5-3. THE FIRST-YEAR TEACHER AND THE SUPERVISION PROCESS (ISLLC STANDARD 2) You are a new principal. During your first summer, you hire five new teachers, due to retirements. Even though you always involve the appropriate division chairs and a teacher from the department, you sometimes wonder if they really take the hiring process seriously. Do the division chairs really feel responsible for the success of their staff? Your belief is that once the school hires a new teacher, there are a number of peo ple who must assume responsibility for that teacher’s success, especially during his or her first year of teaching in the school. The thought has crossed your mind that some of the division chairs seem to be more concerned about textbooks and curriculum than they are about the actual teaching and learning in their content areas. Recently you and the division chair for English, social studies, and foreign lan— guages, an English teacher, interviewed Laura Smith for the English teacher vacancy. Laura was not the most shining example of a new teacher, but she was better than the other candidates. After reaching consensus that she would be offered the job, you asked both the division chair and the English teacher to provide Laura with whatever support she needed during the first year. In accordance with the contract, the division chair is responsible for conducting the ﬁrst observations and evaluation, using a clinical supervision model consisting of a preconference, observation, and postconference. During this process, the division chair concludes that while Laura has some classroom management problems, she certainly is “coachable.” Relieved to hear this, you thank him for keeping you informed. It still is early in the school year, and you are trusting the division chair’s ability to work with Laura to ensure her success.A week later, however, your assistant principal notifies you that Laura Smith has been generating an inordinate number of discipline referrals. He further tells you that she still has not submitted her classroom management plan to his office, which is required of all teachers. When he asked her for the plan, she flatly refused. The assistant principal shared this information with the division chair, who assured the assistant principal that Laura was just jittery about her first year of teaching and that he would get her to comply with the request to submit her classroom manage ment plan. Upon hearing this information, you talk with Laura about the importance of hav— ing a classroom management plan that the assistant principal can use when supporting her discipline referrals. She agrees and says that she needs help developing a plan. You suggest that she work both with her division chair and the assistant principal. They will help her with the plan. You then follow up with a communication to them.Not hearing anything from either of them, you are confident that Laura must be working with her division chair and the assistant principal. Early in January, you invite Laura in to a preconference with her, prior to your ob servation. You ask her how things are going and how she is adjusting to the role of teacher. She assures you that everything is ﬁne and that she couldn’t be happier. When you broach the topic of classroom management, she explains that she misunderstood the expectation and that she will take care of it immediately. You then go into the normal preconference questions about lesson planning, the intent of the lesson you’re going to observe, where it falls in the scope and sequence of the course, if there’s any thing in particular that you should observe, and so on. During the actual classroom observation, you are disappointed with Laura’s inter action with the students. She has little control of the classroom, and there seems to be a mutual disrespect between teacher and students. You take copious notes so that you can share your observations with her. During the postconference, you ask Laura how she thought the lesson went. She responds that the lesson was very effective. You then ask her how she feels about her re lationship with the students. She explains that there are very snooty students in the high school, and she has never experienced anything like this in her student teaching and even in her own high school. In other words, she blames the students for every— thing. As you offer her suggestions about how to develop a working relationship with the students, she feigns interest, but it’s obvious to you that she is not going to take your suggestions seriously. She also indicates that the division chair agrees with her that the students are at fault.You then have a conference with the division chair. He sides with the teacher and asks for more time for her to acclimate to the school. You explain to him that you and he need to work together for the success of both the teacher and the students. He agrees wholeheartedly. One month later, the assistant principal again mentions that Laura’s discipline re— ferrals are consuming a lot of his time. He further explains that he is “up to his eyeballs in alligators” and she demands that he give her referrals a quicker response. According to him, Laura is not following her own classroom management plan, which makes it difficult for him to provide her support. You again meet with Laura and talk to her about how things are going, especially in the area of classroom management. She says everything is going well. You broach the topic of excessive referrals, and she again blames the kids and their lack of morals and manners. You set a date with her for the next preconference. During the preconference, you ask specific questions about students that she anticipates will upset the lesson. You ask her how she plans to engage them. She is completely oblivious to your questioning and asks if you are making excuses for the students’ lack of behavior. She then launches into blaming the assistant principal for not backing her up when she sends students to the office. You ask her how many students she sends to the office on a daily basis, and she admits that she typically sends at least two students to the office during each class period. You try to work with her about the reasons she sends the students to the office, what interventions she has tried, how many parent contacts she has made, and so on. Her response is that her job is to teach, not to discipline students. Regarding parent contacts, those are the responsibility of the assis tant principal, and not hers.At this point, you are very upset about her attitude and her lack of accepting re sponsibility. As calm and supportive as you try to be, she continues to argue and blame. Finally, you explain to her that your expectations are that teachers handle classroom management problems themselves and that only the serious infractions and multiple violations should be sent to the assistant principal. You again explain the importance of a classroom management plan that students and parents understand. During the next classroom observation, you see the same behavior as you did in the first observation. In other words, Laura has not taken any of your advice nor has she taken the advice of your assistant principal. Prior to the postconference, you explain to the division chair that you are not going to recommend Laura for continued employ ment next year. As a first-year teacher, she is not going to be renewed for next year. The division chair agrees with you that this is a good decision. You ask him not to mention this to her, as it is your job as principal to deliver such bad news. He again agrees. When you meet with Laura in the postconference and go through the usual ques tions of how she perceived the lesson, she begins to cry and to vent at you about how you haven’t supported her during her first year of teaching. She goes on to say that the division chair told her that you’re going to ﬁre her and that he doesn’t agree with your decision. You are surprised that the division chair has told her of your plans, especially since you asked him not to say anything to her about this. You attempt to do some dam age control with Laura by explaining that you have offered her many suggestions and that the assistant principal also has offered her many suggestions. You also explain that according to the contract, the division chair is the front-line person for support and that he has been keeping you apprised of her success or lack thereof. She calls you a liar and demands a meeting with you and the division chair. You explain that as a first-year teacher, she’s not even entitled to a reason for her lack of renewal and that you have gone way beyond the norm in explaining to her the reasons for her not being renewed. She bursts out of the office in an emotional state of crying and shouting at you.You sit there calming yourself and reflecting on what just happened. You wonder how you’re going to support her and her students during the next four months, until the end of the school year. Just then, the division chair appears at your door and asks why you treated Laura so rudely. You invite him into your office and attempt to explain the series of events, but he already has formed an opinion that you are completely at fault for this. When you remind him that he has not been entirely truthful with you about his observations of Laura, he becomes defensive, saying that you had determined when you first hired her that she wasn’t going to be successful. You listen patiently and then explain your disappointment in his role both as her immediate supervisor and as a team player, especially in the area of doing what his principal (you) asked him. You are referring to his telling her about your plan not to renew her contract. He admits that he shouldn’t have told her, but in light of how she alleged that you cruelly evaluated her, he had to provide her emotional support. 0 How would you deal with the first-year teacher? ° How would you deal with the division chair? Using a bulleted format, develop a plan of action in which you specifically address ISLLC Standard 2: An education leader promotes the success of every student by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.
Please respond to:
1. How would you effectively deal with the first-year teacher?
2. How would you effectively deal with the division chair?
Finally, using a bulleted format, develop a plan of action in which you specifically address ISLLC Standard 2: An education leader promotes the success of every student by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional development.