Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Principals on Power Trips

I had a wonderful morning walk at the south end of the beach last week, and took this photo. Morning sunlight makes the water and sand looked as though each has been dusted in silvery glitter, alight with new possibilities for the day! This old tree had washed up on a sand bar.
My son and I have been talking about school administrators a lot on the way to his high school in the morning. Last week he had dress down days for homecoming - no uniforms! - but the week was marred by the "rules" for each day being changed at the last minute. Why is it so hard to get a school administrator that can relate to teenagers? What good is a dress down day if you can't wear jeans? This is a minor, inconsequential thing, but indicative of the larger problem. Do administrators give up brain cells when they take on this job? Why do they act as though they never set foot in a classroom as a teacher themselves?

I went by my local branch of the public library and was amused to see a display of "banned books" - books that were banned when they first came out or thereabouts. Kudos to the librarian who prepared that one! I saw books from 1900s on to present. Surely the best way to get someone to read a book is to ban it, but the whole idea of book banning is like poison to a teacher/English major. A book incident was the beginning of the end for me and one previous administrator. Now, mind you, I welcome positive or negative comments from peers, administrators, students and parents on book study choices, and I will follow what a principal decides with grace. BUT DON'T DIS A BOOK UNTIL YOU HAVE READ IT!

When I attended my son's public high school, we had an amazing administrator - she was respected and loved by all. She brought together two races, both disgruntled a bit over busing, and made the student body a unified whole. Then, when I started teaching, my husband and I each worked at separate public elementary schools in the downtown area. Our principals were close friends, and just about perfect. Both have long since retired, but the ones who rise to take over leave a lot to be desired. I have come to the conclusion that power truly can corrupt, and much quicker than ever before!

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