The “Good School”‘s Burden


A colleague of mine expressed frustration with the fact that she and some other teachers at our school felt out of the loop when it came to board initiatives regarding assessment and evaluation, student success, literacy, numeracy, and differentiated instruction. She was told that the reason why our school was often overlooked was because students at our school consistently performed well on standardized tests and we have good records for credit achievement.

I get it. Our board has only so much money to spend and it would seem to make sense to funnel this money where it is most needed.

But if you consistently neglect the “good schools” might they not cease to be “good schools”? Might the “good schools” be “good schools” not because of good teaching–but in spite of bad teaching? If we truly believe that all students can be successful, then success is not just about credit accumulation and passing standardized tests–it’s about exploring gifts, and excelling, and challenging one’s self.

And if you keep funneling money into your car that keeps breaking down while neglecting the regular maintenance on your trusty Toyota (insert Toyota joke here), aren’t you going to end up with a gunked up engine and bald tires? (I really should avoid car analogies. Um… okay, so say I have two pairs of shoes…)

I also can’t help but think of the professional development opportunities I would have missed out on if my first teaching placement was at this school–not because of lack of support by admin, but because I wouldn’t have been chosen for many initiatives because of a perception that I didn’t teach “at risk” kids. The kids are the first priority, but it’s sad to think that there are enthusiastic, dedicated, open-minded teachers who are missing out on leadership opportunities because they teach at “good schools.”

On the other hand, maybe if you’re really looking for leadership opportunities you should seek out more challenging schools.

Still, I completely understand my colleague’s frustration. She just wants to do a good job and be kept in the loop which is hard to do if you’re not even aware a loop exists.