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May 7, 2008 at 12:32 pm #7912TimberWolf55Member
I just left a similar dictatorship about five months ago. The administration started out with simple changes: mandating unnecessary inclusions in gradebooks and lesson plans with no real reasoning except that “the big boys” were doing it. Rather than having staff development for actual professional enhancement, it was always done to keep up with the educational Joneses down the road a piece.
The final straw for me, I suppose, was when each department was told that they were to use one teacher’s lesson plans, replicate them, and implement them in our classrooms rather than originating our own, even if they complied with standards and whatnot. This came after months of staff discontent and verbal outbursts in faculty meetings — er, “family” meetings — over other issues (lack of communication, failure of administration to uphold discipline policy, etc.).
But when I was told I no longer had any control over what went on in my classroom, that tore it. Female teachers who were in the principal’s “inner circle” stuck around for a while, but it appears now that their personnel structure is falling apart, judging by the job boards and so forth.
Bottom line: yes, men like to be masters of their domains, wherever they happen to be. Just because we may be in an occupation that happens to be thought of as “feminine” doesn’t change our biology. I since have taken a job teaching (get this) female teen felons at a correctional institution. I’m given complete control over content, delivery, and protocol. You know things must have been bad elsewhere if I have to teach in a prison to escape…
October 3, 2009 at 4:41 am #7874OB RonMember
I saw the NBC Nightly News report on the declining number of men teachers. I was a volunteer at at my neighborhood elementary school for six years — one year exceeding a thousand hours of volunteer time. My emphasis was helping with computers and technology. I worked with all of the teachers and staff, and all of the children. It provided an enlightening perspective. My understanding of the profession, and respect for teachers, grew immensely over that time. When I started volunteering, I think there were four men teachers — about 20% of the total. When I quit, there were none.
There have been no men teachers at the school for the few years since I left. I believe the male teachers were driven out of the school by nearly fascist, highly dictatorial school management policies and practices. The management style was being guided and driven by the top school district management, and possibly by state educational leaders. Most all of the teachers were intensely frustrated and upset with what was going on. Many confided their feelings and vented to me. The women, though, seemed more flexible and tolerant, better able to cope with the teaching methods, materials, and schedules being forced upon them, than did the men.
Teachers want to be, and need to be, captains of their own ship — their classroom. The men fought against the new methods, and tolerated them for awhile, but eventually broke. They either quit being a teacher altogether, or moved to a different district, or tried a different school. One walked into the office in the middle of the school year, and said “I’m leaving, and I’m not coming back.” He was one of their best and most experienced teachers. Not long after that, I left, too. I couldn’t stand it. Working at the school had been enjoyable. I originally felt pleasure and happiness to volunteer to help the kids and the teachers, and often received their appreciation. At the end, after a few years of trying to adapt and influence things for the better, the joy turned to feelings of anxiety and anger when I would head to school. It was no longer worth doing. It was bad for my health.
Is arbitrary school management that fails to involve their staff in key decisions, and micro-manages classroom activity and resources, a source of significant discontent for men teachers, more than women, and a turn-off to potential men teachers? Is this management style an increasing problem in general, or in some locations?
Conditions may have improved somewhat in recent years, but I know I would never become a teacher under the conditions that I saw and experienced at my neighborhood school. School management, school districts, state and federal educational programs, should all SERVE teachers — provide resources (including suggested but not required curriculum materials), provide training and guidance to help achieve expectations, provide networking with excellent educators and patterns of success, provide assistance as requested, and provide performance evaluations, feedback, and suggestions. Each teacher can utilize their own unique talents and skills, and can adapt to the needs of their students — but only if the school management allows the flexibility for teachers to be the captain of their own ship.
What’s your experience and opinion?
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