My wife and I are retired from 30-plus years in public schools. Lately we have been discussing our dismay at how things in public education never seem to get better: we see the same problems and mistakes being made now that we experienced years ago, and which we thought for sure folks would know better than by now.
I’m speaking of how some administrators are still running their schools in an authoritarian manner, the “my way or the highway” philosophy which has never worked.
My wife and I both were both told at times in our careers that there were folks lined up outside the door who were ready to take our jobs if we weren’t happy with how things were done. Those ways of conducting business lower morale instead of building it, and they ruin the workplace climate of a school. Those attitudes from school leaders toward teachers are a major factor, if not the major factor, of why schools continue to have problems.
A huge mistake that some school administrators make is to treat their schools as their own fiefdom instead of building an atmosphere of collaboration and respect. It’s just plain common sense that students benefit directly from teachers who are respected and supported.
We recently saw a segment from the Atlanta Business Chronicle about the 2018 Best Places to Work Awards, and this quote from Patrick Flood of Supreme Lending caught our attention: “The purpose is to bring out the best in people. Profit becomes the idea that all of them feel so good about themselves that their love for who they are and what they’re really good at, that they wind up doing their very best work there. When employees feel connected, then profit will naturally follow.”
Of course the “profit” and product of education is student achievement. Business is realizing this wisdom of valuing employees. Will public education ever follow?