Cameroon 2009

Cameroon 2009

Monday, September 30, 2013

Trusting teachers

As a principal, I really think that teachers don't get enough respect.

The story goes...  The new principal is in the school a couple of weeks before the start of the new year.  As she is moving around the school, meeting the teachers who are starting to come in and prepare, she notices that the supply room is being left open.  The teachers are walking into the room, and coming back out, sometimes with armloads of supplies - paper, pens, rulers, markers, staplers and so on.  When no one is around, she goes into the room and sees that, sure enough, there is no sign-out sheet for these supplies.  Well, this is troubling, but she knows enough not to try to change the situation without learning more.
Wondering who she can talk with, she sees the old janitor down the hall.  She goes over to him, points to the open supply room, and asks, "Are the teachers really just allowed to go into the supply room and help themselves without anyone checking?"  The janitor smiles and replies, "Well, we do trust them with the children, ma'am."

Are teachers trusted to work within the realistic constraints of our school budgets and their own budget areas?

Are teachers trusted to access all of the information we have about the students they work and learn with every day?

Are teachers trusted to try out new ways of engaging students, even if it moves outside the boundaries of any of the traditional models of teaching and learning we're familiar with?

Are teachers trusted with access to the best technology we have, including the social media sites that we might be afraid will distract them from the rest of their work?

If not, how do we reconcile this with the fact that, "we do trust them with the children"?

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