Principal plays favorites among teachers?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Jerry Dill, Apr 2, 2017.

  1. Jerry Dill

    Jerry Dill Companion

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    I'm at an independent school where the principal has a lot of power.

    My particular principal had a sketchy reputation before being hired at my school, and since I've joined this school, I found he plays favorites among the teaching staff. There is one teacher who has less experience teaching our particular grades levels than the other teachers. But she is very amenable and agreeable and goes along with everything the principal asks. Plus, she spends a lot of time in the administration offices whereas the rest of the teachers spend their free time in their classrooms not the administration offices. Every faculty meeting our staff has is in this one teacher's classroom. He gave this one teacher the job of advising the seniors even though other teachers have more (1) educational credentials (2) teaching experience at these levels. Has anyone else experienced favoritism by your boss among other teachers who do not seem as qualified as other teachers? How have you dealt with the principal playing favorites among teachers?
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I have lived through that experience with a couple of previous P's. Other than being annoyed at the immaturity of the P, I just tried to ignore the drama and not let it upset me. I did leave one school when the P became too difficult to handle.
     
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  4. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I see nothing surprising about an administrator who would work more wiyhbthose who are agreeable than those who will buck him. This isn't an educational phenomenon.

    Experience isn't always a positive thing when those higher up want to see changes, especially if those who are experienced are resistant to change. Those experienced may be right, but unless they can communicate in a way to change the mind of the person in charge, they probably will be pushed aside.
     
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  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I agree with this. Also, who cares that meetings are held in this teacher's classroom. Don't make trouble where there isn't any.
     
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  6. Jerry Dill

    Jerry Dill Companion

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    But the other teachers are not "bucking" the principal. They just are not sycophantic and Yes-People. I don't see why the principal doesn't find a neutral place to hold regular faculty meetings? Or rotate faculty classrooms for the faculty meetings. Why is it difficult to do any of those things? And why can't the principal regular compliment all of the teachers, including those who have greater educational credentials and educational experience than this one teacher? It isn't professional for the principal to play favorites and it's annoying when it becomes obvious.
     
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  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Jerry, what you are describing is something that is common in most schools. Some of us just go with the flow, others are the flavor of the month, therefore happy, and others are a bit more like you, looking to stir things up because they aren't the flavor of the month and they are upset about it. Stay in teaching long enough and you will probably have experience in all three groups. Get over it or move on.
     
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  8. Jerry Dill

    Jerry Dill Companion

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    With all due respect to the posters, I like to take more of an active, strategic response to any issues in my professional and personal lives. And I have found many articles that find favoritism a problem that elicits this type of active, strategic response by some other people too.

    Here is an article that takes an active, strategic response: https://www.themuse.com/advice/12-different-strategies-for-dealing-with-a-boss-who-plays-favorites

    Here is another article dealing with strategies to approach favoritism: http://www.careerbuilder.com/advice/does-your-boss-have-favorites-are-you-not-one-of-them

    Here is another article dealing with active approaches to handling boss favoritism: http://www.refinery29.com/dealing-with-boss-playing-favorites
     
  9. 4SquareRubric

    4SquareRubric Rookie

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    I think you are already self identifying your own strategy, but it order to get concrete next steps you need to know what you want. It seems you principal does because he leans on people who represent that.

    Each of the articles you reference are about achieving an outcome you want when you are not in the favorite's group. What you are not going to get is your principal to think like you do and value the things you value.

    In order to make change you have to buy in, at least a little, to what your principal values. If that takes being more vocal and helpful in the administrative office then position yourself there. Strike up a conversation about strategies in PD that you've tried and found helpful. Then you can slip in your own strategies that have worked for you. Be part of the conversation and then you can be part of that circle.

    If your goal is to change a leaders mind about favoritism I think it is a risky play. Instead infiltrate and then slowly shift mindsets.
     
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  10. Jerry Dill

    Jerry Dill Companion

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    I do agree that it makes sense to infiltrate to the degree possible. I am working on it, but the principal is not always receptive in the same way as he is with his favorite teacher. The favorite teacher is also the Easy A Teacher that I described in another thread, and she wants everyone to like her. It is harder to make all the students like a teacher if the teacher isn't giving A grades to 90% of the class. The principal is somewhat duplicitous, strategic and aiming to raise enrollment numbers. Being strategic and aiming to increase enrollment don't bother me, but his duplicitous approach that involves things like Credit Recovery, changing student transcripts to raise grades, not paying for a regular janitor, giving strict talking points to the accreditation officials are more problematic. On the one hand, I want to infiltrate, but, on the other hand, I would just like to find a job at a more ethically conscious school.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    If you're looking to change someone, you will likely be disappointed. The only thing you can control is your response to someone whose professional character is of concern to you. It's probably time to make a choice about continuing to work there or seeking employment elsewhere.
     
