Question Detail

Playing with the hand you've been dealt...

Jun 4, 2013 11:05pm

This question is designed for my MAT 5320 students (Univ. of Central Arkansas) but anyone is invited to share his or her thoughts!

Specifically, how can a teacher assert himself or herself in establishing a positive culture of respect and learning in a school that (unfortunately) has apathetic, belligerent, or an otherwise incompetent administration?

  • Pre K-12
  • Class Culture


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    • Jun 7, 2013 11:14am

      As a teacher, or any professional, you have to be the change you want to see. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but it's true. Often when administrators are apathetic, it's because there have tried to make changes and innovate and there weren't teachers are board. If you, as a teacher, start to innovate, and student achievement increases, you'll have administration on board. Also, I have so much faith in the teaching profession and believe that most teachers want to do the right things for kids, but sometimes don't do everything they can because of lack of time or collaboration. In my own experience, if I get excited about changing culture and start to make changes and encourage others to get on board, they tend to follow. Teachers and admin are in it for the right reasons - help them to remember that.

      Katie (@KatieNovakUDL)

      • Oct 24, 2013 4:11pm

        A few years ago I heard a story on the radio about a noted professor who claimed a person could learn every important life lesson by playing Texas Hold-em. I was shocked. I didn't even know how to play poker. I began to wonder about the comment. I got someone to teach me how to play and I started to play with students. They were volunteers from after school detention.

        Some might object because having fun instead of being punished sends the wrong message about unwanted behavior. My goal however was change, so I needed willing participants. I always asked the students to think about the life lessons as we played. The most important one was stated thus. In life as in poker you might not be dealt a good hand, but if you play it smart, you can still win. That opened up a conversation about how one might play a weak hand in poker or in life.

        I think it is more important to provide a memorable learning experience than merely try to bring about change using the old fashioned behavior modification carrot stick approach.

        • Oct 27, 2013 11:08pm

          In an apathetic environment, one teacher that has the passion for teaching and leadership can aid or support others in a simple task or to view things in a different perspective. A teacher can assert him or herself by showing control in their behaviors. In an environment where the administration is incompetent, the traits of a true teacher (leader) have to be strong such as the charisma, vision, values and goals. At the beginning of your career, class, or a new job you have to make sure to show respect to others, learn on how to approach situations that are under our control or not and show the importance of been positive. For example, what type of commentaries you make? Are they positive or negative? How you handle yourself with negative discussion or commentaries with the administration or staff. The main focus should be your lesson and class by leading through your own example. In a classroom environment each teacher should set expectations and goals for the class, this will show the students that you are prepared for your lesson. An organized plan and a controlled environment will show your leadership traits as a teacher and will lead to respect.

          • Jun 22, 2013 8:18pm

            As a teacher remember your thoughts, actions, and words are very powerful. You will find your desires and positive action will eventually cause others around you to want to change also. Remember the farmer once he plants his seed does not expect a full grown crop the next morning, but he does tend it lovingly until it is harvest time. Keep watching over the seeds you are planting in your students and colleagues. Someone else may water the garden but those seeds will come up. If you want change then change.

            • Oct 24, 2013 7:22pm

              As I was reading the previous comments, Katie Novak pin pointed the answer when she stated “you have to be the change you want to see”. You must be in control of your classroom and set the example that you see best fit. Most of all, your responsibility lies with the helping the students and the only way you are going to be able to do that is if you make them your main focus. You may not be able to control what the administration or other teachers do, but if they see something “working” in your classroom they might be more likely to listen to what you suggestions you may have.

              • Jun 21, 2014 6:37pm

                It is important to remember we are all in this job for the kids. While some may have forgotten, you have to be the type of teacher you wanted to be when you set out to do have this career and remember, you are only responsible for your own behavior. Regardless of the administration or "negative Nancy" teachers, you are still responsible for what goes on in your classroom. Remember the movie "Stand and Deliver?" Jaime Escalante is the perfect example of a teacher persevering when the students have no motivation and the administration no longer cares. Modeling the behavior we want to see in our students is where it starts. Kids are smarter than some give them credit for. Students know when a teacher doesn't care. They know which teachers give grades and which teachers make them earn their grades. Deciding to be the teacher that promotes good behavior, encourages students to be successful and truly cares about the kids is the teacher I plan to be no matter what. If we take a step back and remember to do this for the kids, other teachers will hopefully catch on and so will the administration. While it may not work for all, you could inspire a frustrated teacher to get back in their groove.

