My “How Long Must a Pregnant Teacher Stand” Post Provoked the School’s Admin

From educator, author and education blogger Mercedes Schneider comes this disturbing reminder that far to often school administrators fail to side with students, parents, teachers and the good of their schools.

My “How Long Must a Pregnant Teacher Stand” Post Provoked the School’s Admin

On January 2, 2015, I published a post entitled, How Long Must a Pregnant Teacher Stand in Order to Be Rated Effective? The post focuses on a Lake Charles, Louisiana, teacher’s experiences with micro-managed expectations foisted upon faculty at his/her school. Whereas the teacher identified to me both him-/herself and the school at which he/she teaches, I chose to publish the post with both teacher and school as anonymous.

The post itself has had over 4,800 views, with 4,000 of those views occurring on January 2 and 3, 2015. After about a week, the post primarily went quiet.

So, on January 23, 2015, I was surprised to receive a couple of strong, anonymous comments declaring the “utter incorrectness” about “our” school. Mind you, I had not identified the school, only the city. As it stands, there are 22 elementary schools, 6 middle schools, and 5 high schools with Lake Charles addresses. Given that my post refers to teachers’ having to change bulletin boards, that pretty much rules out my having written about a Lake Charles high school; so, it is possible that my post included information from any one of 28 potential elementary or middle schools located in Lake Charles.

I wondered why the commenter’s denouncement happened on January 23, 2015, three weeks following publication of the well-read post.

I found out this evening.

It seems that the administration of the school saw fit to place a copy of the following memo in each teacher box today, January 23, 2015:

I want to personally thank each and every one of you for staying positive as we “roll with the curriculum changes” this year. I recently came across this educational blog which spotlights the inaccurate information being fed to the media. (Administrator name) and I are thankful that our teachers at (name of school) spend their time & energy on educating our students and not on whining and complaining to the media.

(Name of two administrators)

The memo then includes the address for my January 2, 2015, post and text from that post.

Well, well, well.

At this juncture, allow me to offer some (ahem) “observations” of my own:

First of all, the point of this memo is not so much to “thank teachers” as it is to shut them up, which fits the atmosphere of the school as identified in the original post.

Secondly, if the post is “inaccurate,” why draw attention to the fact that this administration believes it identifies their school? Such action only serves to confirm the post’s accuracy.

Third, the timing of this memo coincides with the beginning of formal classroom observations at this school. The memo was circulated on a Friday, and formal observations begin on the following Monday. The tacit message appears to be, “Don’t you dare tell outsiders what goes on behind these walls once formal observations are underway.”

Fourth, if the information I posted is “inaccurate,” why not contact me with the “accurate” information? Circulating a memo to teachers as opposed to contacting me reinforces the likelihood that the administrators are more concerned with keeping their teachers “in line” than with correcting supposed “inaccuracies.” I would be happy to interview these administrators for a point-by-point, publicly-declared “correction” of my “inaccuracies.” As it stands, their concluding their memo with what amounts to a warning for teachers to quit “whining and complaining” only reinforces that idea that the issue is not one of “inaccuracy” so much as it is about unquestioned acceptance and “sucking it up.”

Fifth, if the administration is concerned about some issue that the post might have revealed among their faculty, why not speak to the faculty and offer them an opportunity to discuss the issue? Doing so is much more personable than sending a memo that reads like an effort to intimidate teachers into administrator-directed submission.

From my end, all that the memo did was reawaken interest in the post and advertise my blog. (Thank you.)

If the administration wants me to publish a point-by-point rebuttal of what is in the January 2, 2015, post, I would be happy to do so. Know, however, that I will continue to publish whatever I choose from sources who contact me as per my discretion, including possible responses to the proffered rebuttal.

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