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Angelo Angelo is offline
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,215
Senior Member

Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,215
Senior Member
Two Motives
Old 05-17-2014, 06:58 PM
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Almost every serious decision comes down to one of two sources of motivation: power or principle. Power decisions are those taken with the view to gaining something for oneself (money, influence, praise, advancement, etc.). Principled decisions are taken based on a person's fundamental moral code: is this the right thing to do or not?

That said, why do some teachers spy for admin? Is it power or principle? In most cases, it's power. The warm, glowing feeling of being part (if only tangentially) of the upper echelon. Waltzing with the "big boys" for one or two numbers. Alternatively, the spy may be cutting others off at the knees with the idea of stepping over them to get ahead. I'd say power accounts for 90+ per cent of the cases in which teachers spy for admins.

In a handful of cases, teachers turn informer as a matter of principle. A case in which the informer believes a child's safety to be in immediate peril would be the obvious example.

In any event, I'm of the opinion that adult colleagues should deal with their differences face to face. If I don't have the guts to make my concerns known to someone directly, I have no business discussing those concerns with others, let alone the person's immediate supervisor. Going over someone's head without their knowledge is cowardly and childish. Full stop.

In the rare case that can't be resolved face to face among colleagues, if the decision is made to involve a P in the discussion, the adult thing is to approach the person directly and tell them I plan to speak to the P and exactly what I plan to say. I should invite them to the meeting to share their side of the story.

As a teacher, it is not for me to decide whether a fellow teacher is effective or not. That's an evaluative judgement, and where I teach, that's an ethical "no no." Unless I witness a child in grave danger in a person's care (in which case I would, as I say, be obliged to TELL the person I was going to the P about it and invite them to join me for the conversation), it is not for me to judge a colleague's performance. I'm not his or her supervisor. I'll give him or her my assessment (give HIM or HER, not his or her P) only if he or she asks for it directly.

I see too many cases of teachers being judged on the basis of student gossip ("so and so shows movies all the time;" "so and so takes two months to hand back graded tests;" "so and so lets us play on our phones in class;" etc., etc.). Personally, I would need a more reliable source than student chatter or parent grumbling to form an opinion of a colleague's performance in the classroom.
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