SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: On Being an Assistant Principal

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

On Being an Assistant Principal

When I first started teaching the school's AP was a woman who had been in education her entire life. She was an expert in the field of education as were most every AP's I had come into contact with. Mrs F knew the curriculum like the back of her hand. When somebody needed a question answered about best practices in the classroom there was no better person than to mine her knowledge. She had a knack for handling the students and the staff and never once thought of herself. It was the school and the community that came first. Same with a very close family member of mine. This family member not only taught reading at local colleges, but lectured at conferences not only in the United States but abroad as well. They were leaders in their fields. Like a good sergeant these old school AP's knew how to lead. But what are the qualifications for being an AP now? Money and a piece of paper. That is it.

The AP's I have come across lately, not only in my school, but others lack any knowledge of curriculum, are not experts in their fields, and have no idea how to lead staff or students. I mean gee, the way it is done now all it takes is signing up for classes for your admin license, writing a check, getting a favorable principal where you can do your internship, and presto! You are now an AP. Oops forgot one more qualification. And it is a biggie A minimum five years in the system. WHOA!

An AP I know quite well, in a school other than mine, can't for the life of him write or speak English ( and no, his first language is not Spanish), is an alcoholic, and spends his days on his computer checking out stock tips, soccer scores, and God knows what else. One rumor I heard and though I can't prove it, but it is pretty credible is that someone other than him did his course work for him at Fordham. Oh just an aside here to my loyal followers. I only speak in fact. Everything I report is true. That is except the names have been changed. Oh and one more thing. If I report a rumor, something that I am unable to verify chances are there is some truth to it. My sources are always very credible, and besides I will always qualify it as rumor. However I have digressed.

The AP's in my school, I do not know what to say. One AP has never succeeded in any position in the school previously. The other well, how do I say this. The other AP is just clueless. No knowledge of the curriculum, no knowledge in discipline, no knowledge in leadership, no knowledge period. In fact this basically describes both of them. They both do not want to get their hands dirty, they both want to pawn of responsibility they should have on others, and both have no self respect. In fact the teachers do not take them seriously at all as educators. One of the AP's could not run something as simple as a third grade lunch duty. I mean how difficult can that be? One has to wonder if this AP is being effective when the 3rd grade boys are saying that the AP is too soft and too nice, and that nothing he says they take seriously. There is a serious problem there if this is what 9 year olds perceive!!!

Where are the standards? What are the standards? Why aren't there standards. Too many Tom Harry and DICKS are getting to be AP.

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