Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Vahey Report Two

Further to my earlier post on the William Vahey pedophilia case at a school in the UK, I have read a report of the official report. Unsurprisingly, the blame was attached to the Principal for a failure of supervision and action. However, I think some blame should also be apportioned to teachers' common rejection of a Principal's efforts at supervision and action.

I know of one school where a teacher was released for unsatisfactory performance after two years of support and assistance. The Head of Department had worked with her weekly on planning, lesson objectives, grading and the Principal had had several meetings with her on the same things. All of these were documented, as were the verbal warnings and the written warnings. She was even told in April she would not be renewed for the following September so that she would have time to find another job.

Yet, she filed suit for unjustified dismissal, several parents met with the Principal to complain about the obvious victimization and two teachers started grievance procedures with the school Board on her behalf. The bottom line to all of these responses was that the Principal had no right to guide the teacher's performance or to determine that she was non-performing.

I once worked at a school where teachers were upset that the Principal walked into their classes without arranging a visit weeks in advance. They believed he had no right to see an unscripted, unrehearsed, actual performance.

In another school, a teacher signed a new contract in March but kept looking for jobs and she accepted another job at another school in May. Many of her colleagues were furious that the Principal described this as "unprofessional" and complained to parents that management had no right to do or say anything about teachers' actions.

School and teacher culture must change to accept that a school has a boss and that they are not lords of their demesne. While evaluation processes must be transparent, objectives and expectations clear, and all must be consistent with the school's mission and stated values, ultimately teachers are not self-employed!

No comments :