                • Sep 7, 2014 2:44pm

                  I believe that regardless of the quality of the administration, a teacher has the opportunity to model a culture of respect and responsibility in her classroom. Even if the administration is apathetic, belligerent and/or incompetent, teachers within the district have the ability to choose whether or not to reflect this attitude this attitude in her classroom. At the beginning of the school year, the teacher needs to teach and model her classroom rules and procedures, and this will set the tone for the classroom environment. Students will soon realize that even if certain members of the administration are not mature and responsible that their teacher is, and they will realize that certain behaviors will not be tolerated within their classroom. Teachers should not have to alter or lower their standards if their administration is not competent. Teachers have the opportunity and responsibility to set a positive example for students and this should not be compromised in the event that a teacher works for an incompetent administration.

                  • Oct 25, 2014 2:37pm

                    While we work under the administration, we are working for the children and for their benefit. It is important for us, as future/current educators, to not grow weary when others are. We must constantly remind ourselves that we are in it for the students and the students deserve the very best we have to offer. We do not always know what changes administration has tried to enforce in the past but couldn't, so now they have given up. Sometimes, the changes must start small. We must model a positive and inviting classroom culture and "show" administration what it is like to be the best we can be for our students. We can try to motivate and remind them of the importance of the students by our actions. If we cannot do this, then perhaps, we could have a conversation with them about changes we wish to see in the future. if that does not work, then we must not grow weary. We must keep on keeping on because like I said, it is for the benefit of the students, not for us and not for the administration.

                    • Oct 30, 2014 12:59am

                      I believe that teachers should be committed to their students; it is their job to motivate, inspire, encourage, praise, and support students. Teachers should create a classroom where students love coming to every day and where they feel protected. I read an article by Pam Berry ( that stated a positive culture must be intentional: “A positive culture is an intentional way of supporting all people within our communities that focuses on creating healthy relationships and acknowledging the unique gifts that each brings to those relationships.” Teachers have to choose their own actions and not be controlled by administration. Students have the right to learn and to be treated respectfully, regardless of their background, religion, social economics, sexual orientation, etc.

                      I am not allowed to talk about Jesus in a public school. However, I can still live my faith. I may not be able to pray with my students, but my actions should be the same. As a teacher, I may have administration that does not share my beliefs, but I can still show my students unconditional acceptance and encouragement. I should treat all people with dignity and respect, regardless of what my “employer” does.

                      • Sep 4, 2013 1:22pm

                        Using this link as my reference a positive classroom doesn't just happen. A teacher has to be willing to build the positiveness all through the year. A teacher cannot control what is happening in administration, her kids don't care, her kids' parents don't care. A teacher must be willing to get know each of her students and their parents. She must do this every single year. If she does, then these students will return the favor by coming for a visit in later years. A teacher should make sure that the students of her class create positive relationships with each other. What is happening in administration or not happening should not effect what is happening inside the classroom. Control what you can control. Eventually the administration will change or the teacher can change to a new school.

                        • Oct 17, 2013 5:25pm

                          As with any job in life you have to take responsibility for yourself to do your job to the best of your ability. In my opinion, to be a teacher you must have a passionate heart of giving yourself to your students. The ultimate goal is to help a student gain knowledge. You have to teach from your heart. Create a positive environment in your classroom by showing your students that they are your priority. By doing this a culture of respect is sure to follow.

                          • Oct 18, 2013 10:42am

                            I believe it's all about taking ownership of your work. Wherever you are, you are responsible for what you bring to the table. As a teacher, I think you are responsible for your classroom and the students who are in that classroom. You can't control their environments outside, but when they are in class you are responsible for whatever happens there. If the "school rules" are too ridiculous and you're simply unable to have a positive classroom within that school, leave. If it's not to that point yet then you should be able to establish a positive culture of respect and learning just like you would in any other school.

