It always interests me as to how many teacher-bloggers out there are always ready to bash Central Office. The place is an evil entity, viewed as being antithetical---or at minimum, a hindrance or obstacle---to the work of a classroom teacher. I suppose that before I moved over to the Dark Side, I harboured some similar views. Now I just think they're misplaced.
For starters, the vast majority of people who work at the Head Shed are classified personnel. Do you like your paycheck? Benefits? Teaching supplies, copy machines, computers? These people make it all happen for you. I'm not saying that they don't make mistakes or that some of them aren't awkward to work with, but if you're blaming them because you don't like what you're supposed to be doing in the classroom, you might want to look elsewhere when you're pointing your finger.
Some of us (like me) are teachers just like you. We get paid the same but have different responsibilities. It's true---I don't have to grade many papers or deal with daily classroom issues. But you know what? Your kids are my kids, too. I don't cart around 150 of them in my head as I did when I taught. Now I get to think about what's happening with 12,000 of them. You know all of those mandates being handed to us from the feds and state lawmakers? We do what we can to help translate them for classroom use. Instead of every single teacher having to make this happen, we're there so that you have more time to focus on your kids and your instruction---not the alignments.
Perhaps the finger should be aimed at the admins in Central Office? There are some inept ones around---and others who have completely lost touch with what happens in a real classroom. Bad decisions are made. And then, I think that more teachers should cut the district admins some slack. The admins can't be as myopic as we are in our own classrooms---they have so much more information to consider, weigh, and respond. I don't always like what happens with the admins with whom I work, but I always start from the belief that they are doing the best that they can for everyone under current conditions and expectations.
If teachers are unhappy with the way things are going in their schools, Central Office quickly becomes an easy target. But I hope that at least some will stop to think about who it is they're really irritated with---do you really want to blame the secretary in HR because you have to teach to the standards? Is the tech guy at fault because there's a state test? Did the supe come up with the graduation requirements? I understand teachers' frustrations, but directing all of them onto the people viewed as on the Dark Side is likely misplaced. Everyone has to do what they can and are expected to do in order to make sure that kids get what they need...even those of us working alongside teachers in the trenches.