Friday, May 04, 2018

The Mad Pooper

Who would've thunk they'd wake up and read about a superintendent pooping daily on a school field? I mean, you'd take it in stride if they were figuratively pooping on working teachers. Sometimes you just think, "Well, that's their job." But this guy just went out and did it literally. You'd think, with an exalted title like that, the guy would have his own private bathroom with hot, cold, and bourbon. But evidently that wasn't enough.

I'm not a psychologist, so I can't name a syndrome or anything. But I do know this is an expression of contempt for his job and absolute disregard for norms. Full disclosure--I have disregard for certain norms, but I nonetheless refrain from pooping in not only school fields, but also in the offices of those who enforce said norms. Most educational leaders seem to refrain from pooping in public. (I have to admit I don't regularly inspect school fields, so who's to say?)

It kind of begs the question of why there are so many insane supervisors. How do such people get ahead? I have a simple theory, which cuts our way too, in that some of these people might go work for the union. There are those people who want to "get out of the classroom." This is an odd desire for a teacher, since the classroom is the beating heart of what we do.

Of course there are other reasons to go into administration. One might be you're trying to make ends meet and have trouble doing so on teacher pay. Another could be you simply think you could serve better in supervisory capacity. That's probably by far the better of those two reasons. Nonetheless, there are some good and fair-minded supervisors. I've worked for more than my share, and I'm blessed for that.

And then there are the ones who've gotten out of the classroom. To what avail? Someone who did not perform well as a teacher is likely to be a poor leader. How can someone who can't do your job well advise you how to do it? At best, they'll do it poorly. At worst, they'll blame everyone in the world for their lack of competence and judge you via the voices in their heads rather than the Danielson rubric.

This is a problem, and it's particularly egregious in New York City. I have no idea why negativity leads to promotion, but I will say that some of the worst supervisors I've ever seen excelled at being obsequious toward those who could advance their careers. Of course, the moment they found something better, they deserted the people who made said careers possible, and without so much as the remotest consideration for those they left.

This has come to appear an insurmountable problem. Just as Bill Gates abandoned addressing poverty so as to focus on teachers and how much we suck, we've determined to ignore the tsunami of petty, vicious, and insane administrators. Instead, we've added test scores. Michael Lillis observed that NYC administrators are so bad we're willing to have their ratings balanced by a crapshoot rather than allowing them to rate us. Make no mistake, if they weren't so rampantly and blitheringly incompetent, we'd trust them.

Alas, we can't do that, so we work around an insane system as best we can. While we don't have a whole lot of administrators pooping in school fields, I've seen Danielson ratings and letters to file full of figurative poop. It's frustrating to spend so much time shoveling it, but someone has to do it. A big problem is our grievance system. It could take a year or more to shovel a single pile of administrative poop.

On the brighter side, there are crazy people like me who are here for the long haul, and who will dump the poop where it belongs, no matter what, no matter how long it takes. And for the record, I've just been re-elected chapter leader.

As soon as I get home tonight, I'm gonna hose off my shovel.
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