Teachers vs. School Officials: friendly competition or a never-ending battle?

By Alexa Milano
September 23, 2012

Almost any teacher, parent, boss or anybody in a position of leadership will tell you that in order to work with others cooperation will be necessary. So why does it seem that two key groups of people – teachers and school officials – cannot seem to get along?

After all, how are teachers supposed to teach their kids about working well with others if the school officials can’t work well with the teachers? It seems as if teachers are in a constant battle between trying to please their students and trying to please the officials.

Now school officials are concerned for their students’ sake too; but they’re worried for all the wrong reasons. It seems as if school officials are more worried about their own jobs rather than the wellbeing of their students. And maybe reasonably so; after all, they get paid to oversee their schools and school districts.

But teachers are concerned for their students’ wellbeing for totally different reasons. Granted, they want their students to do well too, but they also know the students better. They know the lives of their students. They see them try. They see them fail. They see them struggle and succeed.  So for the teachers, the concern is personal.

To me, it doesn’t seem fair that people who don’t even know the students or haven’t even stepped foot inside the classroom are allowed to make the rules of how these students are taught.

It almost seems preposterous that there are teaching obligations that teachers need to follow for every single class because no two classes will be the same. The atmosphere of each class is dependent on the students in the class.

So with all of this, how is it possible that there won’t be clashes between teachers and officials?

It’s completely absurd for school officials to put their teachers under even more stress than the daily stressors they experience each day. An example of this added stress: Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York published teachers’ names next to the standardized test results of their students. I’m sure if you told anybody that their names were going to be put next to their accomplishments or failures and then published for the whole world to see, they would panic.

What seems to be the main problem is that school officials are fixated on standardized testing. Always trying to be the best and beat out any competition. Now of course a little competition doesn’t hurt. But when the competition takes away from the focus of the overall wellbeing of the school, it’s hazardous.

School officials have seemed to overlook that every single student comes from a different living environment, has a different way to learn, does different amounts of extracurriculars and has different types of stressors in their lives.

It is ridiculous to think otherwise.

So how does this problem get solved? Perhaps it already has. The Chicago Teachers Union went on strike recently and stood up against a flawed school system. Hopefully this will bring change not only to Chicago, but school districts in general.

In order for teachers and school officials to stop fighting some sort of compromise needs to be made. School officials need to realize that not all students will test the same way and instead focus on making their school a better environment for the students. School officials need to take suggestions from teachers and parents and stop cutting out art and physical education programs.

And teachers need to realize that at the end of the day, the school officials have a job to do.

So where does the allegiance of the teacher lie, with the students or with the officials? If it were up to me, I would say with the students. If a teacher needs to teach in a way that isn’t the way the official wants, so be it; at least the student is retaining the information. And at the end of the day, isn’t that all that matters?

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Alexa Milano

Junior communications major, marketing minor at Cabrini College. News editor of The Loquitur, President of the Campus Activities and Programming (CAP) Board, student ambassador. Enjoys napping and being productive all at the same time; irony at its finest.

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