Friday, September 19, 2014

Breaking Bad News Gently

One of the most important aspects of being a teacher leader is being an actual teacher.  At my school, department chairs have been pulled from regular classroom assignments and placed in support roles.  I am the exception as a hole in the schedule allowed me to win my way back into a classroom for at least part of the day.  

Earlier this week I was in a leadership meeting when it was decided that all teachers would have to submit daily lesson plans on a multi-page, district-created template.  I was the lone voice of dissent at the table because a) I knew that this decision would create more work for me since I would have to follow this mandate, b) I knew that teachers who have been using self-created templates for years would balk at this requirement and potentially see this as an us vs. them issue and c) I feared that this requirement could be violating the contract as it only states that teachers have to show evidence of planning.  This is vague and technically speaking it means that I could write my lesson plan with a magic marker on my Dunkin Donuts cup every morning and meet this requirement.  I guess that we'll have to wait and see on this issue.

I met with my department today and told them about this new requirement.  As expected, some were unhappy.  However, they did not hold a long and angry debate about this issue.  They could clearly see that I was stressed out about having to burden them with yet another requirement and knew that I was sincere when I reminded them that as a classroom teacher I was beholden to this mandate as well.  They quickly got over it and we were able to spend the rest of the meeting being productive.  I was grateful to be let off the hook so easily and will continue to work to gain their trust and respect for the remainder of the year.

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