Monday, September 22, 2008

Bad Teachers, Part 3 of ∞ : The Not-So-Grand Administrative Plan

Before I get started, two mea culpas.

1. Last Friday I wrote something about Instructional Coaches. I got a ton of feedback, including a Instructional Coach job description from my own school's Instructional Coach. She was very nice about it, but let me know that I knew pretty much knew nothing about what Instructional Coaches do. I now more quite a bit more, and thank her for the information.

I'd rather devote a whole 'nother blogpost to some of the things learned (and will do that later this week or so), but in my thin meager defense I will say that my previously ultra-low level of understanding about the role of Instructional Coaches is not unique to your humble brain-deficient blogger.

I would bet that very, very few teachers know much about the Instructional Coach role, and that almost no one knows, as I now do, that the job is sorta like that of the Catholic priest. Teachers, especially those who commit the "sin" of bad teaching, are observed by Instructional Coaches. As outlined in a very long comment to my previous post, the "priests" treat the teaching act as Catholics do Confession. Coaches observe, listen, and provide feedback, but they do NOT report anything to the Principal.

They have nothing to do with the firing of bad teachers, and the whole interaction between teacher and Coach has the same level of confidentiality as that between attorney & client, and priest & confessioner. With the small exception that dozens of students are in the room when the "confession" takes place. More later about Instructional Coaches.

2. As can be seen above and in pretty much any blogpost written here, your humble blogger tends to spend far too much verbiage explaining far too little. Well, in an exercise in overcorrection, he will instead now spend far tool little time explaining far too much.

Below is a simple bullet reallocation of administrative positions and job foci. I think I'll just vomit it out there now, get some feedback (if, dear readers, you would be so kind) and return to the individual jobs/points later. And yes, this is the point in the show where the humble blogger actually presents an "idea", which is another way of saying the point where the dear readership undergoes a big let-down and says to themselves: "Is that all there is? What a stupid idea."

The "New" Typical APS Middle-School Administration: "Principal as Benevolent Dictator"
  • Principal: Provides public face for school, and vision for its curricular direction. Spends significant time daily in teacher classrooms. Oversees revised/improved (Professional Development Plan) implementation (more about this later). Is directly in charge of hiring/firing at the school (of course, more about this later). Handles budgetary matters. Meets with departments regularly, and develops a department meeting schedule that allows principal to be at as many department meetings as possible. Does not handle discipline.
  • Assistant Principal: Assists principal in all of the above. Serves as principal in time of absence. Enacts curricular direction of the school by creating "master schedule" during summer break, and schedules/schedule changes for individual students during the year. Acts as liaison between principal and discipline providers (see below). Attends department meetings not attended by principal.
  • Name To Be Determined Later (but certainly not "Dean of Students" or "Instructional Coach"): Working with newly hired on-campus police, this person enacts the discipline system put in place by APS and the school principal. Is trained in both "traditional" and "restorative justice" methods of discipline. Collaborates with counselors to make sure proper therapeutic treatments are employed to help students with chronic discipline problems. Reports to assistant principal.
  • APS Police Officers: Works under untitled job above to implement the discipline system of the school.
  • Counselors: Counsels students and teachers. Period. Provides group and individual therapy on common issues such as grieving, stress and going to high school. Works with outside agencies to provide additional therapeutic services. Does not work on student schedules. Has nothing to do with scheduling whatsoever.
Okay, there's the bare bones. I'll haphazardly fling some follow-up in upcoming days, and very much welcome feedback and ideas on all of the above. And yeah, I know...what a letdown. Still, let's see where we end up theoretically in the next few weeks, right before APS Superintendent Winston Brooks imposes his "Centrally Controlled" administrative ideas and makes any "site based management" impossible. It will be a fun waste of time. Really.

1 comment:

Steve said...

The problem with a new administrative plan is the total disregard of the professional teacher. Bad teachers will always be a part of education and having a plan to reform them, or exit them is of course necessary. But like every other education plan these days, there is a lack of regard for the people who are good. Good students are told, "we're shutting down creative teachers in the name of a consistent curriculum, and to elimnate 'bad' teaching". This is moronic, baby out with the bathwater thinking. There are no benevelent dictators who I trust to correct this problem, and where are the great teachers who are waiting in line to replace the bad ones? I think worring about bad teachers misses the point entirely. We need to unbridle the good teachers--the ones who actually have a vision for their students and aren't punching the timeclock everyday. The bad teachers will be obvious to all, maybe even themselves (and hopefully they'll select to find another profession).