Go ahead. Google the phrase “What is best for kids.” You will get a long list of sites, blogs and information for administrators. One of my favorite people to follow on Twitter is even listed on the first page- so I don’t mean to present this as a completely negative outcome.
My point is this: What is actually meant when administrators use the phrase “What is best for kids”?
On a day that teachers are attending building opening meetings, it seems to be the top catch phrase.
I understand that for some situations, it may be said in an effort to make some hard choices, or to get outside of our own egos, comfortable spaces, old habits and fixed Mindsets.
But does it carry an implied message? When it follows new procedures, policies, or assignment changes, it can feel manipulative, subversive, or at best, condescending.
This last year I was shifted from my role teaching 7th grade English/Accelerated English to a schedule with three different Reading classes and three regular English classes. This shift also included being moved “off-team” from three fantastic educators that I worked with very well.
When I asked for reasons for this shift, it came down to the need to fill positions with people that were “highly qualified” and this included moving a 9th grade teacher into 7th grade classes. This teacher was adamant about not wanting to teach 7th grade. She felt she was not a good fit with the – let’s say- energy level of that age group.
The solution was to put her “on-team” where she would have “support.”
This move was filed under the phrase: We believe this is what is best for kids.
I am incredibly grateful to have had the summer for reflection and “silver lining” finding, however, I still chew on this phrase.
From my perspective, “what is best for kids” would be access to a teacher passionate about teaching the writing skills assigned to the 7th grade English curriculum. A teacher who thoroughly enjoys the transformation of student during the 7th grade year from children to young adults. A teacher who works well with the teachers of the other subjects and meets on a daily basis.
Is this the whole picture? No. It’s my perspective. Could there be more to it? Certainly. Are kids really going to be traumatized by this decision? Doubtful.
I welcome and appreciate the opportunity to grow from this new challenge, as is the new 7th grade English teacher. We can’t change our situation, but we CAN change out attitudes.
I continue to hear “What is best for kids” as the final line from administration.
I would appreciate if ownership was taken that it is THEIR VIEW of “what is best for kids.” I have wondered, “Why don’t they realize that is EXACTLY what I’m trying to do?”
Let’s talk. Let’s drop the lines that can imply a lack of effort, caring, intelligence and, especially, professionalism: what’s best for kids, just use common sense, etc.