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

January 23, 2015

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.

 

intimidation

__________________________________________

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education

previti chronicle pic

From → COMPASS

12 Comments
  1. I have found people rarely are willing to engage in a debate when they are expected to support their position with evidence – which you do thoroughly. It sends a message.

  2. Well done and thanks to whoever it was that shared the memo with you.

  3. speakstrong32@gmail.com permalink

    Fantastic response. No minced words, addressed every aspect. Great pic.

    …..all again.

    Well done & thank you! Blessings to you & continued advocacy.

    >

  4. ira shor permalink

    Yes, a memo to bully and silence teachers fraudulently describes itself as a missive of pride in the teachers. ‘Shut up’ is exactly the order to to teachers. Consider how useful rhetoric can be to people in power–lying to outsiders about what goes on inside, and bullying those inside to never speak to outsiders about their real conditions.

  5. Rich permalink

    So, the teachers don’t have time to troll websites and blogs, but the administrators do? This means that the administrators aren’t spending their time in the education of the children at this school?

  6. Thank you Mercedes for exposing this tactic that is way too prevalent in our schools – the bully tactic. It is a sin that our teachers have to put up with this kind of intimidation. Maybe one day it will stop.

  7. It is too bad that you are not, according to the Education Writers Association, a real journalist. How many of the “real journalists” out there are covering stories like these?

    • Anthony, the irony made me smile when I read the admin’s memo. Also smiled last week when I was considered approved media by Doug Harris’ PR folks and was given access to his embargoed report on the New Orleans OneApp.

  8. During the 30 years I was a teacher in a public school classroom, I worked under too many administrators like this real-life example. To be fair, there were also a few who were open minded, fair and supportive, but, in my experience, the best administrators were the exception and too many were sociopaths and narcissists with a Napoleon complex who wore blinders and had no idea what monsters they were. To them, teachers who asked questions and protested were targets to destroy and sweep out of the way.

    There were also many mid-level administrators who could have been fair, open minded and supportive but fear for their jobs from top level, micromanaging psychopaths—-my emphases from too many years of experience—kept them from developing into the excellent administrators they might have been.

  9. dolphin permalink

    Reblogged this on Dolphin and commented:
    Timing a pregnant teacher to see if she sits? Outrageous! This is blatant discrimination meant to portray her as less effective at her job due to her biology. Be sure to click on the link for the pregnant teacher in the first paragraph — it tells the story. It’s just smoke and mirrors, anyway, the administration is making busy work to appear that they are accomplishing something…or perhaps it is to keep teachers so busy and distracted that they actually become ineffective??

  10. jgorman permalink

    Thank you Mercedes for keeping the heat on these people. They will never stop us from speaking the truth, nor will they ever keep us from loving up our kids in our classrooms. Love and truth will always triumph for as John 1:5 tells us “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.”

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