What 1 Thing Would You Change?

Other than tossing out your school director, tell us the 1 thing you would change about your school to effect the biggest positive improvement?  Feel comfortable in naming your school? Go chanageswitch21894989right ahead! Maybe  your school admin will read your comments and take them to heart.

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10 Responses to What 1 Thing Would You Change?

  1. fnarkv says:

    I would like to see a greater focus on student learning rather than on testing.


  2. I teach at an expensive private university in Mexico. I would change how professors are evaluated. Right now it is 100% based on upward feedback/grading from students. If you don’t score well on that, you aren’t brought back.

    Students are well aware of their power and expect only A’s and A minuses as a result. Of course, they love A pluses too. If a teacher gives them less than an A- they give him or her a poor grade. Professors are also aware of how the game is played so students get almost only A’s and A minuses with maybe one B+ from a very brave or burnt out professor.

    I had one team of students who only did 1/5 of an assignment. I gave them a much higher score than they deserved (B+) because I really liked their ideas and warned them that this would be the last time I gave them a break. Instead of being happy with my benevolence, they were furious because they had never received that low of a grade.

    In sync with the method of determining whether to bring a professor back, none of the goals given to professors have anything to do with students learning anything. Consequently, I told the academic head that I had no intention of coming back.


  3. What needs to happen in the school I am in is to follow the behavior policy more closely instead of not following it at all. We do not go beyond the detentions and those are not effective in improving behavior. We have a policy where parents are called in after a certain number of detentions and some kids have had upward of 20 and 30 since the beginning of the year with no parental notification… this is ridiculous. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. It is time to take these kids out of the main stream… they need more intense consequences and, at the very least, parents need to be informed about their child’s poor behavior here at the school.
    It is causing a lot of great teachers to leave annually and there is no disclosure before accepting the position about what one is in for… it is not until you have moved all the way around the world before you have any idea what you are getting into. I had even worked in Egypt before I came to this school, in a similar environment. This place just doesn’t follow it’s own rules at all. There is no post about this school on IRS even though it has been around for 30+ years. That is strange and will change when I leave.
    I am frustrated but have taken back the detentions into my own room and I deal with my behavior issues myself. There is no accountability for the behavior or attendance so the students pretty much do what they want with no consequences.
    I will complete my time and then move on just like everyone else does, or anyone with values who wants to teach for the class period and not be a babysitter, repeating time after time after time the same basic rules of a civilized classroom environment.
    If the school would follow it’s own rules, this would be a great school to work at but unfortunately, they do not seem to know how to get a handle on things….


  4. anonymous says:

    I’m going to have to list more than 1 thing as the problems are just to great at my school in Japan. First is the problem that no students fail. Even if they learn nothing. Even if they never come to school the students are pushed on to the next grade. This is the story for grades 1-10. However in order to move from grade 10 to 11 the student must pass at least 3 subjects. A student need only get an average of 30% in order to pass!! The students know this and act accordingly – not taking their work seriously and having little sense of responsibility.

    This is made much worse by the other to big problems: First, the parents are doting has arrested the development of their children. My grade 9 students have the maturity level of grade 7 or 8 students in the States. Second, the (all) Japanese administration prefers to turn a blind eye to problems rather than address them. So problems like attendance, bullying, etc. just get worse and worse.


  5. George Christos says:

    I would vote for requiring the school to make all decisions as a community in a collaborative way; so that all actions and investments fulfill the intention of helping the students succeed. Of course, to do this would enable tossing the director, vice principal, and principal. But I think that would probably result from the first decision making meeting that would occur under these conditions anyway. Two birds with one stone. Everybody wins.


  6. Anonymous says:

    Teach parents how to parent. Improve their involvement in their child’ education.


  7. Sort of Satisfied says:

    I would vote for tossing the director. Just read the last comment from Warren Anderson. Did he answer the question? No! Is he a director? He claims to be! Instead of answering the question he has rattled on about an unrelated topics concerning owners, budgets and yes men. Here in lies the problem with many school directors. They just don’t get it and fail to address the real issues.

    Since the question ask us to exclude the director from our comments I will do that now that I have dismissed Warren.

    The one thing I would love to change at my school is the complete lack of communication between admin and staff. No one ever knows what is happening here and the motto among staff has become not to worry about it because some one will tell what’s going on at least ten minutes in advance.

    I feel communication is tantamount for progress and working as a team. I really believe they keep us in the dark here based on some silly third world notion that if no one sees all the pieces of the puzzle there is no threat of revolt..or some such lunacy. And maybe it’s true as we are all completely confused most of the time. Heck, no one would know in which direction to lead the charge.


  8. As I am the Executive Director I would not be up for tossing myself out.

    In my experience as a teacher in various schools in the U.S. as well as in Greece, Pakistan, Dubai and here in Albania the problem begins with the owners of the school in question. Whether a public, parochial or private school in the U.S. or a private international school it is the owners – taxpayers, religious leaders or investors – that decide whether a school will succeed in teaching the students what they need to learn and doing so in a meaningful and lasting way. It is the owners as defined who choose the managers/directors/principals who then choose the teachers. The choice of quality teachers in each case comes down to budget and the owners desire to compromise quality for profit or according to fit an inadequate budget and a specific mindset/leadership style.

    In the case of the managers/directors/principals, do the owners want a ‘yes man’ or are they willing to listen to ideas and even criticism and a ‘no’ occasionally? Did they hire a managers/directors/principals ready to listen to different points of view or to hear that they may be wrong in their decision making process from their underlings?

    In the end the owners – taxpayers, religious leaders or investors – get the school they deserve: the one they budgeted for and the one with the leader that will run the school(s) the way they want it/them run.


    • Warren,
      The question is “what one thing would you change in your school?” You said a lot but did not answer the question that is the header of this blog… care to try your communication again?
      I agree with “sort of Satisfied” who stated communication between administration and the teachers is a problem… ya think?


    • Anonymous says:

      A lot of people will probably pick holes and dig into your answer. I however feel it is refreshing to actually hear from a Director in this type of ‘debat’. It offers those reading a different perspective.

      I agree with the statement that the owners will get what they deserve. I think it is important to remember that whilst not all owners or even directors understand Education or up to date education, they are the ones putting their own money into the school and are looking for a return on investment.

      Of course the one thing I would change is Directors and Owners trusting Heads more. This is where the understanding of Education is vital. To be successful you need to trust that your head and the teachers employed by the head are going to have the correct understanding to implement the correct policies. I would like to see this change in schools.

      Perhaps better canteen food also 😛


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