Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I have some unsolicited advice for some of my colleagues who are flipping out about things administrators are saying to them lately. I have said these things in person, and people have not always reacted well, but I still think they are worth repeating here.

1. An admin asking to talk to you is not always a reason to worry. Amazingly, they do say things that are not disciplinary.

2. Admins are supervisors and as such have the right and the obligation to make comments, suggestions and even criticisms of your lesson. Most of these comments do not lead to "U" ratings (at least in my school for the majority of teachers) so smile, agree and say you will do your best to implement these ideas. Try their suggestions, after all, they might not know their ass from their elbow, but they are the bosses and the ones who will be evaluating you..

3. Do not agonize over anything said. As long as the bottom line has the word satisfactory in it (whether it is minimally, marginally, barely or anything else they can come up with) don't sweat it.

4. Grab a pen and a pad and go observe your AP teaching. I guarantee you will make that person as uncomfortable as you are if you write, look up, and then write again. No one likes being put on the hot seat.

5. Don't show fear. If your admin is a bully, she will pounce on this weakness. Don't show too much arrogance either. Just stay firm, agree with as much as possible and try to leave smiling, even if you are seething inside.

Bottom line, you can't change anyone but yourself. There are lots of evil people in this world, but not all are harmful to your livelihood or your income and sometimes you have to just grin and bear it. Believe me, I've worked for some of the worst. The guy who used to be in charge of the ISS department hated me before he knew me, threw me out of his department and spread terrible rumors about me and my teaching ability. It took years of hard work to prove his stories false. These were words, nasty hurtful words but never once was my job in danger.

The admins you hate are not nice. Deal with it. Have faith and confidence in yourself and ignore the sometimes hurtful words that come out of their mouths. You can't change them. You can change the way you look at them.


Chaz said...

Great advice, especially about don't let the supervisor bully you.

NYC Educator said...

I like this advice too.

WriterRichO said...


Unknown said...

Generally, I don't disagree with your advice. I do, however, think there's something wrong when all of the advice assumes that most administrators are unsatisfactory. As a former teacher and now an admin, this makes me sad more than anything else. I hope that not all teachers are so easily jaded.

Pissedoffteacher said...

I'm not saying all admins are unsatisfactory. Read this with more care. I'm saying, don't take everything they say to heart.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed how hyper- sensitive admin types are. Geoff is exhibit A. That characteristic is the cause of much of the teacher-admin friction and misunderstanding I have seen.
And this was not a setup between Geoff and myself to show the manifest hypersensitivity.

Moriah Untamed said...

And just in case the phrase "Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me" turns out to be true for you, tape record the meetings in addition to taking notes. It's legal in New York State to secretly tape record a conversation as long as you take part in it.