Every school needs good teachers who step up and accept responsibility for their teaching and student learning. In the same respect every school needs strong administration to hold teachers responsible for their teaching and of student learning. What happens when teachers lose their motivation? Whose responsibility is it to motivate teachers, to push their thinking and hold them accountable?
I work at an elementary school that has undergone change over the past several years. This past year we lost eleven teachers to the reduction in force process and resignations. We are now left to pick up the pieces and try to find the right people and personalities to fill those vacancies. This past year teachers either, stepped up and asked what else can I do to help students succeed and reflected on their practice. Or they sat back and passively accepted low student achievement, poor test scores and rarely reflected on their teaching. So I ask whose responsibility is it to hold teachers responsible for their practice and of student learning? Do we need a strong administrator to hold us accountable or can we step up and hold ourselves accountable?
Our school is on the verge of going down two very different paths: We can continue on our downward spiral right into school improvement and have the state move in and take over, or we can stand up and take control of our teaching, come together and commit to being the change we want to see. We can step up and hold ourselves accountable and responsible for being the best we can for OUR students.
Over the summer, several teachers from my school started questioning their commitment and dedication to our school. They inquired about other schools and principals. Bottom line, they were looking for a change, a new challenge. Their main reason was dissatisfaction with school leadership. They were tired and wanted answers. They wanted to be held accountable and have their thinking pushed. They no longer wanted to hear, “You are doing great job.” They want to be pushed and told how they could become better teachers.
Honestly, as an instructional coach, I was hurt and mad at myself. I felt like I had let those teachers and the other teachers at my school down. Actually I had also let the parents and student down. Was it me who was not pushing them? What could I do differently? I tossed and turned, struggled and wondered how I could make it better.
After time and reflection, I realized that it was their decision where to teach. I can’t take responsibility for their dissatisfaction. I can however support their decisions and push their thinking. I can encourage them to be the change they want to see. Together, we can stand up and take our school back!
What are your thoughts? What are you willing to commit to next year?
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