                            Set specific and fair procedures and consequences and respect yourself and your students. If nothing will happen if you send a student to the office, don't send him to the office. It will take more effort, but coming up with consequences that can be carried out in class or in class detention before school or at lunch will have to work for you. Take ownership.

                            • Oct 18, 2013 2:45pm

                              Respect is a two way street. If I as a teacher demand respect in my classroom, then I better be demonstrating respect to my fellow staff members, students, and community in general. It is going to be extremely difficult to change the overall, apathetic culture of a school, let alone a district. A good teacher should focus on his/her classroom. I truly believe that a well-rounded, respectful classroom will begin to leak into other classrooms. Students will begin to brag to their friends, parents, and other teachers about how amazing and different this one class is from all the others. Obviously, a teacher should remain in the school district's policies, but at the same time, strive to challenge the minds of their students and do the best they possible can in their own situation.

                              • Oct 20, 2013 8:24pm

                                In a school where the administration is apathetic, a single teacher can still develop a positive culture of respect and learning in their own classroom, by developing a set of rules and enforcing them consistently. The teacher has the ability to develop a positive atmosphere in their own classroom by developing good rapport with their students. It is important for the teacher to get to know each student in their classroom. Once the teacher has developed a positive learning environment with respect, that environment will begin to spill out into the rest of the school. Students need structure because it allows them to feel safe and secure. After this positive environment has been created, the students will begin to be more productive and the administration will see these results and eventually get on board.

                                • Oct 22, 2013 1:46pm

                                  In dilapidated schools with incompetent and apathetic administrations then teacher his/her self is at the forefront of establishing an atmosphere of learning in order to make an impact on their students. This begins with communication. Communication will be more effective to the degree of how well the teacher deeply knows, feels and does. This means really knowing the students, which in means spending time and knowing them as a person outside the walls of the classroom, the student needs to know that the teacher cares about them. A breakdown in this will discontinue the teaching process. All learning is geared toward change, and needs to be motivated by student needs. In order to be a person of impact, a teacher must know his/her students and earn the right to be heard. Then that educator will be on the road to changing lives and making a difference.

                                  • Oct 22, 2013 6:53pm

                                    For me, this is one of the most critical parts of classroom management. From the first day of school, I made it clear to my students that I have exceptionally high standards of behavior in my classroom. This made the first two weeks difficult for me, as I had to follow through with consequences even when I didn't want to. However, my students now know that when they cross the threshold of my classroom door, they are under my rules and procedures, and I don't care what other teachers allow them to do or say. I have even begun to hear students quietly correct another student by saying "You've crossed the threshold, man/dude/bud, you can't do that in here." I had to get creative with my rewards, as I am bound to a lengthy but inadequate (and silly, to be frank) discipline system that is no better than a slap on the wrist for bad behavior. (After reaching Step 6 of 6 for bad behavior, students receive a verbal warning from the office.)

                                    This is something I truly struggle with, as our district has very lax consequences and therefore my school has some very serious behavior issues. However, I am firm with my students and I believe that my consistency has built an environment where students know what to expect within the four walls of our classroom, no matter what goes on in the rest of the school.

                                    • Oct 23, 2013 1:06pm

                                      This is seen all of the time. There are many teachers that have a positive classroom, which is contrary to the negative administration. This just goes to show that a light can shine bright even in darkness. It is important that teachers focus on what they have control over, which is their own classroom. Sometimes teachers get caught up in the politics of the school or the negativity surrounding the administration and this can bring them down. Teachers are in their teaching job to make a difference in the lives and learning of the students so that needs to be their focus. With this being said, teachers must not talk negatively about the administration to students or parents. Negative talk can spread and damage the overall morale of a classroom or student. Whereas, teachers could make sure to make their talk positive in order to keep the students and the classroom in an overall positive state.

