A Simple Request
What do teachers need from administrators?
Inherent in that question, I see a fundamental problem with education both in public schools and in private schools. And that is that we have created a distinction between teachers and administrators and have allowed for the acceptance of a system of hierarchies developed more on a division of labor than a recognition of competencies.
For longer than anyone can remember, the educational-industrial-complex has allowed that distinction to be the rule and in doing so we have created for the most part a system -- educational and cultural -- that fosters rule-acceptance as a virtue, jealousy as a norm, and direly energy-sapping faculty lounges as a rule while ignoring basic human competencies of love, compassion, and service of the variety that doesn't ask for something in return.
We are all hypocrites. I include myself in that category foremost. We talk about changing things, but for the most part that talk exists within the conceptual vacuum of the current system -- even when we think we're thinking outside-of-the-box. Because it's always about our arguments and our better methods and our better ideas and our better mousetraps. And while we argue over testing and technology and models of leadership and school branding, we ignore the voices of those who have the most stake in this confused system: the students.
Where are the student voices on your school board? Where are the student voices on your board of directors? Where are the student voices in your faculty meetings, your administration meetings, your parent-teacher association meetings?
And I'm not talking about the nominal "good student" who gets a nominal place at the table. I'm talking about the student body -- that community that comprises the heart of why your school exists. I'm talking about the voices of your valedictorian and lowest-ranking student alike.
And so, given the present system, what would I as a teacher -- and as a parent of three -- want from my administrators?
I'd like them to make transparent all conversations and allow student engagement in every aspect of school policy. At very least, I'd like to see every admin meeting broadcast to a schoolwide e-video channel live with a real-time backchannel inclusive to any student who wishes to participate. I'd like to see the same for all faculty meetings. I'd like to see the same for all teacher evaluations. Yes, I want students involved hands-on in teacher evaluations. I want our students to see what goes on in all of those endless meetings and I want our students to be able to respond and offer their voices, ideas, opinions, and criticisms in real-time and publicly -- no matter who they are and no matter what they have to say.
I have a simple request.
Let's cut out the hierarchy. Let's let radical open culture reign. Let's destroy fear. Let's allow new ways of thinking to create themselves.
A simple request.
Shelly Blake-Plock is a teacher and parent in Maryland. He writes the TeachPaperless.com blog and has been making crazy requests and often getting in trouble for making them for a really long time now.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."
- A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
- In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
- The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.
Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.
Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.
- Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
- Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
- But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.