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Sunday, September 24, 2017


I'm getting on my soap box today.  It breaks my heart to hear stories from teachers about how frustrated they are.  I thought I might help you by giving administrators a little advice.  What do you think about my list?  Would you like to add something to it?  How can we "hold hands" and make your job more enjoyable and satisfying?
O.K. I admit that I’ve never been an administrator. I know that the expectations of the job are beyond what any person is capable of doing. However, I’ve been at this rodeo a long time and administrators and educational decision makers need to realize that there is a CRISIS now! Teachers are the heart and soul of our schools and they are stressed, burned out, frustrated, and depressed. In other words, TEACHERS ARE GETTING BEAT UP! Beat up with paperwork, assessments, evaluations, criticism, and lack of support.

It makes me sad as I travel across the country and listen to classroom teachers. Teaching used to be a lot more fun. We got our class list, shut our door, and did our best to help our children learn. I enjoyed going to work and one of my major goals was to have happy students who loved coming to school. If teachers aren’t happy, how are children going to be happy. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that what life is all about?

Based on teachers’ comments, here are some suggestions I’d like to offer administrators and educational decision makers.

Ten things administrators need to know!

1. Let your teachers TEACH. Give them autonomy to do their jobs and TRUST them to do what’s best for their students.

2. If you’ve never taught the grade level, you should NOT make skill lists or set expectations.

3. Support your teachers. Be careful not to let a single parent’s request sway what’s best for their child and the other children in the classroom.

4. Believe in the WHOLE child. A test score is a number. “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” And, sometimes, you can’t see that wonderful little person because of “data.”

5. The word “rigor” is not appropriate when talking about instruction for young children. The world keeps changing, but children are still children. They don’t all grow up in the same way at the same time, and they should not be expected to accomplish skills according to some master plan.

6. Please don’t give teachers any more paperwork. Assessment and reports are driving instruction and consuming their day.

7. Teaching is a video not a snap shot. Is it fair to walk in a classroom, observe for 10 minutes, and then make negative comments to the teacher? Compliment teachers for what they are doing well. Give positive suggestions instead of critical remarks.

8. Be a real person and a good model for your teachers. Visit each classroom and do something FUN by reading a book, teaching a song, telling a joke, or doing a magic trick.

9. Don’t take away their JOY! If the children are engaged and enjoying an activity, do you have to ruin it by requiring “observable evidence”? Let it be! It’s O.K. to read a book without dissecting it with questions about the author’s purpose. It’s O.K. to take a walk outside to enjoy the peace and beauty of nature. It’s fine to sing a song or use a brain break to make children smile.

10. Remember that for some of your students “school” is as good as it’s going to get for them. You never know what’s going on at home, and school should be a wonderful world where they feel accepted, successful, and excited about learning.