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  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Private schools can't exist without charging tuition, and they tend to bend over backwards to get and keep enrollment numbers up. You might do better in a public school situation.
     
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  13. Jerry Dill

    Jerry Dill Companion

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    My own school is just getting off the ground, so the enrollment aspect is paramount. If the kid has a pulse, he's basically accepted to our school.

    Here is another instance of the principal playing favorites: he told me that for me to be a dorm supervisor I would need to get rid of my pets. I could not bring my pets into the student dorms. But yesterday, another new teacher brought her puppy to the school, and this school will be turned into the new student dormitory very soon. I like that teacher, and I like puppies, but the principal is highly inconsistent. He enforces rules when it suits his purposes, and he disregards rules when it does not suit his purposes.

    I am definitely on the job market and looking for another teaching position. Fingers crossed.
     
  14. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    In my experience working in education and retail this is the quality of an excellent employee. So I would expext they are treated with favoritism. I have seen this my entire working career in these two industries.
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    All I have to go on is your explanation. It seems where she brought the puppy is not yet a dorm so she isn't violating the rule. So I don't see how this is playing favorites.

    What am I missing because until it is a dorm and until she is a supervisor she is not the same.

    Once it is a dorm and she lives there with her pets you will have a valid complaint.
     
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  16. Jerry Dill

    Jerry Dill Companion

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    I have worked on the college level most of my career, so perhaps this is the difference. At my colleges, the faculty were very independent, and they pursued their own research and teaching interests. In addition, they often disagreed with each other at faculty meetings and voiced independent ideas. Non-tenured faculty were more circumspect in how often they disagreed, but they did not regularly butter up the Department Chair or the University President. The Department Chairs regularly rotated so no one faculty member was the power player for a lengthy period.
     
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  17. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Just curious - what made you think you would like teaching HS better than college? I'm assuming the switch was your choice to make.
     
  18. Jerry Dill

    Jerry Dill Companion

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    It was only partly my decision. I was strong in the teaching part of my college job, but I wasn't able to secure enough publications. I moved to high school teaching since I do enjoy and am strong in the teaching part of education. I notice differences such as maturity levels, proactivity, and independent attitudes between high school and college students. The high school students (at least mine) require a lot of reminders, repetition, and guidance whereas I did not need to hold the hands of the college students. I don't think the differences would be as stark if I was at a stronger high school with more rigorous academics, however.
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oh, no, you would definitely notice the same differences just about anywhere.
     
  20. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    It shouldn't be a surprise that there is a difference, particularly in maturity, between high school and college kids, just as there is a difference between elementary and middle school and middle school and high school.
     
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  21. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I feel like some teachers might have viewed me the way you are viewing this teacher at my old school. When you're a newer teacher, you of course latch on to anyone who is available to give you help or provides you support. In my experience, some principals are able to do this better than teachers who have enough on their plate to support a newer teacher.

    Or they notice talents in these people that they want to bring out. I was particularly skilled in technology, so I was asked to lead everyone in developing their technology skills and managing technology on the site.

    As the teacher in this scenario, all you want to do is help (the principal, teachers, whoever), and you don't really want to be seen as a favorite, but sometimes the principals do things that make it seem that way. Like I was given an extra period just to work on tech stuff because I was spending so much of my own time without compensation. Other teachers were resentful of that because they didn't think I deserved it with my experience level. I would have given it up if I could, but it was actually a part of enrollment issues as well where they didn't have another science section for me to teach, or I would have to become part-time. And I was continuously asked to do a lot of extras because I was closer to the principal.

    So cut them a break. What that kind of relationship really amounts to is a lot of extra work for the teacher anyway, and I don't know if you'd really want that responsibility. If you do, I'm sure just asking the principal to get more involved would land you in a more personal place with your principal and the extra responsibilities you want. Principals are always looking for people to take some of the load. Stop just looking from the outside in and being judgmental and actually communicate.
     
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