Thursday, January 29, 2015

How long before administrators lose touch with the realities of the classroom?


Known as the instructional leaders and the lead learners in their respective buildings.

Typically, these individuals have demonstrated superior skills in the classroom and have been able to take their students to levels of learning that others weren't able to do.

These former teachers have been able to compete with countless other teachers to convince a panel of interviewers that they would be the best candidate to lead a building.

As many know, administrators are charged with managing the day-to-day operations of the school and are responsible for all the students and staff within the building.

A big part of an administrator's job is to evaluate and grow the personnel with whom he/she works. Specifically, helping to improve classroom instruction in the hopes of improving student learning.

Administrators provide their teachers guidance, feedback and suggestions on how to improve student learning.

They critique and judge teacher performance on a daily basis which no doubt is followed by recommendations for improvement.

But, here's the question...

How long does it take before administrators lose touch with the realities of the classroom?

We all would probably agree that the longer an administrator is removed from the classroom, the less they 'remember' about the classroom and the less they are able to sympathize with the plight of the everyday teacher.

But, on the flip side, administrators are able to see countless teachers teach and countless lessons on any given day. Some of these lessons succeed with flying colors while some burn in a blaze of glory.

Naturally, all these classroom visits surely help an administrator's eye when it comes to knowing good learning vs. poor learning.

Also, does it really take a trained eye to know when good learning is happening? It doesn't take an educational expert to know when kids are learning vs. when they aren't, right?

But, it's much more than just knowing when good learning is happening... it's what happens when good learning isn't observed and there is a follow-up conversation with a teacher on how to improve.

On the other hand, how could an administrator ever truly know what a teacher is going through if they haven't been in their shoes in quite some time?

In closing, are administrators who are freshly out of the classroom better at evaluating teachers since they are recently removed? Or, are these new administrators stuck in their offices dealing with school discipline while the more senior administrator, who is further removed from the classroom, handles most of the classroom observations?

Curios to hear your thoughts on this topic...