Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Solid Foundation

I was having a conversation about going back to teaching with a friend of mine, when the topic moved to that of being an Administrator and/or Principal/AP. Granted it’s not an easy job, but neither is teaching in general. However, there’s not too much to complain about , when your salary is 85K to 100K+ compared to that of oh…26K to 30K for a beginning classroom teacher.

Now, I know many of you might think, “well, an Admin deserves that much, they have experience and more than likely a Master’s Degree” or “it’s hard work running a school”. I’ll give you this…it is hard work running a school, I mean essentially you are running a business, and yes, most Admins have Master’s or above…but the experience…I wish.

I use to be friends with someone who became a Principal here in Georgia and when I asked her how long she had to teach in order to get to that position she said “I’ve never taught”. THAT BLEW MY MIND!!! Never taught? How can this be possible? And then…one day she asked me how she could motivate her teachers and I gave her a slew of ideas, I got met with “I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” Well ok then, I mean YOU’RE the PRINCIPAL, YOU’RE making 85K a YEAR and yet you don’t know how to motivate your teachers but don’t want to hear advice from a former classroom teacher? Ok then.

Granted, there are some bad teachers, just flat out bad. Just like there are bad (insert your favorite profession here) everywhere. But don’t feed me that bullshit of “oh it’s because of BAD teachers that are schools are failing” or “it’s because of BAD teachers that our kids are failing” and yes, sometimes that is true. But does anyone ever look at the Principals and the Admins, rarely to never in my opinion.

It works like this…when you build a house, you want a strong foundation under that house. Your Principal and Admins are the foundation; your teachers, the supports and you better believe ALL of that, that teachers are the supports. When the foundation begins to break down or fails to do a good job upholding the supports, the weaker of the supports gives out and usually fairly quickly, eventually the remaining supports have to pick up the slack and we all know that NO ONE likes to do extra work if they don’t have too. So then, the grumbling begins, by the time the “non-classroom experienced” Principal realizes this, it’s too late and the infrastructure of the house falls apart.

I think that Principals that have zero classroom experience should not be allowed to be a Principal or an Admin of any sort until they have at least 5 years of classroom experience. I’m more qualified to be a Principal that my former friend is.

Furthermore, I think the Principal, AP or Admin should have to teach ONE class, of their choosing in addition to being a Principal. Then they can carry the workload a classroom teacher manages on a daily basis so that they can see what’s it’s like to TEACH. ANYONE can walk around with a clipboard and look important.

Let me just say that this is what I’ve had first hand knowledge of in GA. When I taught in the Bronx, yes I said the BRONX, 4200 kids, MINIMAL problems, an AP that taught AND did admin duties and a Principal who ran the school seamlessly. And why did that school run seamlessly? Because that Principal had 7-10 years of classroom teaching experience before they even considered him for a Principal position.

We NEED GOOD Principals, AP’s and Admins. We NEED GOOD teachers. Because so much depends on it.


Blogger Big Pissy said...

Is there a particular county in GA you're thinking about teaching in?

My daughter teaches in Clayton Co. and started out (5 years ago) in the low $30,000's. The summer between her first and second year of teaching, she finished her master's and got a substantial raise. Then another after she'd been teaching 3 years.

The principal at her school is AWESOME!

I do agree with the points you made in your post. :)

7:23 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home