Pavlovian Pushback…

Mike—one of my favorite regular readers who is one of the most thoughtful and brilliant digital colleagues that I’ve met over the last few years—left the following thoughts on my Pathetic Pavlovian Reaction post about school leadership:

Allow me to clarify and expand on my comments just a bit. I agree with you entirely that being a principal is a tremendously difficult and demanding job, a job for which few principals are adequately prepared. I agree too that few are given appropriate post hiring training, and that far too many have insufficient control over their schools (mandated by their bosses). That said, my background has taught me well to be cautious about criticizing my principals, for I know only too well that they certainly do not get to do all that they’d like to do.

My point, as opaquely expressed as it was, was that in making your decision about what to do with your career, keep in mind that while the only way to make any real money in education is as a coach or an administrator, those positions have their own crosses to bear, and once you step out of the classroom, you inevitably become more and more distant from the actual learning that occurs, and about which you write with skill and passion.

My little aphorism for new teachers is that when it comes to understanding and properly responding to the daily concerns and needs of classroom teachers and their students, principals, even principals who really want to be supportive of teachers, are essentially beings from another planet. Central office administrators are from another galaxy; state educrats are from another universe and federal educrats are, at best, an utterly unfathomable form of life (perhaps) from another dimension.

I’ve little doubt you’ve considered similar issues, but thanks for the chance to clarify.

I’m with you, Mike….Especially when you write:

My little aphorism for new teachers is that when it comes to understanding and properly responding to the daily concerns and needs of classroom teachers and their students, principals, even principals who really want to be supportive of teachers, are essentially beings from another planet. Central office administrators are from another galaxy; state educrats are from another universe and federal educrats are, at best, an utterly unfathomable form of life (perhaps) from another dimension.

More on that one later….I’m late for a morning meeting!