My classroom is very close to one of those hard to see back doors.  Its also directly across from the loading dock and kitchen.  Sort of a scary location.

We’ve all gotten into the habit of keeping our classroom doors locked. The principal gave us magnets to put over the locks so that the kids can come in and out. The idea is that in the event of an intruder, we slide the magnet off and quickly shut the door. Much safer, easier and quicker than digging for our keys and locking the door from the outside.

I even went online and bought myself and my grade level team better magnets. Safer ones that work more consistently.

I take this very seriously.

I’m only afraid of a few things in this life. Big spiders with hairy legs are one. Bad guys with guns are another.

Yesterday I discovered another, more positive use for the locked door.

After a meeting with an administrator who reprimanded me for being “hostile” at a staff meeting, my sadness and frustration were overwhelming. I hadn’t even been the one to say the comment that he was referring to. I hadn’t said half of what he thought came from me.  When I pointed that out, and mentioned how hard it is to work for people who don’t respect me, know me or like me, I was in tears.

I’m not a calm woman at my best times. I’m an emotional Italian.

Its why I’m so good with kids. I connect. I emote.

Its my I’m so bad with controlling administrators.

For sixteen years I worked in a school where teachers’ voices were sought out and respected and valued.  I was praised by my principals (three of them) for speaking up and being an advocate for my colleagues and my students. I have letters and cards from those principals posted by my desk!

Now, though, I work for two men who don’t take the time to even know what it is that I do.  They are convinced that I am “hostile” when I ask about the need to be further trained in a program that I already largely employ.

I don’t use any “program” or “boxed kit” in its entirety.  NO GOOD teacher does! We improvise, we adopt different parts, we make the teaching fit the children in front of us.

Now I work for people who haven’t ever once asked me to share my knowledge, my experiences, my thoughts, my ideas or my feelings about anything.  They want to me just drink the Cool Aid and go with the flow. They want me to shut up and follow orders.

So I’ve found a new use for the locked door.

Starting Monday, the magnet will stay in my drawer, the door will stay locked, and if one of those buffoons knocks, I’m going to ask, “What’s the password?”


8 responses to this post.

  1. Good for you, Mom!

    BTW: In my short life I’ve noticed that people who don’t ask for input are always people who don’t know what they are doing and are afraid they’ll be “found out” if someone else speaks up. I know that doesn’t help your situation, but it might at least give you a bit of satisfaction to know that your bosses aren’t being superior about their knowledge, but rather are being scared to death by yours…


  2. Posted by Kat on November 8, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I agree with zorbear, and I feel for you! Those in “leadership” roles should be supporting you, NOT being condescending! So, a woman has a strong valid viewpoint and we’re labeled “hostile”? ugh. I’ve noticed that most of the people in controlling, policy-making positions (in my case, deans, VPs, and Pres) have very little or no teaching experience. It grates on my nerves when some ladder climber, 16 years younger than me and suddenly the dean, tries to tell me how to teach. I was on her damn hiring and tenure committees when she started as a teacher just 5 years ago for goodness sake! Lock your doors literally but more importantly, metaphorically.

    Sorry for my rant… your post really struck a nerve, I guess. You’re not alone.


  3. Struck a nerve with me too. Anyone who has dealt with an awful principal can relate.


  4. I wish they would just leave you alone and let you teach.


  5. Posted by 2old2tch on November 8, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    “I don’t use any “program” or “boxed kit” in its entirety. NO GOOD teacher does! We improvise, we adopt different parts, we make the teaching fit the children in front of us.”

    That’s what I thought until not following a program “with fidelity” was used as an excuse to let me go. It was an excuse; they were cutting provisional teachers as they got close to tenure time so they could start over with people at the bottom of the salary scale.


    • Oh, good Lord…….
      I have had tenure for many many years now, and am a “teacher in good standing” based on 21 years of observations and evaluations. Still, I am feeling the pressure to get on with it and retire. So sad! Because I really am a very good teacher.


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