cut loose? ( I can only guess what Rhee would say. But what would the teachers who work with — not for — with Rhee say.)
If our educational ship is sinking, doesn’t a look deserve to be given to the performance of each school site captain? I mean ya can’t blame the rowers if we crash into the rocks?