                                      • Oct 23, 2013 2:23pm

                                        I believe that teachers have control of the classroom environment. Although teachers must follow school guidelines within these classrooms, the mood and knowledge that comes into the classroom is completely in the hands of the teacher. Although an incompetent administration is unfortunate, I believe that it is up to the teachers to do their best to block this out and focus on their students. If the teacher has the knowledge and attitude necessary for being a good teacher, then the success of his or her class will not depend on these other factors. Even if the teacher is unhappy with the environment of the school and the administration he or she must be sure to keep these feelings out of the classroom and not let the students get that vibe. I believe that if a teacher brings positive things and lots of knowledge to the classroom, students will be excited about learning and in the end will be successful.

                                        • Oct 23, 2013 3:24pm

                                          The phrase that came to mind immediately when I read the question was "Monkey See, Monkey Do." I believe that leading by example is the best way to establish a positive culture. From teachers to business CEOs to parents to Religious leaders to government leaders - it is crucial to lead by example. By saying this, I am also saying that a TON of effort is required by said teacher. If a teacher is willing to stand strong for how he or she feels then through impacting students, parents, and the community on purpose and just through daily activities, it could make a difference. Imagine a teacher who has kids and his/her daily life and people they run into and influence:

                                          1) daycare for children- the teacher can impact several people who would understand here.
                                          2)gas station- random conversation with someone at the pump?
                                          3)school- other teachers and administration
                                          4)lunch- sit down to lunch with friends who also have children
                                          5)after school activities- other children's parents

                                          You can see here how many people one person can influence just in one day's time. Maybe that effort would get back to administration from the community and make a difference.

                                          • Oct 23, 2013 8:30pm

                                            The good thing is the teacher sees the students on a regular basis and can stay focused on serving the classroom and not necessarily serving the school. While support from the administration would certainly be helpful the day will go on without it. Students see what is fair and they respect educators who are "real" with them. This comes from building a rapport with the students and being consistent in discipline and routine of the classroom setting. I was told once that a good teacher can modify and adjust to any situation that occurs. Working under an undesirable principal could be compared to a family who's father of the home is less than ideal or not present. The family would be more productive if dad was involved, but mom complaining won't solve the problem...the job must go on to the best of her ability.

                                            • Oct 24, 2013 8:11pm

                                              As a teacher, you are responsible for your classroom and making sure you create a positive learning environment. Make sure your students know your expectations for them, and treat them with respect. If you treat them with respect, they will respect you. I'm sure working in a school with an incompetent administration is terrible, but you just have to make the best of your time there. You can't control the administration but you can control your classroom so that's all you can worry about.

                                              • Oct 24, 2013 9:06pm

                                                Maybe I'm being naive, but I think that surely day-to-day classroom operation can be successful regardless of administration attitude or competence. I can imagine some "worst-case" scenarios in which administrators are generally hostile to the teaching staff, refusing to be flexible and making it difficult to effectively do our jobs; however, it's hard to believe that it's common for administration to be so inept as to make it impossible to still do one's best and succeed. Inept or belligerent administration should be seen as yet another challenge we as teachers have to face. With research, planning, and as much tact as we can muster, surely administration problems can be minimized if not eliminated.

                                                "Tact" is an important thing to think about. As excited and full of ideas as we may be, we need to be sensitive to co-workers who might be used to doing things in a certain way, and we need to understand that sometimes it's best to bide time and "pay our dues". Gather flies with honey: a thoughtful, polite, and above all patient person is a person other people wants to listen to.

                                                • Oct 24, 2013 8:31pm

                                                  Most people become teachers because they have a passion for teaching and helping children. If you have to work under a difficult administration, then you should just focus on that passion in your classroom to make it the best that it can be. If you shine in your classroom, and the students in your classroom shine, then it may radiate throughout the school. In a book that I read for a different class, there were a lot of instances where the author described situations with bad administrators. I immediately started fretting about how I would handle a problematic administration. After hearing another classmate’s view, I realized that instead of worrying about how I would handle a bad administrator, I should focus on how I could be that one teacher that can change the whole school. Obviously, this doesn’t always happen, but it can. If you work at being the best teacher that you can possibly be, then everything else should fall into place.

