There are just so many elements that contribute to education’s struggles, much of which many civilians never even think about. I write a lot about these elements to try to give insight from a teacher’s point of view, and to give an idea of how the consequences of these shortcomings each trickle down to chip away at student achievement.
Today’s post is about the nomadic ebb and flow of school administrators. The media talks a lot about the importance of good teachers, and I make no qualms about that necessity. But I don’t think civilians know that we are, at times, like our student populations, in parental flux with no real, consistent guidance. And that can’t be ignored.
With each new superintendent comes a new district agenda. What was important might no longer be.
With each new principal comes a new curriculum vision for the site, a different personnel preference, and varying levels of abilities to deal with teachers, parents, and students.
With each new vice-principal comes varying degrees of ability to enforce discipline or enforce academic policies.
As simplistic as this seems, the fact is that each member of a school administration has a lot to do with the learning environment and the academic habitat of a school.
I love my current district, and I love my current school, but man, it could use some consistency. My current school has had two superintendents since my hire. I had a VP who left a year after I arrived. Then the principal who hired me left in the middle of the school year two years later. An interim principal was put in place, a new principal hired. Another VP was hired, then made interim principal at an elementary school. A new one was brought in. He left. The original one came back. But now she’s just been told she’s leaving again for elementary. Now there’s a new VP coming from the district office.
Granted, sometimes an administrator wants to keep moving on and up, leaving the school and it’s children behind. But many times these school leaders are shuffled around by their own districts. And without their own tenure to help stand behind, they can’t stand up to the powers that be.
The fact is that it’s not just the students who need consistency in their life; it’s the teachers too. We need stability to get our craft together without feeling that we have to re-campaign every two to three years for support from a new administration.
We need to know the rules, and we need the rules to stay put for awhile so we can actually all make a difference together.