Dear Granddaddy, I’m frustrated that my bosses forced me to give my teachers professional development the last week of school. Beth G. – school principal
As an educator, I’m surprised, too, Beth. As a principal, you must be shaking your head at people higher up on the educational food chain. We hope their hearts are in the right place, but regardless, it’s obvious that they are far removed from the daily trenches of education.
Someday, I hope the educational bureaucracy would give more than lip service when they talk about the importance of principal autonomy is. No one is going to know the needs of any particular school better than the on-site educators, and this especially includes the principal, like you, Beth.
I would expect that even educational bureaucrats, who are far removed from the day-to-day operations of running a school, would be smart enough to understand some basic psychology of tired teachers looking toward their summer break. At that time of the year, teachers are not going to be educational sponges that absorb every little piece of information thrown at them. It’s going to be at least twice as difficult for educational experts running those PDs to transfer their expertise to the teachers in a way that allows teachers to own it, and then implement it in the classroom in a way that students can understand it and apply the new learning.
Another big problem with end of the year PD’s is that there isn’t an opportunity for teachers to apply their new learning because the students won’t even be there. The students have gone home for the summer!
Principal autonomy just makes sense, however, common sense isn’t so common as one moves further and further away front the front lines of education. Beth, I just hope your teachers realize that this craziness isn’t coming from you. I hope they also realize that you, just like them, are expected to follow orders in order to keep your job, even if these duties aren’t in the best interest educators or students… Hmm . . . does anyone see anything wrong here?
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