One of the problems with working in Curriculum is the view that you're an interloper...a nuisance...within the schools. Some of this is likely a misunderstanding about what it is that we do. We are often told by teachers that they like each of us individually, but as a collective noun, there are few things that bring out the angry-villagers-with-torches-and-pitchforks response than talking about Curriculum. We do make for easy targets. We're visible---out and about in the schools---and are housed at the Head Shed. When teachers want to blame The District, their quivvers are loaded with arrows to launch in Curriculum's direction.
A larger part of our image problem, however, has to do with how we are or are not sponsored by administrators. Sponsorship? It's the idea that an admin should recognize that all of us are after the same thing (doing what's good for kids) and treat support for teachers (in the form of Curriculum) as worthwhile in meeting the goals of School Improvement. A Curriculum Department is just a means to the end. The admin sets the tone in the building. He or she can say a lot about the value of staff development and the expectations for teachers to continually grow in their professional experiences by how Curriculum is integrated with the school. Right now, this district has an ongoing love-hate relationship with the elementary schools and no relationship with the secondary. An early morning meeting tomorrow is meant to be the first step in addressing this.
We have to schmooze them a little...romance them. We need to put in our most demure outfits and bat our eyelashes, perhaps throw in a little bit of playing "hard to get." We need them to realize how much they really need us. Why? Because there's an awful lot of kids who aren't being successful in school. Curriculum doesn't have all the answers, but neither does the school itself. We can be greater than the sum of our parts and do something meaningful for the children who show up each day; but, it takes the right attitude about things. It means that all of us have to be accountable for our actions in this partnership. I'm hoping that what we start tomorrow won't turn out to be a one-night stand.