Young ‘Uns

This is gossip, so it’s worth the paper it’s written on.

According to others in my career circle, one of our young ‘uns, a Teach for America teacher, has now determined that administration is the appropriate career path  — his or her life blood if you will.  If ever there were a brilliant time for a WTF moment, this would be it.  My first reaction was, “ARE YOU KIDDING?”

According to my sources, no.  Cue rueful laughter and head shaking.

I mean, really, this person doesn’t know what he/she doesn’t know.  It is however, a testament to youth, that upon examining all available career paths to one fresh from EXPENSIVE NAME BRAND COLLEGE would opt for education, which is career purgatory or suicide, let alone to determine that he/she is the best qualified to LEAD a school is mind-boggling at best and horrific at worst.  However, I can’t say there’s a better reason than youthful arrogance, can I?  I mean it’s right up there with saving the world and doing it because teaching is hard but it’s all I know.

I jest.  It’s a terrible reason to enter administration.  Educational administration is already  filled with people crippled with limited scope, knowledge, actual leadership skills, drive or ambition.  If teaching programs in the late 90s watered down (excuse me, DILUTED) their curriculum and lowered the bar on excellence just to get bodies into the classrooms, then so did administrative programs.

I watched program after program admit people who had not been teaching long, certainly weren’t excellent in their field, and who weren’t in it because they had the support of their colleagues.  Programs admit people for money or as machines to fill perceived gaps.  This has further wounded education and our ability to educate using intelligence, connection, and  innovation.  People who don’t know, can’t think, and have limited skills in leadership and analysis are heading the charge.  Dude, seriously.  It’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by turkeys.

Do I think this young person is a turkey?  Sometimes.  I’m seriously worried that someone who doesn’t collaborate, discounts other methods of learning as arts and crafts, openly rails against professional development as a waste of time (not that I totally disagree but attitude is everything), who doesn’t speak up or participate in meetings unless TOLD TO, and who walks by students without SEEING them wants to lead a school or a district.  This may be youthful arrogance or it may just be arrogance.  I don’t see that this person has LOOKED, seriously analyzed the school culture, and worked to either a) fit in or b) change it for the better.  This is merely another lone wolf in a sea of lone wolves who has good solid teaching methodology, but doesn’t share equally (not just GIVING but also taking). Nor, really, is that innovative.

In my mind one has to be a really good teacher first before administration can even be on the horizon.  It takes a good 5 years IN THE SAME GRADE LEVEL AT THE SAME SCHOOL to even come close to being good.  Every change takes you back a bit as learning curriculum and culture affect the classroom environment.  This person isn’t even, in my mind, a good teacher.  This person lies to the students (about dumb stuff like library time and Facebook), doesn’t check email or communicate with colleagues using digital media (I thought young ‘uns were all about the iToys?), and doesn’t add anything to the school culture.  Now maybe we’re not the right fit, but I think any superior with a lick of sense would pull this baby off the high horse and have that “Come to Jesus” meeting.

Why?  Because teachers gossip.  Because we would share that this person jumped ship as soon as possible because he/she thinks he/she knows it all.  We would share the stories of lack of collaboration, the lack of community built, the lack of energy put towards improvement, and we WOULDN’T follow that person anywhere.  We won’t be insubordinate, but we won’t buy the snake oil being sold either.

And that, my friends, is really, really, really bad for schools and education.



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