School leadership: yes or no?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ozteach, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    Oct 9, 2017

    Hi everyone,

    It has been a very long while since I have posted here! But, as I was pondering an ongoing problem, I decided to reach out and see what some experienced teachers have to say.
    I have spent two years as the Director of Learning in my school - basically overseeing all curriculum and teacher development. I love elements of the position, developing curriculum ideas and working with teachers on pedagogy.
    However, as this year has gone on, I realise how much I miss being in the classroom. This is a non-teaching position.
    My question is this: would you go back to the classroom, or would you accept that leadership in teaching means an inevitable loss of your own class? I'm contemplating asking to go back to class, but that is a real step-back in terms of career advancement. I'm not particularly ambitious and have realised I really don't want to go further - would hate to be a principal for example.
    I'm really grappling with this.
    Thanks for your ideas!
     
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  3. blazer

    blazer Groupie

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    Oct 9, 2017

    In my career, although I never left the classroom completely I never enjoyed the management aspects of the job and eventually gave up those responsibilities and went back to full time teaching. I enjoyed it much more. I later found a few responsibilities that I could do without losing classroom time but that gave me almost the same amount of money as my management responsibilities.
     
  4. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    Oct 9, 2017

    Thanks! I guess it's not really about the money for me, more about feeling like I'm giving up a good job, and a good opportunity and stepping backwards. But I just feel unsettled.
     
  5. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Connoisseur

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    Oct 9, 2017

    Does it matter? As long as you do what YOU want to do. I mean if you find yourself unhappy in the current position (or think you'd be happier back in a classroom,) GO FOR IT! Everywhere needs awesome teachers! If you don't ever see yourself rising up the ladder, what's the point? My principal my first year (who was AWESOME) resigned, worked in Ed Tech for a few years, and then I just found she went back into the classroom teaching middle school science as she really missed it. If your heart is in the classroom, that's where you need to be.
    :)
     
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  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 9, 2017

    Have you ever heard of Gregory Michie? He accidentally fell into teaching middle school about 25 years ago. He wrote several books (I have Holler if You Can Hear Me on my desk right now), eventually became a college professor... and then went back to teaching at the same middle school where he started. Why did he return? He missed and loved the kids.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 9, 2017

    Is there any possibility that you could do both? Some admin positions allow for one or two periods per day in the classroom. The same can be said for certain specialist positions, especially strategist positions, depending on the district.

    I moved into a specialist position a few years ago because I was feeling a lot of burnout in the classroom and because I was feeling undervalued at the school I was at at the time. My new position is unique in that I sort of bridge the two worlds of classroom and non-classroom teaching. I get to work closely with students, but I don't deal too much with parents, grades, or many of the other burnout-inducing activities of the regular classroom. This year I offered to head up a special program, so I do have a roster of students who are assigned to my room everyday while they work mostly independently. I really love the setup I have going on here. For me, this position is perfect for now, and I can see it remaining so for a long time to come. An added bonus for me is that my position pays additional money for some special responsibilities. That money plus extra money for an extended day at my school is a hefty chunk of change. I actually earn more than my supervising administrator.
     
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  8. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Oct 10, 2017

    I left the classroom 5 years ago when I started my journey as a vice principal.

    Other than subbing when we're in dire straits, it is very seldom that I get to teach lessons in classrooms.

    The comment I get most often from teachers is, "I would never want your job!"
     
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  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Oct 10, 2017

    Are you glad you made the switch?
     
  10. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Most days, yes. :)
     
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  11. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Companion

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    Oct 10, 2017

    I don't think leadership in teaching means leaving the classroom. (I think having a formal title means leaving the classroom). I'd argue the opposite: that the best teacher leadership is exemplified by strong classroom teachers.

    I think you need to do what makes the most sense for you. Where are you going to be happier?
     
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  12. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    Oct 10, 2017

    I would stay hidden away in what the students at my school call "silver hall" (lots of gray hair) because that's where the administration offices are, and they tend to get promoted out of the trenches to make way for younger and more energetic teachers.

    Yesterday, I was walking the halls and saw something that was depressing. A teacher who came to us after retiring from his high school was reading out of a book in front of a small class of five students who were either playing with their phones or sleeping. Nobody was paying attention to him, and he wasn't paying attention to his sleeping beauties. The fact is that he just doesn't have the energy to be a teacher any more.

    If this doesn't apply to you, then great! However, keep in mind that this happens in lots of professions. People get promoted who have the experience necessary to help those who have the energy to do the job.

    Don't be like a 60 year old Sylvester Stallone in Rocky 10. You might miss hearing the bell and then slugging it out in the ring/classroom, but the shelf life of a good teacher is limited.

    Another thing to think about is that if you do decide to go back to teaching, you might not get the chance to return to administration.
     
  13. WarriorPrncss

    WarriorPrncss Companion

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    Oct 15, 2017

    If you have no interest in advancing, and you REALLY miss teaching--- go back to teaching. There's no shame in that-- teachers work SO hard, I don't see it as a step backward. You say you enjoy elements of your new position, but overall, which do you prefer?
     
  14. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Oct 15, 2017

    I say that about my principal's job often (we're too small for a VP). Never in a million years.

    I think if you feel that you're better suited to teaching, you should go back. It's great that you tried something else, and know you can do it, but also know where you're happiest. I don't see it as "advancement" exactly - they're really two different jobs altogether.

    One of my CTs during student teaching had been a VP and went back into the classroom because she liked it better. There are ways to lead while being a classroom teacher. Mentor new teachers or preservice teachers, serve on the leadership team at your school, pilot a new program, etc. Maybe you'd rather do something like that while still having your own class?
     

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