Thursday, February 19, 2009

Goodbye -- Hello

My SLC (Small Learning Community) is experiencing turmoil. For at least the last seven years , my SLC has had only one coordinator to interact with administration. The role, as interpreted by the current coordinator, has been mainly disciplinary. Given an extra 45 minute planning period, the coordinator has handled tardies, student disputes, and teacher / student problems -- and been the intermediary between these discipline problems and the floor administrator.

As one can imagine, the role of coordinator rather became like a mini-fiefdom, entrenched, like the role of department chair became in more traditional schools. The administration, under a new principal, began to troll the communities, asking for a more wide-spread taking-on of responsibilities within them.

Yesterday we "deposed" our coordinator. Instead of acting like adults, we acted like the more dysfunctional students we teach. The coordinator took the loss of his role personally. Today one community teacher stayed home in bed rather than face the "discord" created within the community. She did, however, text the current coordinator to explain why she couldn't come to school. However, at yesterday's meeting she fully backed the usurpation -- and this is the woman wanted to fullfill a role in counseling our SLC students.

Two people actually wanted to be the new coordinator for next year -- but only one could get the job. Now that he has it, he wouldn't eat lunch with the rest of us today because he couldn't face the tension that has been created by his new selection. In point of fact, every single member of the community stayed away from our normal lunch together -- except for the foreign language teacher and me. We ate lunch together, rather quietly, talking mainly about the weather.

Instead of acting like professionals, we teachers have behaved like squabbling teenagers. I suppose its expecting too much to want us to act like the role models we really should be. This so clearly reminds me of why I left education in 1990. I'm sure we'll work our way of this little silliness. And silliness it is when we face students who are homeless, on drugs, in gangs, and fearing for their lives every day.

I still love the classroom. I love the school I'm in. I love the kids I work with. I find great joy in seeing my students gather knowledge, take leadership roles, and feel successful. Every organization baulks at change and I should expect that -- I just wish we'd act more grown-up in our discontents.

No comments: