Trying Something New

I’ve been having a few conversations with teachers, parents and community members lately about equity in job expectations for teaching staff and administrators.  It appears that I’m not the only one who has noticed that teachers are held to a very high standard while administration is given a lot of leeway and acceptance for problems and mistakes they make.

Administrators will roll out new programs and give teachers new directives without fully understanding the programs themselves.  Teachers are evaluated on these broken or inaccurate assessment tools and students suffer from the trickle down effect of bad planning and implementation.

“We’re going to try something new this year.” administrators will say, and then they will hand teachers a packet or program of a new theory on how children learn or can be evaluated.  These new programs are usually purchased by districts for political or financial reasons; rarely are they purchased because of research that shows educational successes.  Districts will instruct teachers to start the new programs without any knowledge of how to use the program, what it needs to run, and whether or not it is useful.  Conflicts with current evaluation tools are often a problem and incompatibility with technology is another obstacle teachers have to overcome.

As I spoke with colleagues about this, I wondered how administrators would react if they were held to the same standards as teachers.  Imagine if they not only researched new educational strategies but they also made sure the programs would be effective for the students  they serve.  What if they also made sure the new programs were compatible with their current technology so the lessons and units could be used as data driven tools for student successes without teachers having to overcome technology issues?  Every teacher’s dream is that their administrators are as prepared when they come to them as the teachers are when they create lessons and units for students.

There are good administrators who work with their teachers to make sure every classroom is well prepared, however; their are still too many administrators who only enter a classroom when they are observing a teacher and only talk to teachers during an evaluation.

The problem is that teachers are being observed and evaluated on programs and directives that administrators have not fully understood or fully researched.  Maybe someday they will not only be held to the same standard as teachers, but they will work with teachers to help data driven instruction to be successful for all stakeholders.