Setting Boundaries -1

Administrators play a big role in our job security, and yet they come and go in and out of our buildings with such frequency, sometimes yearly or even less, that no sooner does one leave than another arrives. Then we have to put the dog-and-pony show on again for the new one, and stuff our real feelings about not having a good working relationship with someone so important in our professional life. It hurts us because a person who should be helping us is hurting us, albeit unknowingly.

Administrators very rarely understand comprehensible input. I met one in St. Louis, Jeff Tamaroff, who does. Those teachers in his district are lucky, but admins like Jeff occur maybe 1 out of 1000. One of the most negative developments in the history of education is the ignorance of administrators about how people acquire languages. They end up throwing evaluation models at us that don’t make sense in terms of the research, models that actually support the fools (no blame, but they are fools) teaching in the rooms next to us. This cause us to suffer and then when that happens unnecessary conflicts arise and then we get stressed even more.

What to do? Let them walk all over us? I defend the right of people in any profession to choose how they do their work, but not at the expense of children. That is our area of specialty – what is best for children in a foreign language classroom. So how to deal with these uninformed administrators?




9 thoughts on “Setting Boundaries -1”

  1. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    Dang that’s a bitter pill.
    If at all possible I highly recommend taking an admin to a training – Blaine Ray or other. If nothing else it shows that there are numbers behind this movement.
    My principal was stealthily replaced after 12 years in high summer. For me this is an eval year with the state law – PERA in effect. (“student progress accounts for 30% of my evaluation.”)

    What in the world does that even mean for grades 1-4 Spanish?
    It means I have to do the clearest slickest documentation of “progress.”
    It’s about documenting – papers, rubrics, columns, ‘calculations…. Boy have we (as a profession) ever been taken a detour…esp in the area of measuring activity in the Black Box.

    1. That’s scary especially since I am considering a move out of state. Where are CI friendly spots in the US with semi-decent weather? Can I still rock the NT?

      1. Dude there are still very few CI friendly spots. Denver Public Schools is CI but not NT. But generally only a few districts are trying to go full-on with CI. It takes district admins who get it. Atlanta is doing it. I think Minneapolis is strong but really we are not a big deal in most districts – just a blip on the radar and working mainly alone. What areas do you and your family want to go to?

        1. Chicago is deep and rich with CI activity, Steven. It’s something to think about. And it has all that NYC has but cheaper. It’s one of the great cities in the world, in my opinion. I used to live nearby and I went to high school close to it in northern Indiana. We might be able to help find you a job. You’ll get my absolute highest recommendation.

          1. Yeah come to Chicago man…things are moving here. My admins love CI. Who knows where we will be in 3-4 years if this keeps up.

      2. Dude come to Oregon, I swear. We still have STRONG union protection. Sometimes I feel like taking the Academic Freedom article to bed with me just to hug it all night. It says teachers have total responsibility for daily methods and materials decisions. And that we can talk about controversial topics without fear of reprisal. LOVE that CONTRACT!!!

        1. Ok, so you want to duke it out about unions? Our Chicago Public Schools union president, Karen Lewis, was running for mayor against Rahm Emanuel and on track to winning the whole shebang before she became real sick (I think it was cancer). That’s how strong our union presence is here. And our charter schools are unionizing unlike anywhere else in the country, mine included.

          *Karen Lewis has recovered and is still our union president.

  2. …measuring activity in the Black Box….

    I like that expression. It’s what the admins need to get a hold of before evaluating us. I mean, it’s Noam Chomsky, dude. I kind of think that we should listen to someone who, as Tina likes to say, is the greatest mind in the history of language acquisition.

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