Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Birth of a Cynic

I've been trying to figure out when I became such a negative thinker, when I lost faith in the system and when I became the cynic I am today when it hit me--I sat on a committee that chose the new AP of security.

I don't think this process is followed anymore, so I will go through the steps. The committee was made up of teachers, parents, students and administrators. We spent hours sifting through resumes of people that wanted the job, ranking each applicant on a scale of 1 to 10. I forget how many of the top were called in for an interview.

In my school, the position wasn't advertised. The school had a pile of resumes left over from when the new APO was picked (insider got this job so application process was useless). Many of the applicants were no longer interested in becoming AP's. Some had moved and never received the call to come for an interview.

After deciding on the best of the lot, we met one evening in the Principal's office. We began with dinner. The Principal joked and talked to parents as if they were long lost friends and made them feel like their opinions were valued, while she continued to stroke her own ego. The first applicant came in. He happened to be a dean currently working in the school. Unfortunately, he was not a pal of the Principal. When he finished his interview, the Principal spoke poorly of him. This wass not even allowed during these meetings. The process continued for a few more hours. During a break, a parent asked "So how is the AP actually picked?" Principal said, "The top two applicants are sent to the superintendant's office. There two Principals from another school, and handpicked by me, make the final decision." At that point I looked at her and said, "So what we are doing here tonight and what we have done for the past few weeks is meaningless." I walked out, not even waiting for an answer. She sent one of her little suck-ups out to admonish me for my comment, but I didn't care. The damage was done as far as I was concerned.

It just so happened that the best applicant for the job got it. I think that was just luck. Anyways, the guy did a great job. His only problem was that he wouldn't kiss Principal's a**. At the end of the year she convinced him to take a job else where, a major loss for the school.

We don't pick administrators this way anymore. I know there are people that are upset about the lack of collaboration of teachers and administration. As for me, I'm glad. I don't like being a party to such a farce. I don't like the way administrators are chosen but at least teachers and parents are not wasting their time pretending to pick them anymore.


IMC Guy said...

I know what you mean. After my third year of teaching, our wonderful principal retired. There was an interview committee, consisting of teachers from our building and other principals in the district, that recommended one of the candidates over the others after interviewing 5. The one they selected was not the one who got the job. Needless to say, the one that was hired wasn't that good. Several teachers transfered schools because of her and I don't think the staff is as good as it once was. I'm no longer at that school either and am very glad.

NYC Educator said...

I think we now have committees we can sit on, but we do so only in an advisory capacity and the principal can pretty much do what the hell he likes.

Pissedoffteacher said...

my point, exactly!

ms. whatsit said...

I've sat in on interview committees where my principal would set the tone for whether or not we would approve or disapprove of a candidate. It didn't occur to me until much later that she was quite good at manipulating committees with a single comment.

And yes, I am much more cynical now that I was just a couple of years ago.