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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,215
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Angelo
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,215
Senior Member
Definition of "something wrong"?
Old 05-19-2014, 07:12 AM
 
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Agree. Maybe the definition of "spying" matters.

Just curious (truly... not trying to be combative -- it can be hard to communicate tone in a text message) as to what procedure you (or others) would follow in terms of speaking up when something is wrong. Would you do it in writing? In person? Would you approach the colleague first about whom you had concerns? My major issue is when someone is being investigated/reported on and doesn't know it or doesn't know the source. In my jurisdiction (maybe there are regional differences), this is called an "adverse report" made against a fellow teacher. In such a case, we are required to furnish said colleague with a full written, signed account of any potentially adverse report made to a superior within three days of making it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockguykev
As an educated professional you have every right to judge the quality of others in your field.
What evidence would I collect to do so? I suppose if I were in a situation where I co-taught in the same classroom on a day to day basis, I might have sufficient first-hand evidence to form a clear picture of a colleague's teaching. In my case, I teach my own classes, and don't have the opportunity to observe a colleague in the classroom for extended periods. I feel as though I'd be forming my impressions based on gut feelings, hearsay, so on and so forth.

I've witnessed cases in which teachers have been reported for being "mean and disrespectful" to students (pretty vague), mainly because they have an imposing presence and a low tolerance for nonsense.

Just last year I witnessed a colleague raked over the coals for being "disorganized." The evidence? Her desk in the workroom was "messy." A few students commented that she hadn't returned their marked work fast enough. The real reason for the report? She had misplaced another teacher's DVD (and offered to replace it), but the other teacher became angry and reported everything she had ever heard or seen of the teacher's organization to the P. She went into the P's office, closed the door, and ranted (all because she was annoyed about the DVD) for what was evidently a long time. She never said a word about her conversation to the P to her colleague. When said colleague confronted her and asked if she had spoken to the P about her, she initially lied and said she hadn't. When pressed, the informer said, "Fine, it was me. You shouldn't even be a teacher if you can't keep track of things." When asked why she hadn't told anyone about going to see the P, her response was, and I quote, a highly professional "Screw you." I'm not saying the informer wasn't right to be annoyed about the loss of her DVD, but I'm not sure going behind closed doors to the P about was the most helpful solution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockguykev
We complain that students can't do it. We complain that parents can't do it.
Student and parent complaints tend to be unreliable and self-serving. Often they are used to deflect attention from the student's own weaknesses and lack of responsibility. Too many disciplinary or learning interventions get derailed by parents and/or students who want to shift the conversation away from why they aren't doing their work and into a litany of complaints about the teacher and their style of teaching and everything they are allegedly doing wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockguykev
We complain that admins can't do it.
Again, maybe a regional difference. Where I work, admins do conduct regular teacher appraisals. I'm surprised to hear there are places where teachers aren't subject to evaluation! Of course, teacher appraisals have to be based on observable evidence, not hearsay or anonymous reports. And teachers have the opportunity to respond in writing to any part of the appraisal with which they disagree.

What are some examples of something being "wrong" that might warrant a report to one's superior? I'm thinking of cases of child abuse, of course, or someone breaking the law or breaching ethics. I would not hesitate to report something like that, but I would also acknowledge a the accused's right to see the evidence collected and confront his or her accuser.

In too many cases (where I work), someone will sit down with the P informally, dish the dirt on a colleague, and then ask to have their name kept out of it.

My wife (elementary teacher) used to work for a P who would call people in, demand information on colleagues, and then refuse to identify the source when confronting the teacher involved. She'd play little cat-and-mouse games like questioning the teacher with things like: "If one of your colleagues were to tell me that you did (or didn't do) x, y, or z, would she be lying?" "If one of your students were to claim x, y, or z, would he be lying?"

Another P in our district (high school level) likes to track teachers randomly using the school's security cameras. A teacher will arrive to school on a Monday to see a note that reads, "Just FYI, during the week of May 1-5, your median arrival time was 8:10. Your median departure time was 4:35." She'd also buzz into teachers' classrooms 15 minutes before the bell to make sure the teacher was present at contract time. "Excuse me... Mrs. Jones?" "Yes?" "Just checking." If the teacher didn't respond, she'd page them over the PA, pull them from whatever they were doing, and say, "Just checking!" You'd think this was in response to some sort of rampant attendance problem with teachers, but no. There was no problem. She just liked to micromanage. On one occasion, she stopped a friend of mine as she was coming in 6 or 7 minutes before the bell, looked at her watch, and clucked her tongue. She then proceeded to lecture him on contract times. He said, "Fine. Sorry. There was an accident on the freeway. I'll try to leave earlier." Then she said, "I saw two other cars pulling in besides yours. Who else did you see in the parking lot coming in?" He declined to say, and she threatened him with insubordination charges.

Serious cases are one thing, and there procedures for reporting them. I just don't like cat-and-mouse games. If I had a problem with someone, I like to think I'd be adult enough to take it up with them directly. I wouldn't go behind their back and tattle.

Those are some specific cases I have witnessed. Maybe it's helpful to discuss "spying" in specific terms so we're all on the same page.
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