Bad days.

For some reason yesterday saw a flood of bad boss and crap at work stories.

There was the Met Life Survey of the American Teacher.

Damn. We are an unhappy bunch. And who can blame us?

Well. In fact, it seems everybody blames us.

More than half of teachers expressed at least some reservation about their jobs, their highest level of dissatisfaction since 1989, the survey found. Also, roughly one in three said they were likely to leave the profession in the next five years, citing concerns over job security, as well as the effects of increased class size and deep cuts to services and programs. Just three years ago, the rate was one in four.

I’m not getting into extraordinary detail here. But, folks. It’s bad out here.

Not only is there a national campaign of teacher-bashing and teacher-union bashing, there’s the day-to-day stuff too. I’m not talking about the kids. I’m talking about management. Middle-level management, like principals and curriculum administrators.

Listen. When the sheet says that somebody is absent today and in the next column it says, “No sub needed,” that’s a sign. And you can’t walk down a hallway without bumping into these characters.

Back to yesterday.

This article in the Washington Post made its way around Facebook and Twitter. And it was inevitably followed by teacher friends of mine saying, “My boss.”

People want to make a valuable contribution, and feel great when they make progress toward doing so. Knowing this progress principle is the first step to knowing how to destroy an employee’s work life. Many leaders, from team managers to CEOs, are already surprisingly expert at smothering employee engagement. In fact, on one-third of those 12,000 days, the person writing the diary was either unhappy at work, demotivated by the work, or both.

There was Walt Gardner’s piece on Killing Teacher Morale which ran in Education Week and was flying around the teacher wing of cyberspace.

Gardner was commenting on the Met Life Survey.

The MetLife Survey puts to rest the assumption that teacher disaffection is higher in inner-city schools than in suburban schools. In fact, attitudes were remarkably similar across the board. This finding is notable because salaries of teachers in suburban schools are much higher than those in urban districts. For example, thousands of teachers in the New York City suburbs in 2005 were already making six-figure salaries (“6-Figure Salaries? To Many Teachers, a Matter of Course,” The New York Times, Jun. 5, 2005). If money were the major factor in determining satisfaction, then teachers in the suburbs would be expected to register high on the satisfaction scale. But they don’t.

 I don’t know about that. Comparisons aren’t easy.
But this morning I was in a meeting with another teacher and my principal. I was there as the union rep because we had some issues we needed to bring up.
Suddenly the principal jumped up and said, “This meeting is over.” And it wasn’t because she had to be somewhere else.
Our concerns had pissed her off and we obviously had no business bringing them up.
“You know that I’m the union rep and that you’re throwing me out of your office,” I warned.
“Yes, I know it quite well.”
And. Slam. 
The door shut behind us.
I turned to my colleague and laughed.
“I’ve been thrown out of far better joints than that,” I said.
But really.
They call her our educational leader.
And then they wonder why so many don’t stay more than five years.

5 thoughts on “Bad days.

  1. Fred, she’s probably just “bidin’ her time” (she’d sing,”Cause that’s the kinda gal I-I-I’m…”)
    until you’re gone.

    Sure hope there’s another P.i.A. like you waiting in the wings!

    1. Fred,
      As most true professionals know, you can not really be a professional if you are in a union…sorry. Please do everyone a favor at your school and go away and retire. You are a bully, a bad teacher and nuisance to effective leadership. Let’s face face it Fred, it is teachers like you and the ones you intimidate that are the real problem. Oh by the way, I can see why the other techers fear crossing you since you out weigh them by 100 pounds (sorry to pick on your weight).

      “I am a union rep, you can’t do that to me” says Fred.

      Please just go away and the sooner the better!

      Bye Bye
      ~a PaperCut follower

  2. Being in my 20th year, this just confirms my perception and that of colleagues: this is the worst morale we have seen. I was driving home after 6pm on a Friday, after spending 2+ hours helping students with STEM projects, I hear a spokesperson from the Illinois Policy Institute talking about how pensions need to be shifted to local school districts and “teachers need to pay thier fair share” of pensions. Yeah, I feel appreciated. (BTW, researching the IPI is how I ended up at your blog)

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