When you become an administrator, you are no longer a teacher. That seems incontrovertible.
No students coming to you to build a personal connection…no students coming to you to share their triumphs and tribulations,..no students to ask for your years of wisdom to learn something new and exciting. That sounds terrible.
I mean,…who is going to sign up for that?
Yep…become an administrator, and you lose your classroom. That seems obvious, but it’s not exactly correct. Why? Well,…let’s talk about what you actually do as a teacher. That may help you understand a little bit.
First, you make detailed plans that not only serve the whole group, but have resources and activities to ensure that you can meet individual needs. For instance, one (or a few) of your 4th grade students may not fully understand how to make an inference. Then you may prepare a scaffold for those who need it. Perhaps a “It Says, I Say, and So” graphic organizer. You have them practice, you give them feedback, and after a while, you see improvement in their thinking and inferencing. For those that excel at it, you stretch them with more challenging texts. Of course, you feel good about yourself, as you met these students at their individual levels and improved their performance.
On top of all that, you provide an environment that promotes learning. You make students comfortable taking risks and asking questions. You create a place where improving is a way of being, where collaboration is common, expected, and valued, and where you connect individually with each student to make them feel valued and inspired as a person and a learner. On top of that, you promote the type of structure and routine that fosters success both individually and collectively.
So, let’s use that skill that good teachers always preach about. Transfer of knowledge.
You are the administrator. You have schoolwide expectations for behavioral management. You provide the support necessary in the system for teachers to teach with less disruption. However, some teachers may need additional assistance. You provide teacher-freindly resources such as Wong’s classic “The First Days of School.” You help them build a positive behavioral support system in their classroom. You visit the classroom more often and give feedback on their practices. After a while, you see improvement in their classroom management and overall structure and routine.
On top of all that, you provide an environment that promotes learning. You put a system in place for the teachers that supports their classroom management efforts and maximizes instructional time. You create a place where improving as a teacher is expected, where collaboration between teachers is commonplace, and where you strive to make each teacher feel valuable, supported, and inspired. Finally, you promote the type of structure and routine that fosters success both individually and collectively.
So yes, you still are a teacher, but your students are different. You are a teacher for a group of dedicated professionals who work hard every day for the benefit of their students. They’re just older, and not necessarily as cute.
Here’s the best part,…you not only impact the teachers, but the students they serve as well.
Hey, now that doesn’t sound so terrible! Sign me up!!