My bio says I’m an inner city teacher. For 15 years that was true. Recently I have worked in a different location, though socio-economically there are many similarities.
I have rediscovered the joy of teaching and can explain why very few teachers in Philadelphia know that joy. It starts with administration, not children. All children want to succeed, and for them to succeed they know their teachers have to succeed. What Philadelphia principals don’t know is that for their principal-ship to be successful, their teachers must be successful.
Where I work now I know that my administrators are looking to support me, do I have what I need, are any kids giving me a hard time? They’ve laid out exactly what to do should there ever be a problem. They arrive before the kids do, greet them at the door, know every kid by name. Students see administration and faculty talking to each other respecting each other, being collegial, being personable, and in fact enjoying each other’s company. This is so different from Philadelphia where it seems the principal’s mission each day is to find the teacher doing something wrong. This directive must come from higher up, you know the ones who over spent the budget by $629 million, after they over spent it by $150 million, after they lost control of their schools to violence. And if principals can’t write up teachers and show how negligent they are, only working 60+ hours a week, then it would be impossible to blame teachers.
Philadelphia schools will improve when administrators start to support teachers instead of seeking to blame them. It would be so easy to fix this school district, but then…..
For 2012 I wish all teachers could share my experience of these past five months, where I’ve been told I am doing a good job. I wish all children could attend schools as well administered as the one I work in. I wish politicians would let experts known as educators run our schools. I wish we would ask ourselves what exactly we need politicians for. Of course when we get to that point we would have politicians worth reelecting.