Adventures on “The Dark Side”

I’m embarking on something new. On a good day I think of it as an adventure, and anthropological exploration. On the bad days…

I’m in a program to get my principal’s licensure. It’s what you do if you want to be an administrator. I don’t necessarily want to be an administrator. I have other reasons for doing this. I’ll explain them at a later date. It just started last week. I did homework for the firs time in a long time this weekend. The meta commentary on teaching in my head was fascinating. I’m sure I’ll have more to say going forward.

But, to the title of this post. Several times now people have made the comment “ah, you’re going to the dark side.” It’s an interesting comment. Why do we think of it that way? Why do we imagine working in that part of the education is inherently oppositional? Why is it that teachers see administrators that way. We have some good administrators in my building. I’m grateful every day for that. I don’t envy them their jobs.

We have had some truly awful administrators in the past. I have never talked to a teacher who didn’t have a story about a bad administrator. But I also have never talked to a teacher who would not wax rhapsodic about a good administrator. So why the ‘dark side’ characterization?

That’s why I used the word ‘anthropological.’ I am (as you should gather from the blog) really interested in systems, how they work, and how systemic factors play out at different scales. How do these decisions get made? Why do teachers tend to react to them so negatively (I don’t know any teachers who speak fondly of their district administration- even if they would speak positively about particular administrators).

So that’s really interesting. I think if we want to effect positive change, that lasts and is meaningful, then the oppositional dynamic is probably where we need to start. I want to know what causes that. One way is to explore how administrators are made. I feel sort of like George Plimpton as he researched Paper Lion.

I’ll probably get cut before the first exhibition game, but it’ll make a great story.  Stay tuned…

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One Response to Adventures on “The Dark Side”

  1. Pingback: I’m Baaaaaaaaaaaack… | The Paper Graders

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