Friday, February 06, 2009

I Think He Needs Help

Another teacher in my department had a major problem with Mr. AP this week. While I don't condone, excuse or forgive his behavior, it has gotten me thinking. I'm not softening, I'm just starting to wonder.

Mr. AP and I were friends years ago. Well, not actually friends, but we were very friendly. When he was Mr. Teacher, we joked around all the time. He taught bilingual classes right next door to my pre-calculus classes and would often want to come in, as we taught many of the same kids. I always hated having another adult in the room and never let him in. This was a running joke between us.

Everyone was happy when Mr. Teacher became Mr. AP. We collected money (not an easy feat from my cheap department) and bought him a really nice desk chair. When Mr. AP left our school (for a short time) to go to another location, we wished him well. We warned him to be careful about his mouth. (He was difficult even then, but he could be talked to about his problems.) I even went to visit him at his new school. Unfortunately (for everyone), the new school did not work out and he returned. Many of us welcomed him back. He has always been hard nosed, but he listened. If he was rude to someone, I used to wait until he calmed down, point out his behavior and he apologized to the offended party. He used to speak to me as both a friend and a colleague and ask for advice (unofficially, of course.) He sometimes listened and when he did not listen, he had a good reason for not doing so. There were always people he picked on, but not the way he does now.

I realized, after speaking to my colleague , that he is really in serious trouble. He must be having some sort of breakdown. His behavior now is totally irrational and out of control. To know him now is to despise him. I even wonder if the abuse he received from Suit has scarred him irrevocably. I've gone from being angry at him to worrying about him. I even spent 10 minutes defending him to a student today.

Being a person in a position of power is not a good job for him. He has let power go to his head and he has abused it royally. Running a department with terror is not a good idea. He needs a major intervention, something to help him see what he is doing. He needs to suffer some repercussions for the things he has been doing. He also needs help, which I hope he gets.


Mr. Talk said...

A former principal of mine used to be a friend. When he first became an AP, every tolerated him because he used to be one of the guys. He was a dicktatorial (typo intended) nutjob, but took it out mostly on the students because he could control them, barely. When he became principal, he began a reign of terror that is almost legendary. To this day, when I tell people who I worked for, they whistle and say "That jerk? I've heard of him."

My theory is that as they become removed from every day teaching and are given jobs that are far above their heads, these psycho admins try to control every aspect of the school because deep down they realize they are out of their depths.

To be honest, I have no sympathy for these people anymore. They think nothing of ruining lives and careers. Most of them were also lousy teachers.

JUSTICE not "just us" said...

They have their orders!!! These orders are not written anywhere but they are understood among all adminstrators.

mathematicamama said...

He has "supervisory administritis" and it is terminal, and those in contact with weak immune systems catch a mutated form of the disease - "educational hellitis".

Pissedoffteacher said...

Mental illness is as serious as a physical illness.

I don't feel sorry for him. He has ruined careers, but I still would like to see him get well.

Anonymous said...

Without over-analyzing every administrator it is fair to say a good number of them did not experience success in the classroom nor did they feel fulfilled working with children nor entirely comfortable with the subject matter they were teaching. In these cases, administration becomes a viable financial alternative. Given what I have written it is not a surprise that so many of them are poor leaders and tempermentally unsuited for leadership. They went into administrtion as an alternative to what they were doing not because of any particular talent or psychological fitness for the effective supervision of adults.
Coupling these issues with a lingeringjealousy of teachers who do succeed in the classroom one has the ingredients for a bullying administrator or a bumbling administrator or, dare I say it, a bumbling bully with authority.
That said, your administrator former friend will not be returning to teaching. That bridge is crossed. Nor will he leave administration, he doubtlessly has financial obligations so that is not an option. Nor is it reaonable to expect him to willingly change is entrenched personality flaws. The only solution is to have an offline chat with your principal who is hopefully one of the rare breeds who does not conform to my initial analysis of the ususal administrative types.
Your blog is great. I teach on Long Island. We have the same issues. Actually worse in some cases. And better in others. I will be starting my own blog at some point. Too bad you already stole my title. Acually I am thinking of "pisssed-on teacher" as a title.

Mr. Talk said...

LI, I don't know about that 'lingering jealousy' thing. I'm certainly not jealous of admins in any way. I'm quite happy to be a teacher or I would have been an admin myself. I have no desire to stay in the building for 10-12 hours a day and over the summers.

I wouldn't be an admin no matter how much money they offered me. I could never ruin someone else's career--and that's what all admins will be asked to do at some point.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Talk


My writing must be unclear. I meant that some administrators have a lingering jealousy of teachers. Teachers who are succeeding, are fulfilled by their job, and who love their subject matter. I better clean up my writing style before I start my blog.

Mr. Talk said... mistake, and apologies. A 2 on the ELA test for me.

Pissedoffteacher said...

LI Teacher--I like your title.

Fortunately, I have ot been pissed on too much. My issues are with seeing others being pissed on too often. I got your point about the jealousy and look forward to reading your blog.

As for principals, our school seems to have gotten a good one, although it is still the honeymoon period so you never know. (He also reads this blog so I have to be careful about what I write, but I don't say good things about him, just because of that.) I'm hoping he finds a way to deal with Mr. AP that both helps our department without hurting Mr. AP.