How Coward Teachers And Administrators Are Ruining Our Schools
Two teachers standing next to each other were supervising a large group of students when two of them began wrestling.
One had the other in a headlock.
They weren’t laughing. They were bent over, red-faced, breathing hard.
It may have been a fight. Or one may have been bullying the other. Or maybe, though it appeared unlikely, they were just roughhousing.
It was impossible to know.
One of the teachers ran toward the two students shouting “Let go, let go, let go!”
The students immediately complied. But as the teacher began asking who they were and who their supervising teacher was, both students turned their back and started walking away.
The teacher caught up to them only to have them refuse to give their names or the name of their teacher. Suddenly, one of the students turned and faced the teacher with an aggressive posture.
The other teacher, the one standing and watching, never stepped in to help.
The involved teacher, in the meantime, was now alone with two students who were considerably taller and heavier.
The teacher was able to back away and out of physical range while calming and influencing them just enough to walk toward what was now assumed to be their supervising teacher.
Once there, their teacher asked the students what happened. The two weaved a tall tale and claimed that the teacher who broke up their “messing around” was lying.
The supervising teacher responded by explaining that all stories were valid and that there just may have been a difference in perception.
Essentially, the teacher who jumped in to try to ensure the safety of those two students, and all those looking on, was hung out to dry. Made a fool in front of the now proud and pleased students.
The teacher who didn’t get involved, even in a back-up capacity, as well as the supervising teacher, were cowards. In the moment, when it counted, they scurried away like mice in the night.
They opted out and kowtowed in the name of self-preservation.
But maybe, just maybe, it’s not entirely their fault. Maybe they’ve been hung out to dry before too. Maybe it wasn’t worth it to them anymore and they checked out.
When school administrators lay out policies and procedures meant to ensure safety and conditions most conducive to learning, then turn around and ignore them, everyone else follows suit.
You see, no one wants to stick their neck out only to be undermined by those above them as well as the very colleagues they thought had their back.
If your school or district has cell-phone, cursing, dress-code, and conduct policies that aren’t followed as written, then you as an organization are dead. It will and does transfer directly and profoundly to learning and behavior in the classroom.
All the self-important discussions over curriculum and methodologies and academic standards – blah, blah, blah – mean nothing if you don’t have student boundaries that ensure effective implementation.
It’s all hot air, laughable if it weren’t so tragic, exhaled by pretenders rather than doers who spend their careers fooling themselves into believing that they’re making a difference.
Yes, it’s possible for SCM teachers to create a peaceful sanctuary in the midst of chaos outside the classroom walls, but your students only have you as their teacher for one year.
So what to do about it?
Say something. Set up an appointment with your administrator or get yourself on the staff-meeting agenda and calmly speak your mind. I know it’s hard, and it very well may be a lost cause.
Your colleagues may look at you as if you’re from Mars. A deafening silence may fill the room of your principal’s office.
But you’ll be able to live with yourself. Years from now you’ll be able to look yourself in the mirror without regret, without knowing that you gave in and quit on a generation of students.
A big reason, among many, we’re failing as a public school system is because we’re afraid. We’re afraid of parents. We’re afraid of students. We’re afraid of the outspoken teachers who push agendas that harm and separate.
In a misguided and misinformed idea that permissiveness is progress, we’re running away from right and wrong as fast as we can.
Our students are too young and don’t have enough life experience to grasp the importance of a dress code. They don’t understand why they can’t listen to music while they’re reading.
They don’t get that the reason we make a big deal about threats and “wrestling” and bullying is because we don’t want them to get jumped after school or picked on incessantly by those with the power and will to do it.
Our leaders are huddled in their office, so proud and important, fiddling while Rome burns.
Brows furrowed, they discuss everything but disciplined behavior and real content learning. It’s all a smokescreen, a ruse that masks their fear of doing what really needs to be done.
They’re afraid of students protesting or passing around petitions. They’re afraid of parent complaints and the media. They’re afraid of defending their policies and pointing out that having guardrails that protect students and learning isn’t racist, sexist, classist, or any other i-s-t.
Rather, they’re the very thing that ensure students get an equal shot at a good and free education.
It’s the framework upon which you’re able to build inspirational learning, knowledge, and life-lessons students can take with them into the future.
Without without sensible rules, policies, and procedures enforced consistently by serious adults and a focus on skills like reading, writing, thinking, mathematics, and the arts—
All hope is lost.
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