When Teachers Talk vs What Teachers Want

Okay, I’ve changed the informal name of my dissertation from “When Teachers Talk” to “What Teachers Want.” During my MEA presentation, I discovered that there was already a book called When Teachers Talk: Principal Abuse of Teachers / The Untold Story (Rosalyn Susanne Schnall, 2009).  Read this description from Amazon:

Principal abuse of power and principal abuse of teachers, which has been clearly documented by teachers in this book, may very well be the most significant underlying cause contributing to the decline of public education in America today. Abusive and incompetent public school administrators who treat teachers with anything less than the dignity and respect they deserve do so at the direct expense of teachers, their student populations, and the communities in which they reside. Throughout the interviews in this book, teachers give detailed accounts of how principals do not provide them with the administrative support needed to effectively teach and maintain discipline in their classrooms. They explain how they have been prevented from functioning optimally and how their best efforts to help their students have been frustrated. The inevitable results are dysfunctional, permissive, non-disciplinary school environments which produce a steady stream of students who leave school and enter mainstream society totally unequipped to take on the responsibilities of functioning adults.

I wish I’d found this book when I was doing my research. I thought that I had done a thorough research, but somehow this book title escaped my searches. If I had found it, I would have used it as a reference for what some teachers say is wrong with our schools. And my research could have served as the antidote.

So…after much thought, I’ve come to realize that my research was not just “When Teachers Talk.” Asking teachers the question “What did you experience?” is very powerful. My experience as union rep and HR director showed me that teachers flat out struggle. And they don’t struggle from teaching and not knowing how to teach. They struggle from lack of direction, overburdening mandates from the district office, lack of student supports, too little and/or too much parental involvement, and fatigue. My research could better be summed up: When Teachers Talk…This is What They Told Me that They Want. So I’m going to informally rename my research simply: “What Teachers Want.”


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