Sunday, December 09, 2012

Weathering the Storm

As teachers (and maybe just as people) we struggle when it comes to sharing the good vs. the bad. While there are folks who seem to enjoy complaining, most of us often sugarcoat things. Teachers especially tend to celebrate the positives, even as they note and inwardly cry over the failures.

I believe recognizing the positives, talking about them, and, yes, even celebrating them helps. It's too easy for teachers to obsess over what isn't working, progress that isn't happening, and lessons that went wrong. It can wear one down.

This is on my mind as a result of reading John Spencer's post about ways to handle a tough period. Not everyone is as willing to share the hard parts and that got me thinking. (As always his thinking and writing are worth reading.) I'm not having a rough year with my class (as I've mentioned they're pretty darn darling) but we're in a bit of a rough patch as a school.

It's not something people want to talk about openly. Our problems are discussed in whispers, while eyes dart back and forth. We don't really like to admit that we're having such a tough time.

I'm in my 15th year at this school. I've been lucky enough to be a part of growing this school into a powerhouse, a well-respected school with a fabulous staff. We're feeling that slipping away and we don't know what to do.

Part of the reason we stay mostly quiet, I think, is that we aren't sure where the problems originate. Teachers are feeling micromanaged and disrespected in a variety of ways. Is that something our administration could remedy or is this coming down from our cluster or even a district-wide problem? An insane amount of our time is spent in meetings, meetings for which we have minimal control over our agendas. Who is dictating this? It's not clear.

Maybe some openness about the tough times we are in would go a long way towards improving the situation.


ya ya's mom said...

i'm soooo with you. i'm in a building where we didn't make the progress needed on state testing last year and have now lots of things dictating what and how we do it. i also work under admin that thinks micro managing plc work is useful. we fill out all these forms and never have time to get to the stuff that matters, talking about what to do with the kids and what worked....ugh. so very frustrated! i am in my 10th year at my building. HAS to get better, right?

organized chaos said...

Coming from someone whose moved to another school within the county... it is coming from above. And frankly, wow- problems need to be fixed now because the way the county/cluster is going is that it is only going to get worse. The stories I could tell...
I keep coming back to how to fix the problem, and I don't know. It's funny to work at a place with crazy meetings but nobody complains about them- things that would have sent the think tank's teachers over the hill.
"It could be worse" isn't what you want to hear, but sadly, now that I'm outside of it, I realize how good we had it.

Jenny said...

ya ya's mom, I'm so hoping it has to get better! Keeping my fingers crossed for us both.

organized chaos, I hear you. I do recognize that, in many ways, we've got it good. The problem is much larger than just our school but that doesn't make it less painful. We're just sharing the pain.