Normally, teacher blogs are bursting with ideas about classroom management, but today, I want to talk about teacher management. This seems to be a hot topic in my building, especially after yesterday's staff meeting: how to address staff issues.
In my building, all staff members are assigned multiple duties. This is different from my previous schools where some of the duties are stipend (voluntary) positions, which spreads the responsibility out a bit more. In my current school, though, everyone is expected (unpaid) to do the following:
1. Morning Duty - teachers are assigned to check in, breakfast, or monitoring the gym (aka: The Holding Cell) for 30 minutes every morning
2. Hall Duty - all teachers are supposed to escort their students to their next class, leaving absolutely no chance to run to the bathroom between classes (passing periods are only 2 minutes)
3. Tardy Duty - we are expected to spend the first 5 minutes of our planning period waiting in the hallway to mark tardy students
4. Lunch Duty - we are required to walk our classes to the cafeteria, wait with them in line, and then monitor them in the cafeteria during lunch
*** Note: I do ALL of the above things, along with teaching 6 classes in a row and 20 minutes of DEAR, before I ever get a break!****
5. Pull-Outs - all teachers are required to use 25 minutes of their planning period, twice a week, to pull low students and re-teach them material they have not mastered.
6. Bus Duty - all teachers are required to monitor students as they board buses
7. Saturday Detention - thankfully, this position rotates, but it's a three hour duty on a Saturday morning... yuck!
The biggest problem in my school is that there are teachers that either a) don't come to duty or b) do not actively monitor the students. Instead of addressing those teachers directly, though, our administration implements these stupid micro-managing techniques to "fix" the problems.
I'm a rule-follower. I do what I'm supposed to do. So, I'm very resentful when I'm micro-managed in this way; I hate being treated like a child. In fact, that's not even accurate. I don't treat my students like that! If I have an issue with specific students, I will address those students specifically.
So, to my administration, I say the following:
1. If there is one teacher in the building who dresses (very) inappropriately, pull that teacher aside and give her specific examples of what's she's doing wrong and what she should wear instead. Don't keep reminding the entire staff to read the dress code section of the handbook. It's not helping!
2. Give your staff the benefit of the doubt. Technically, those skinny jeans are not in violation of the staff handbook, which only forbids leggings. Maybe she doesn't know that we can practically see her vajayjay or that her 13 year-old students are drooling over her in the hallway (ew).
2. If you're going to force me to use my planning time to meet with small groups, at least give me the flexibility of choosing which days and times I do this. Don't send me a "meeting" request so it shows up on our calendars, allowing you monitor my every move. You'll know if I did my pull-outs because I'm filling out your stupid paperwork every week.
3. Ask yourself (or even your staff) why the problem exists! Are your teachers rebelling because they're overwhelmed? (yes) Do they complain that they don't have enough breaks in the day? (yes) 4. Spread out the responsibilities! Make some stipend positions so everyone doesn't have to be responsible for everything all the time. Or, assign teachers to specific days or weeks rather than having,
5. Prioritize which duties are really necessary. Does everyone really need to be at bus duty? Can't the classroom teacher take care of her own tardies?.
6. Whole group redirections often don't work because it allows people to say, "They're not talking about me!" If you want specific teachers to change something, you have to deal with those teachers directly.
7. Reward those who are doing what they should. Give them some sort of incentive (maybe a day off of a specific duty?) for following your expectations.
8. Before implementing a new procedure, ask yourself if it's really going to make a difference with the teachers you're trying to address. Sometimes, the "solutions" just cause bigger problems because they anger the compliant teachers instead of fixing the problem at hand.
and most importantly...
9. Remember that you need your staff to be on your side. Treat them as if they are valued assets to your school rather than the blame for all that is wrong. If your staff see you as the enemy, you have a hostile work environment that is unproductive for everyone.