The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
I worked for DISD for over 30 years as a teacher, specialist and campus administrator. I am worried, very worried about the children of Dallas and my friends and former colleagues still employed by DISD. I have seen it all, the good, the bad and the ugly.
The good don't get very much attention. Every now and then, a positive report makes the evening news. Parents know when they have a good school and a good teacher. Things run smoothly without much drama.
The BAD-the bad get caught or noticed and their drama often plays out on this site. Some of the things done by this group are obviously wrong. Sometimes, their action upsets a certain group. Maybe the teacher or administrator has good intentions but makes a mistake. That mistake can really get blown out of proportion and the individual will have supporters and others working diligently to get them removed from their position.
However, I am worried about the most about the UGLY. They are out there as our campus administrators, teachers, or central staffers. We all know that admin. assistant that doesn't get the work done on time but the principal gets reassigned. That's ugly. Or what about that teacher you suspect used corporal punishment but resigns. Years later, you learn they are still teaching in the district. Yikes, that is Ugly!
Maybe they are those principals that the teachers like not because of the way they lead but are lax in their responsibiities. These principals are ineffective leaders; test scores and student discipline suffer. The interesting thing is they seem to remain employed in some capacity. Their schools hit low-performing and they get reassigned. People get "Riffed" and they get a new assignment.
But the truly "UGLY" scenario is that no-nonsense, "NEW" principal that comes in and sees each student and teacher as a number. Their test scores go up as the morale goes down. Highly effective teachers try to work with their new principal but that can be threatening to a new principal. Thus, they run off great teachers and are satisfied with good teachers they can control with their cruel words in the form of verbal or written reprimands. We don't read about these people too often on this site. Why? It's hard to prove discrimination or harrassment. Parents feel threatened, too threatened to speak up. Or maybe the DISD leadership KNOWS but as long as scores improve and complaints are minimal, they look the other way.
Hmmm, I worked in all three scenarious during my employment with DISD. It was wonderful to work with the GOOD. Their leadership inspired me to be a better person and thus a better employee. The BAD could be tolerated if they didn't interfere with the great teachers doing a great job. The situation depended on each professional taking responsibility for themselves.
Ah, but the UGLY was frightening. The first time I worked in an "Ugly" environment, my husband encouraged me to leave the position. I was relieved. I had a good reputation and easily found another position in the district.The last time I worked for someone in the "Ugly" category was truly ugly and it was the last time I worked for DISD. Maybe I thought I knew more than I really did. Maybe I was too eager to share what I knew. Maybe what I viewed as trying to be helpful was misconstrued. Maybe I came on too strong. Maybe I was "older" and had a medical issue. Maybe I would miss too much work for medical care. Who knows why but I knew it was "ugly" and I didn't want to be there. Within 3 weeks after I left, 5 other employess left. They had the support and encouragement of their spouses and families to go to something better. We didn't run away, we ran to something better.
Well, it appears the GOOD are in trouble if they are working for the Bad or the Ugly. There are very few places to go. Most school districts in the area have hiring freezes. Maybe the mighty leaders in DISD will pay more attention to the really GOOD out there, especially those veteran teachers that love teaching and are still making a difference, not just with their students but with the young teachers on campus.
DISD needs to deal with the BAD fairly and consistently. If the priorities are results, then now is the time to lay off these folks. The Ugly is still around. DISD can't look the other way after the anticipated rounds of cuts for the 2011-2012 school year. Many of our great veteran teachers and administrators took the retirement package and won't be returning. I assume many of the "Bad" will be weeded out.
DISD, it's time to pay close attention to the "Ugly", especially those that are campus administrators. Review the compplaints, take a look at teacher retention rates and morale. Then, take action, ease my worries. Show us that there are still many "GOOD" doing their best for the children of Dallas.