11 January 2007

The School Who Cried, "Wolf!"

Every school culture is unique. It's an amalgam of leadership style in the main office, teachers new and not-so-new to the building, and an ever changing student clientele. Schools take on certain personalities. The district becomes a family that has siblings with a variety of attention-seeking behaviors.

The elementary math specialist and I just finished another round of grade level meetings. As expected, some teachers are unhappy with the new science kits. But the interesting thing is that the biggest complaints came from the same two schools. In fact, these are the same schools that whine about nearly everything that happens in and around the district. They have no ability to pick their battles, the result of which is another iteration of rage against the machine.

I told another staff member in Curriculum that if a teacher from a school that doesn't continually complain had said the same things about the science kits, I would have snapped to attention. Sadly enough, because it's the same teachers complaining about science and math curriculum, writing program and coaches, leadership issues, the new report card, and more---I tuned them out. I let them vent, but I didn't take any notes. This seems to be true for others who are their targets...which then leads to even more frustration on the teachers' part because no one is responding. I'm happy to support what I can, but at some point, it becomes their responsibility to stop crying "Wolf!" at every single thing. (Or, perhaps, we should show them the Whining Rubric and see if we can't at least move them toward the standard.) These schools are also the ones who refuse to participate on district committees or initiatives---so anything new appears even more as something done "to" them, rather than "with" them. They choose to be victims.

We need a bit of change on both sides. These schools are going to have to come to the table with more than "It's so unfair!" and from the district end, we need to look for new ways to get them engaged and involved---to give them a different sort of voice in how things work. In the meantime, these schools and teachers are going to be lost lambs---and continue to be thrown to the wolves.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cute rubric :)