                                                  • Oct 24, 2013 10:25pm

                                                    First off, you treat others the way you want to be treated. If you want to be treated with respect and kindness, you must treat them the exact same in return. It is the teacher’s job to set the rules and procedures to create a positive learning environment. Students will not understand what is going on with the administrators if they are unstable or stable. THEY DO NOT CARE!!!! The children only care about themselves. If the teacher just makes sure that they are positive to everyone from their students, coworkers, administrators, parents, and other people involved in the community. Maybe with time the school will mold into a more positive and functioning school. Change happens over time.

                                                    • Oct 24, 2013 11:01pm

                                                      A teacher still has the ability to create a positive atmosphere no matter how bad the administration might be. This kind of situation does not have to carry over into the classroom. The students do not even have to be aware that a situation such as this exists. It is the teacher’s responsibility to take control of the classroom. For starters, control yourself and how you conduct business, so be professional in the way you conduct yourself, your classroom and others around you. When you show respect for others, often you will receive the same respect in return, many times you receive it from those who normally might not be respectful. I think the classroom teacher sets the climate and they enable effective learning despite what might go on outside the walls beyond that classroom.

                                                      • Oct 25, 2013 5:04pm

                                                        The first step in establishing a positive culture of respect in a negative environment is to build the most positive healthy learning environment possible in your own classroom. A well-managed classroom that promotes learning through high expectations of students, clear rules and procedures, and engaging material will set an example for other teachers and administration. Having a mutually respectful relationship with your students and open communication with parents also leads to the best possible classroom environment. In my personal experience, I have come across administrators who not only no longer care for their students but who are also so controlling that they refuse to let you do the best you can for your students. In situations like this, a teacher must be an advocate for change to the administrators and school board. Students deserve a positive learning environment not just in one classroom but in the entire school.

                                                        • Oct 25, 2013 10:17pm

                                                          It is tuff when everyone is not on board for the good of the children. When one is in this situation the have to persevere to do the right thing and try to make improvements one step at a time. When others see that changes can be made one step at a time they will hopefully jump aboard the improvement train and get to work. As teachers we just have to inch our way into making things better and improving attitudes by always showing a positive one.

                                                          • Oct 25, 2013 10:34pm

                                                            I think that the answer to the question in found within the question, the teacher should assert their selves in the classroom. As the teacher you have control of your classroom and how to run your class. Beginning with the first day of school and what you expect from the students. This will show the students what you expect and the consequences you have in you class. You will stand out from the school and administration for being hard or strict, but your students will learn to love you class. All students thrive on structure and boundaries, these students will eventually respect you classroom and rules you have established. A Teacher must always be consistent and reliable in the classroom.

                                                            • Oct 26, 2013 12:10am

                                                              Consistency is truly the key when setting out to accomplish any task. As a teacher you must remember to stay grounded in your personal beliefs, and stay firm when it comes to making decisions that may cause you to stray away from them. Having a strong team of teachers helps a great deal when those challenging moments occur. Whether you have similar beliefs or not it’s always good to have someone that understands what you are going through. I find this helpful at my school. As teachers we tend to come together on a lot of things, and we’re able to talk work things out amongst ourselves. We figured out that instead of working with an incompetent administrative team, assertive teachers will find a way to work around them. Liken assertive teachers to determined ants. When ants encounter an obstacle, they immediately find a way around it. If teachers keep the big picture in mind they too will operate with this attitude.

                                                              • Oct 26, 2013 9:36am

                                                                Daryl Spencer

                                                                The teacher is in charge of the classroom. All you can do is work within this framework. It starts in the classroom setting up a positive atmosphere and expectations. Working for an inept or difficult administration only makes this more difficult. As long as you are consistent and hold the students to your expectations, most students will follow your lead. Most things can be handled in the classroom and should be under most circumstances anyway. The administration should only be brought into it as a last resort. What you can't do and should not do under any circumstances is let the students know how you feel about the administration. You do not want to have a them versus us atmosphere. The students will use this game against you.

                                                                • Oct 27, 2013 6:54pm

                                                                  I also find it helpful when you show the students that you are their advocate. Students take notice of teachers who might spend a few hours after school to help them, and show genuine concern for them. Kids can also become apathetic when it looks as if no one cares. Their attitude may be "No one else cares, so why should I?" Like others have said: building relationships and investing in your classroom can help even when the administration in not doing its job.

