I also realized that even though I encourage people to read blogs about education and follow many of them, most of them are written by other teachers or even reporters. I read one blog, Principal’s Page – The Blog, written by Michael Smith who is a Superintendent which I thoroughly enjoy sharing with my husband. It is interesting to see the school system from an administrator’s point of view. Yet, I don’t know of any school board members who blog, until now.
After reading Fred Deutsch’s post, Education Week takes a Slap at School Boards,
I began to think about the relationship between teachers and school board members. He states,
“There are good and bad folks in every line of work, including those that serve on school boards. The truth is it burns my butt when I see school board member that aren’t doing what they were elected to do. Our work is just too damn important! But those board members are few and far between in my experience. When I go to state or national meetings, I talk with school board members that are concerned, energized and passionate about education. It’s rare that I meet a school board member that isn’t.
The most significant challenge for national and state school board associations, in my opinion, is to do a better job in getting the word out about the “job requirements” of a school board member, and the important relationship between what we do in the board room, and academic achievement in the classroom. We have to do a better job in getting the word out that serving on a school board is richly rewarding.”
When I was a teacher, I thought of the school board as “them” and teachers as “us.” I never had any contact with my school board members and didn’t even think about them much unless we were given policies that we hated. I hate to admit that I did not attend many school board meetings in my whole career and wasn’t really encouraged to do so by my administrators. I couldn’t even tell you who the school board members were or who represented my district!
Even though Mr. Deutsch feels that the school board should inform the public better about what their job descriptions are, I feel it is important for teachers to be responsible in seeking out this information rather than waiting for it to be handed to them. If I could go back in time, I would definitely take a more active role in staying involved with the school board. Having a relationship with the school board would be a great way to share your beliefs as well as helping them make informed, positive decisions that impact the classroom.
Here are some suggestions that I thought would be helpful for teachers and school board members. Developing a relationship with the school board member could be so beneficial towards helping our students become successful in the classroom.
1. Teachers should know the person who represents the district they live in. Share this information with your students so they see you as a role model. Help them see who their school board member is.
2. Teachers should know the names of all of the school board members and have their contact information.
3. Teachers should attend a school board meeting as much as possible. They might be making decisions that impact your classroom and you should know what is going on.
4. Teachers should know and understand the issues that are coming before the school board.
5. Teachers should invite school board members to their classrooms, especially if you have a special lesson going on. They might not be able to attend but I’m sure they would appreciate the invitation.
6. If there is a special issue that you feel strongly about, call or email your school board member and tell them about it. They may not have any one who is giving them input from your point of view.
7. Contact your school board member and give them your contact information in case they have a question or if they want to know how you feel about a specific issue.
If you know of any other ways to help build a relationship with the school, please share. I really feel that developing a relationship with the school board is important and wish someone would have encouraged me when I started teaching.
Original image: 'final exam' http://www.flickr.com/photos/34017702@N00/74907741 by: John