Sunday, December 9, 2007

Teacher Created Failures

I went to the high school state football championships this last weekend and watched a coach lose the title game for his team. His inability to adapt and poor play calling at critical moments (really, it was greed leading to opponent points) took the victory from the kids; the leader decided the outcome rather than allowing the kids the opportunity to succeed.

The winning team's coach did not put his team into positions likely to cause failure. He set his athletes up to succeed, and they did.

I see some of this same problem in my high school. While we have quite a number of wonderfully dedicated and industrious teachers, we also have a small few who refuse to collaborate and adapt.

One department in my school has been labeled the cause of our status as a failing school. While I don't believe the teachers in the department are solely responsible, I do see a couple of them as part of the problem. And of course, this reflects on the entire school and impacts everyone.

Two teachers refused to attend the training for their department's new approaches to teaching their content. This comes on the heels of their department being provided development opportunities from the state and district and on the heels of the department's agreement to alter some older methods of teaching in favor of some new approaches. At a minimum some best practices would be shared, and the potential is present to revolutionize and revitalize the department.

The lack of collaboration, unwillingness to change, and outright lack of professionalism appalls me. For a group who is the focus of reform, I would expect that the teachers would at least listen to the suggestions even if they do not embrace them. This type of cancerous attitude needs to be cured and cured quickly.

I hope to see these staff members won over by the rest of the department in their efforts to improve and ultimately help kids succeed.

Additionally, I expect to see the administration step in and enforce the mandates of professionalism. Too often I hear complaints about the lack of professionalism with little done to rectify the behaviors. This is a definite opportunity to effect positive change.

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