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Teachers (or others) WWYD?

I have a new principal this year.  He's not great.  Our school was going in a great direction under the old principal (he was amazing) and now it's going downhill...not necessarily the fault of the new guy, but he's doing nothing to stem the tide.  People are overwhelmed, overworked, feeling unappreciated, doing way too much (our assistant principal/dean is teaching 3 classes...she usually teaches one...on top of all of her admin duties), we're all teaching extra classes for no compensation, new schedule, lots of kid issues.  It's not good.

Anyway, he likes me. A lot. He's a former history teacher (like me) and has given me great evaluations and told me numerous times that he loves the way I run my classroom.  He asks my opinions a lot on things and I'm usually pretty honest with him.

We all have a mid-year check-in with him. Mine is next week.  He gave us a list of questions to think about: 

-Things that have gone particularly well in the MS this year?
-What could be better?
-What has helped you grow this year as a faculty member? What might help even more?
-Comment on the strengths/weaknesses of the following: student culture, faculty culture, faculty meetings/suggestions?
-How is MS administration (R,R,R) supportive of your work? Ways we could do more?

I would love to tell him some of the issues (I think he's completely overwhelmed by the job and unaware of the issues) but I don't want to be seen as negative and complaining.  How would you go about bringing up some of the issues (he's fairly sensitive/defensive)?

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Re: Teachers (or others) WWYD?

  • Approach it in the same way you would think about a difficult parent/teacher conference. Sandwich the negatives between (genuine) positives.  Avoid saying things like "Everyone is overworked" or "everyone feels like..."  Use "I" messages.   Be straightforward about what you observe, using facts, and don't use loaded or emotional language.  Offer potential solutions.  Talk about how you can help to be a part of the solution.
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  • I agree with Liza's response about the good with the bad. If he is asking the questions he is obviously looking for some feedback and I think it is okay to give that to him. Just do so in a respectful way that is specific. Maybe even pick one or two issues that you think would make the greatest difference if addressed and focus on those. Good luck!
  • Few things:

    Approach things as an "opportunity for improvement or enhancement" rather than a "problem or issue". 

    If you present a problem, be prepared to offer a possible solution.

    Think about what YOU are able and willing to do to be a part of the solution.  You know what they say: you are either a part of the problem or part of the solution. 

     

  • I agree with PP about being prepared not only to talk about the problems but to offer solutions.  DH's school district has a 4 million dollar deficit for next school year.  As you can imagine, this is causing a lot of stress over things like furlows, pay freezes, etc.  They recently had a meeting with all the teachers in the district to discuss their concers.  DH's mom taught for a district for 35 years that had no money (the town refused to raise taxes even a little bit so in 2008 when she retired, they were operating on the same budget they had had in 1992), and so he talked to her about what her district did to cut costs.  He brought these suggestions to the meeting, and he was the only one with solutions and not just complaining at the meeting.
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  • Curious as to if the PPs are teachers.

    My first question would be - are you tenured? Honestly, before I am, my mouth is shut. No matter how much people like me. I keep it low key. I don't feel comfortable even coming close to pissing someone off when the job situation is what it is right now. It's hard, but I want to keep my job. Even if he likes you, watch what you say and keep it in your perspective only (not about what other teachers think). 

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