Teaching Smart vs. not LO13502

prkosuth (prkosuth@mychoice.net)
Mon, 05 May 97 22:03:51 PDT

[Arbitrarily linked to LO13499 by your host...]

Hi everyone:

It has been a long time since I have done any posting and I was off list
for a few months. It has been a crazy year, maybe they are all becoming
more alike.. I'm not sure.

As a brief re - intro: I am a 38 year old math and sciencce teacher at a
private school for kids (12-21) with learning disabilities. I am very
active in our strategiccc planning, I have had some training in systems,
customer satisfaction, and total quality. My degree work is in botany
(bachl and masters) and Math (bachl). I am very interested in chaos
theory, Buckminster Fuller and Logo programming. Last year I was elected
to be on our Board of Trusties and have assumed the role of the systems
and quality person on campus (error #1)

These past few weeks have been very frustrating for me. Ben and others
speek about working with other people who do not share the same mental
models or vision that you may. Alot of you seem to be in roles of
facilitator, mentor, or consultant. Though not outside of your respective
systems, you may be slightly outside of the subsystems you are working
with. My frustration deals with 2 of my immediate superiors: Exec Director
and Assist. Dir of the scchool. 90 % or more of the time things are great,
we are on similar wavelengths. Communication between different areas of
the school is problematic: admin to teacching staff to dorm staff to
student. Dispite talk to the contrary, from my perspective, we are pretty
heirarchal and not very systemic in what we do. WWe do alot of great
things with the kids, lots of energy (mainly) and you can really see
positive change and growth in our students academically, socially and

My frustration stems from what I think is a lack of real commitment to
systems analysis, confronting the statis quo and ccommiting to improving
the processes that we have created. I find this to be especcially true at
the admin level... the rub being that they talk the systems talk and
preach the systems word and may in fact feel that they are acting
systemically. So, I guess, my question is: how doees one go about working
for change in the layers above you in an org ? How do you get the admin to
walk the walk when they think that they are doing it ? I ccan work with
them to stucture activities, meetings, converstations on issues that are
more campus wide but on things closer to home it is hard. Last summer The
Assist Dir and I spent alot of time trying to map out the proccesses that
he was involved in. At the end , he just kinda shrugged and said (to the
effect).. "but I can't change any of it, that the nature of the beast, it
gives an appreciation of what is all involved."

For over 2 weeks, I have tried to get them to give me feedback on what to
pursue during the summer months. Out of the 5 admin members, I got 1
response from the Biz manager. Today the assist dir stated that he was too
busy today, that I needed to follow him around one day to see how busy he
was. This has made me pretty angry and frustrated.

In one of todays posts (in response to Ben Comptons postings) the writter
stated how this list was a great resourse and stress reliever. I'd like to
second that. Even though I rarely actively post, when it comes to learning
about organizations, this is my peer group. When I read posts, I see alot
of what happens here at school, I see people I work with, I see succcesses
we've had and problems that need solving. So thanks for the sanity. On
days I like to chuck the learning-org ideas, the systems theory, the
quality ideas, etc ----- put it in a box and drop it at someone elses door
-- I read some posts and get sane again.

To conclude my ramble:

how do I deal with the layer above when they think they are at the
place everyone else needs to be ?

how do I maintain the sanity when my primary process is 6 contact
hours per day of math and sci ? (actually I have 1 hour 45 min on Wed to
work on quality, curriculum ,teams or development. YIKES !)

I hope I wasn't too silly with this post but its beeen building up for

Paul K

Brehm Preparatory School
Carbondale IL


"prkosuth" <prkosuth@mychoice.net>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>