When the principal has a drinking problem

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I adore my principal, but he has a drinking problem that’s getting in the way of his ability to do his job. I want him to get help, but I don’t want to hurt his reputation by reporting him. I also don’t want to jeopardize my own career if he’s retaliatory. If he were my [...]

When a teacher’s behavior is erratic

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I’m an assistant principal, and one of the teachers I supervise is becoming a problem. He’s never been the most steady or organized teacher, but now he seems to have taken a nosedive. The kids go home and tell their parents that he can’t remember what he assigned, that he loses their papers and that [...]

Reining in helicopter parents

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I love parents, I really do. I’m a middle school English teacher, and my students do better when they go home to involved, caring parents. Except lately it seems like there are so many parents who have trouble knowing where their child’s life ends and their own begins. These are the parents who want [...]

Frat culture at school

Career|

Q: I’m a male head of school at a private, all-boys high school in New England. I haven’t been here very long, and this is my first time taking on this role. I’ve always worked at coed schools so I knew I might experience culture shock, but the differences go well beyond what I’d imagined. [...]

Crabby colleagues

Career|

Q: My school is full of chronic complainers, and it’s starting to get to me. I’m the principal, and all the gripes eventually make their way to me, usually secondhand. I even hear complaints about all the complaining! I try to set the tone — I’m positive and friendly, I clearly state our values, I [...]

The co-teacher is lazy!

Career|

Q: I’m an English teacher in an inclusion classroom. I co-teach with a special educator, Mike. I use the word “co-teach” loosely because I’m not sure he’s doing any teaching. I stand at the front of the room and do the heavy lifting. He’s like a bee buzzing around “pollinating the flowers.” He checks to [...]

My mentor is a bully

Career|

Q: I’m a graduate student in an education program, and I hope to be a middle school math teacher when I’m certified. As part of my program, I’m required to complete an internship with an experienced teacher. My university professor assigns work that I need to do in the school setting so I get “real [...]

Should teachers attend students’ after-school events?

Career|

Q: I’m a high school teacher. My principal wants us to attend students’ performances, plays, and games. He doesn’t force any of us to go, but he strongly encourages staff to attend. He acknowledges that it’s outside our duty day, but he believes that faculty should want to get involved in after-school events. I don’t [...]

Supporting or pushing?

Career|

Q: I’ve been a high school math department chair for three years. Erin has been one of our math teachers for 14 years. She’s excellent, but we’ve clashed from the start. When I bring up new ideas, she’s always the first to question me. She was passed over for my job, and I think it’s [...]

Managing up

Career|

Q: I’ve been a high school assistant principal for two years. I’ll be completely honest; I think I could do a better job running the school than Natalie, my principal, and I want her job. She’s indecisive, too soft, and low-energy. She delegates to the point that I feel like I’m doing her job anyway. [...]

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