New Teachers: Dealing With Administration

Posted: July 17, 2012 in For Educators
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When you take a job as a teacher, you’re electing to choose a job where you will have to answer to a number of different authority figures. You may have content area Assistant Principals, Academy Directors and Principals over-seeing your performance. There are many different titles for supervisors and administrators depending on your region, your state or the type of school you work in. Regardless of what they are called, they are in charge of you and you are accountable to them. Every one of us has our own relationship to and experiences with authority figures. And it is very important to have the self-awareness to know how you respond to different kinds of authority figures.

Over the course of your careers you will undoubtedly experience both effective leaders, and ineffective leaders. You will be made to feel confident in your abilities by some, and insecure and exasperated by others. You may be yelled at in front of your students, written up for insubordination or given a letter by your principal expounding upon your brilliant contributions to the school and to your students. You will be observed, criticized, rated, evaluated and you may even be promoted or fired. What is of paramount importance while you’re experiencing your leadership in the ways that you will is that you maintain your standards and role-model the qualities you wish you’d see in your bosses. If you don’t like the way your bosses gossip, be sure not to engage in gossiping. If you don’t like the way your boss berates teachers in public, be sure not to berate your students in public. If you value and respect the boss that listens attentively to you and offers constructive feedback at the appropriate time in the appropriate setting, be sure to do the same with your students.

Unfortunately, there may be times in your first few years (or for the rest of your careers) when you feel pressured to do things or engage in conversations that you challenge your integrity, and if and when these times come to you, be sure to remember what matters most… sleeping well at night (though admittedly, this is easier said than done). Granted, you want to keep your job and you don’t want to burn bridges, and the anxiety you may feel when in the company of a boss you don’t entirely trust may be warranted, but it is always in your best interest to choose your words carefully. And despite the temptation to “play the game”, remember that you do not have to play by rules that you know are unethical. There are entities in every school that will support you and protect you, and as a young educator, do not hesitate to reach out to your union representative for guidance or even to a colleague who you sense is honest and trustworthy.


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