                                                                  • Oct 27, 2013 9:56pm

                                                                    The first day is the first and main step for any classroom management guidelines to be set in stone. Instructors have to spend an adequate amount of time with students making sure the expectation is known and the understanding is there between student, parent, and instructor. The instructor can’t be too hard, but the environment has to be firm, but also caring. I’ve experienced going to school district with a very broken administrative team. I notice that the teachers that use extra energy to show a caring spirit and the student is given attention and not being brushed off, he/she has only one option and that is to excel in the classroom. Most challenging students need just one individual to give them a break on judgment and allow that student to be open a creative. Once the instructor has allowed the students to feel comfortable, then you have gain the respect from the student!

                                                                    • Oct 29, 2013 12:32am

                                                                      A positive culture of respect and learning begins in my own classroom. One of my classroom rules is "Show Respect for Everyone". I must model this for my students, also in the way I react to other teachers, staff, and administrators. Students are observing us when we are in the hallways, in the lunchroom, etc.

                                                                      I have listened to fellow teachers complain and even ridicule students and their writings. I like to follow with a positive story of something a student had said or written, or even my go-to comeback with "I am just really enjoying my students this semester." That seems to always end the conversation. Although I am imperfect, I will wait until I am home to vent to my husband about problematic issues. I want to be my students' advocate and will brag on them to school staff. I will also be bold and will respectfully ask a belligerent administration for what students need if I can't afford it myself, such as literature, supplies, field trips, bathroom soap, breakfast bars, etc.

                                                                      • Oct 29, 2013 1:29am

                                                                        I believe when the teacher closes the door to their classroom at the beginning of class, the environment belongs to the teacher. Respect is very important, in establishing a classroom in which a student feels safe to take chances and risk being wrong, in other words taking enough risk to actually engage in learning. True respect comes from the heart; it has to be a value deeply held by a teacher. In other words, a teacher must have a genuine passion to show respect for all. As a teacher, I would first make it clear through my classroom procedures and policies respectful behavior is expected. Second, I would demonstrate this behavior by always showing respect, even when correcting and redirecting a student. A positive attitude has to begin on the first day of class and respect must be consistently demonstrated and enforced. Since respect is held as a personal value, it can be maintained even in a school district that does not share this same value.

                                                                        • Oct 29, 2013 5:00pm

                                                                          First off, I believe respect needs to be given before it is received. Giving students respect doesn't mean allowing them to behave however they would like, but it consists of appreciating and listening to their feelings and point of view. If the school has a negative administration, it's very likely that students' concerns are being ignored. Teachers can try to separate their room from the administration by respecting their students. I do think that teachers need to be up front on the first day of class and let students know that he/she expects respect, but being open to students and willing to listen will create a more respectful, trustworthy atmosphere for the class.

                                                                          • Oct 29, 2013 5:21pm

                                                                            A teacher can establish a positive culture of respect and learning in a school by specifically beginning in ones' own classroom. The teacher should demonstrate and model manners and respectful behaviors to his/her students and expect the students to treat each other and the teacher with the same respectful behavior. That is where it has to begin- in the classroom. Even if there are other teachers or even the principal who act disrespectful, a good teacher keeps their cool, and responds calmly and respectfully.

                                                                            • Oct 29, 2013 6:53pm

                                                                              I think a teacher in this situation must keep a positive attitude and not get too frustrated initially. The teacher must realize that even by offering one excellent classroom with trust, respect, and quality education, they are helping the students. The teacher can show the students that they truly care about them by the way they teach, their positive attitude in class, and can even offer their classroom during lunch for any students that need help or want to talk about things. Then maybe after the teacher is comfortable in that district, they can try to make some change happen within other classrooms as well.

                                                                              • Oct 29, 2013 9:35pm

                                                                                A teacher makes his/her own positive classroom, no matter what the administration is like. We need to get to know our children and their families. We need to be positive in our own actions and words. We need to have a kind heart and be responsible for our own classroom and the students who are in it. We can't control what is going on outside our room, but we need to control what is going on in our class. We need to be sure our students know that they are our top priority and that will build the respect that is needed. Hopefully, the apathetic administration will see the positive atmosphere and follow right along.

