Teaching in Never Never Land

May 18, 2012 at 7:30 AM Leave a comment

Why do educators think that a program based on good intentions and an endless stream of New Heroes is sustainable? Like Peter Pan, each generation of New Heroes will never give up, they’ll never get old…and they will gather in large masses and clap until their dream comes back to life.

Every night I close my Twitter window after getting a glimpse of the latest pep rally of educators who are trying to stop the closing of a school, to put off a measure of accountability, or to prevent the end of funding for a good program. Nowhere do you hear anyone suggest, “I know what we should have done to save that school,”…”We should just do it – take the test and move on to teaching,”…or “That program was good enough to become a priority within our general fund.”

As new teachers become yesterday’s new kids on the block and then veterans, we stop noticing them. They fade to gray and must sustain themselves. And anyone who proposes training in a balanced life style during the school year can no longer be part of the solution. Teachers whose students do well on standardized tests are assumed to be cheating, or worse…teaching to the test. The fact that well-educated children rarely sweat the tests is irrelevant.

Skilled general management is similarly suspect. Administrators offer teachers privileged peers as role models in lieu of individual feedback and motivation. Meanwhile, millions of dollars’ worth of executive talent is devoted to grant proposals for nickel and dime awards; because Special Money is better…regular dollars are always over-committed to something that only the school finance dude really understands.

Yet we are surprised when the adults act like children and pirates become the anti-heroes who would bring grown-up values to a vital milieu. We love the story. We also love Peter, Wendy, Tinker Bell, and even Hook. So why did we all grow up to be Smees?

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Entry filed under: School Leadership, School Transformation, Special Rants.

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