Through a Twitter conversation, someone brought up an interesting analogy on how administrators should be the “offensive line for their staff”, blocking distractions and unnecessary “stuff” that takes away from great teaching and learning. I loved the analogy, and really thought about how administrators need to be seen as those that do whatever they can to ensure teachers are successful so that their students can amazing learning opportunities.
Yet from many conversations and observations, it seems the opposite. With technology, teachers seems to be jumping through hoops, having decisions made for them without their input on experience being utilized. It seems that the “offensive line” concept is not protecting teachers, but sometimes blocking them from great opportunities.
For example, if you want teachers to use social media, how would a 50 page document sharing the guidelines actually help them? With every page that is turned, you lose teachers who just see that it is not worth it to go through all of the roadblocks to even start. Or the computer that takes “only two minutes” to log on because of network protocols. Yet two minutes, times 30 kids, can be an eternity, especially if one of those computers doesn’t work as expected.
With every page, every policy, every filter, many teachers just choose to do what they have always done and do not see it is worth the time to do something new. We encourage “risk-taking” yet we have created such a risk averse culture in education. We can say “take risks” all we want, but actions will always be louder than words.
So if administrators are the “offensive live”, we need to make sure that we are blocking for the right team. Otherwise, we can only blame ourselves for not moving forward.
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