Teachers Don’t Need Practice Management… or so they think

(This is a composite of responses I hear from teachers whenever I bring up the subject of delivering practice management to teachers. And by practice management, I do not mean classroom management. I mean having every teacher treat his or her classroom as their own private practice, which is what they are – practices.)

Teachers believe they do not need ‘practice management’ for several reasons:

  1. “We are not in business. We are professionals who happen to work in a classroom and don’t have practices. Maybe doctors, lawyers, accountants who are running their own businesses need practice management, but since we do not have our own offices, we don’t need more practice management. (Teachers confuse “professional development” with practice management. They are night and day. Additionally, a practice is defined as, “anywhere a graduate of professional studies is required to extend knowledge and skills, while gaining experience within a practical environment.” Sure sounds like school to me – minus the secretary and the big cushy office chair.)
  2. “Every teacher has their ‘own way’ of teaching.” (True, but we are talking about managing our practices, not teaching? Don’t confuse these terms. That is why we are being micromanaged today.)
  3. “During the course of every school year we are given “professional development” – much of which covers more PD that we can ever use,  including help with: student behavior, lesson planning, and more.” (The reality is that most teachers come away from this professional development time believing that this time is somewhat – poorly utilized – and could have been made much better use of.)
  4. “We are teachers. We have gone through school to learn the necessary information needed to be knowledgeable enough to teach our students. We have been taught plenty of classroom management in college. This training was required to obtain our Masters in Education.” (My ribs are hurting – from laughing/ crying – over this one. Please tell that to the education math professor who told my wife that elementary students shouldn’t be made to do fractions because fractions confuse little kids.)
  5. “If we (especially us new teachers) need advice, we can easily enough go to our coaches and mentors if we need any advice and direction. They will tell us what we are doing wrong, so why would we need a practice management “consultant?” (In reality, teachers are coming away from coaching and mentoring feeling deflated and as if all they were taught was for naught. This is the difference between practice management and coaching; coaches work with the practice of teaching – often micromanaging the “do now” to death – where practice management consultants deal solely with the practice management of your classroom. These are two very different issues)

Allow me to play Devil’s advocate for a moment. If all these teacher statements are true, one might then be hard pressed to explain why we are plagued by many of the problems we are experiencing in our schools today such as:

  • low graduation rate
  • poor classroom behavior
  • low standardized test scores

So where does this leave us? What corrective measures are being currently implemented or can be taken in the future to remedy these maladies? Well, since I opened the can mentioning/coaching intervention via practice management let’s see what type of service I think a practice management consultant could provide today’s teachers. Read on.

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