After 17 years of teaching, I have a wide range of experiences which encompass four of the United States and one other country. Lately I’ve pondered as to which lessons I find most valuable as well as which of my experiences could a new teacher open to learning appreciate most. Notice, I said open to learning. I find that some new to this field know it all and somehow don’t heed nor seek advice from a veteran. This message is for the ones who are willing to seek wisdom. I can lead you to the water yet I can’t make you drink.
Overall, I was not a fortunate educator with an array of good administrators. Some teachers have had more good administrators than bad; it’s been the complete opposite in my case. I find too many of the administrators in education to be insecure power hungry bullies. I’ve had everything from a principal who asked me to go out on a date with her son which turned out very badly. To a principal who gave surprise evaluations if I came to work looking too good. In this field, I think I have heard it all but maybe it’s more correct to say I’ve seen most of it all.
The one who was subject to give a surprise evaluations on any day I came to work looking good was the classic I’m insecure unhappy with my life therefore; I will make all the nice looking teachers in my building miserable. She had issues beyond issues she was also famous for bullying her male subordinates into taking her on dates and whatever else she could get them to do. I think maybe the universe has been telling me to leave the field of education for some time perhaps that explains why I had more psycho admin than not. Let me be clear, not all admin are insecure and power seeking. Today, I work for a wonderful well respected highly educated woman. I must add she is happy with herself she has a high level of emotional intelligence also she is quite a secure individual making her easy to work for and to work with. She is truly one of the best I’ve seen in 17 years.
My overall advise:
If you have an insecure administrative staff or if key members of your admin staff are members of The Insecure Club or The I’m miserable With My Own Life Club seek a transfer A.S.A.P. Everyday life carries with it, it’s own challenges; at the end of the day, you want your work environment to be pleasant. Unfortunately the power hungry ones with low emotional intelligence are the main ones who seek and are often awarded admin positions. I hate to be the one who delivers bad news but I wish someone had told me this 21 years ago (while I was still in undergrad). If you are used to sucking up and insecure people don’t irritate you perhaps you’ve chosen the correct profession. I don’t suck up well nor do I have any desire. I have no time or space in my life for needy ones who need the ego stroking that the insecure require.
If the person that does your evaluation is insecure and/or power hungry your evaluation will not represent your professionalism it will more than likely be a direct reflection of his/her personal feelings forward you. Personal feelings that which you largely have no control over. Now we are entering this age of a teacher can’t contest a negative evaluation regardless of how ridiculous it is. Which leads me to advise # 2.
Cultivate other interest. If you are skilled in make-up, writing, professional organizing, styling or baking continue to sharpening those skills. Not only will these creative gifts provide you with a means for stress relief during your teaching profession. These skills may become the ones that allow you to leave the profession. Too often teachers are placed in a box. I’ve tried on many occasions to seek employment outside of education but once in “the teacher box” it is difficult to escape. Yes, teachers have loads of transferable skills but as I said escaping the “teacher box” is a craft in itself. The best thing you can do for yourself is not to let go of your other interest please take the time to sharpen those skills. When someone insecure knows you have no other options they are more inclined to treat you poorly. Too add to that, when you have alternative options you hold your head higher.
Thanks for Reading,