mail this InsideTeaching entry to a friend
15 December 2004: Cardinal Rules for Administrators (4 of 6)
Rule #3: Support Your Teachers
Twice this year I have fought this battle with parents. They tell me to change the seat where their kid is sitting. I explain to them the ten reasons why I won’t. The first time, the reigning principal backed me up. We solved the problem using more costly but more positive efforts, such as communication skills and community building. Throughout the process, my relationships with parents, students and administrators were positive and productive. The second time, I did not experience support from parents or administrators before, during, or after the request. What was different, you may ask? This time, Anna completely and totally overrode my policy. Without bothering to discuss it with me, she walked into my classroom after school, informed me that she had spoken to a parent, and that I was to change the child’s seating arrangement. Period. I respectfully protested, and tried to give some of my reasons for resisting this solution. I explained that if Marcus was respectful of Jolie, I’m sure they would not have the problems that they do. I’d like to see Marcus behave to that standard before I explore other solutions to the problem of how Jolie annoys him. “I understand that you disagree with me. Now do what I told you to do.” She leaves, and I cry. But only for a minute.