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Monday, August 16, 2010

Hello, my name is Al Brennan, I am the principal of Forrest high school and I hate teachers

Principal Brennan didn't actually say that and I doubt he feels that way too. Sadly however that's what numerous teachers heard when he told them at the welcome back staff meeting, if they don't park in their designated spots he will have their cars towed. If they don't turn a room key in, he will say they stole it and words to the effect that he will prosecute them and if they are one minute late they will be disciplined. I wouldn't dream of talking to my students that way, and if I did I would rightfully get in trouble, a teacher friend of mine said.

You know it's a common practice for teachers to start the year strict with their students, that way they have room to lighten up as the year progresses but I have never heard of a principal doing it to his staff. Sadly however this is where we find ourselves in 2010. Principals are told to shake things up as teachers have become the scapegoats for the district. Teachers have gone from valued colleague to someone who can be brow beaten, intimidated, marginalized and worse of all disrespected. So much of teaching is about forming positive relationships, I would hope our principals would remember and realize how important that is when dealing with their staffs.

The chasm between the administration and teachers is widening everyday and that can't be healthy for the Duval County school system and if you want more proof look at how the superintendent declared a financial emergency just days before the school year began in order to stop teachers from getting their raises. Many took it as the district flexing their muscles as if to say, look who the boss is.

The sense of comerade and teamwork are quickly dissipating and cover your ass is fast becoming the mantra of many schools administrations and some think it has been the districts for a while. If we want to have a truly successful school system it's going to require a partnership between teachers and their administrators. I think teachers are the districts number one resource and should be treated with dignity and respect. I believe the better teachers are the better they will be for their students as well and I also believe if they are supported, put in positions were success is attainable and not overwhelmed with task after task then the district will prosper, after all, if the teachers didn't show up one day, then school would slam to a halt but if a principal didn't show up, school would merrily chug along.

If things don't change teachers won't be the only ones that suffer, so to will our children.

I wrote above, I don't think Mr. Brennan hates teachers, I sincerely hope he doesn't too.

1 comment:

  1. Andrew Carnegie once stated you can take my buildings and resources, leave my workers, my greatest asset, and I'll be back on top. The teachers are the front line soldiers doing the mission work that we call teaching, and as such should be held in high esteem. It's amazing to me how the administrators like to hold the Singapore schools as an example of success, well in the Asian culture the teacher is to be revered. Maybe the Ivory Tower bunch should explore this aspect of Asian education.