Since so many teaching blogs are filled to overflowing with (valid) gripes about administrators, it was refreshing to see Mr. AB, a Teach for America educator from California, lavish what sounds like equally well-deserved praise on his principal.
R--- is an almost daily helping presence in my practice: mediating conferences with behavior problems, making parent phone calls in Spanish, translating letters home, providing needed materials, observing in and offering constructive feedback on my classroom. It wasn’t until I discussed R--- with my mother and with other teachers that I realized how exceptional he is in this respect. My first year, he was an almost daily presence in my class, even after it became clear that I was not among the teachers most in need of his intervention. In particular, his help was invaluable as I struggled with an Emotionally Disturbed girl last year. He mediated conferences, made phone calls, observed in class, or provided the girl with a time-out at least two or three times a week for the entire year.
Along with being supportive, Mr. AB gives his principal high marks for allowing teachers flexibility in what they teach, his willingness to solicit teacher input, and his ability to validate their efforts. Small wonder, then, that the principal will henceforth be known, at least on Mr. AB's blog, simply as "the Man."