                                                                                • Oct 30, 2013 6:44pm

                                                                                  I can't help but think of "Matilda', the 1996 movie that was on TV this past weekend. This is an exaggerated situation of a horrible principal who was abusive to teachers and students. However, Mathilda's teacher remained positive and engaging for students. I think if we want to encourage change, we should first take the responsibility that change is needed. Regardless of the situation, I think it is important to remain respectful and follow the rules because people will listen more if you are abiding and respecting the current rules and authority. On the other hand, it is important to be proactive and encourage change when it is needed.

                                                                                  I think it is important for teachers to remain positive in the classroom, because students mainly see the teachers, not the administration. When I was in school, I saw the teacher everyday, and I saw the principal or vice principal once or twice in the hallway on my way to my locker. Students learn more from the teachers, and this is why it is very important for teachers to carry on with high standards, respect, and learning even if the administrative lacks to achieve such standards. Students will receive more impact from what goes on in the classroom everyday instead of what doesn't go on elsewhere.

                                                                                  I was in high school when our principal failed to follow through on a job, and he was removed from the school eventually, because it resulted in massive school fighting. This had no impact on my academics. The only time it affected me is when I left after school when I saw the police cars, which only lasted for a couple of weeks. The teachers carried on and encouraged us to do the same.

                                                                                  • Oct 31, 2013 9:45pm

                                                                                    I was always taught growing up to get respect you must give respect. I believe you must practice this with your students and adults. You as the teacher have to set the example in your classroom for your students and it's either going to be a positive example you set for them or a negative one. The quote by Gandhi comes to mind when I think about establishing a positive atmosphere in my classroom: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." If you are coming to work everyday and doing your job to the best of your ability, then you are doing your part and it doesn't matter what goes on outside the walls of your classroom. You are only incharge of what happens within those four walls.

                                                                                    • Nov 1, 2013 12:36pm

                                                                                      I have followed Stephen Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" for over 20 years. One of his core tenets in being effective lies in distinguishing between your Circle of Concern and your Circle of Influence. A psychiatrist friend once told me that I would be happiest if I simply stopped wasting my energy on areas that I could not influence and, instead, focused my energy into those areas I could influence.

                                                                                      The Serenity Prayer comes to mind here. Another mentor of mine told me, "Michael, you fight the good fights, but you're tired and beat up after - and you don't always win. Stop choosing your battles, and start choosing your victories. In other words, only fight the battles you KNOW you're going to win."

                                                                                      I've taken these four sources and forged them this way: don't worry about apathetic, belligerent, or otherwise incompetent administration. They don't influence how you conduct yourself with the highest honor, integrity, and excellent service. Instead, focus on your passion to influence your students, inspire them to learn, motivate them to WANT to learn, and facilitate techniques they can use to retain their learning.

                                                                                      No matter what administration does to you, you can establish a positive culture of respect and learning within your classroom, subject, organization, etc., wherever YOU have influence. Slowly but surely, you will expand that influence... and, maybe, you'll arrive at a place where you are able to influence administration.

                                                                                      Until then, keep being effective, excellent, passionate, respectful, and competent in the face of all that incompetence. Administration isn't the only one noticing your passionately positive, respectfully rigorous, and carefully cultured excellence. Your kids (and their parents) are noticing... :)

                                                                                      • Nov 1, 2013 2:17pm

                                                                                        The classroom community should not be affected by poor administration. It is the teacher's responsibility to take control and develop the learning environment of respect and rapport and it will likewise be shown in the student actions. The administration may place pressure on a teacher to follow certain guidelines but each teacher has his or her own beliefs and attitude toward education. I know that I approach teaching differently than my mentor that taught me in school. I also know that I have a different energy in my classroom than a fellow classmate of mine. We are all developing our methods and theories and we cannot let the failure of administration dampen our spirits and our focus of having a positive culture in our classroom.

                                                                                        • Nov 1, 2013 9:48pm

                                                                                          With any job a positive, respectful relationship with coworkers makes all the difference. Sometimes creating this environment is extremely difficult. However, not everyone has the luxury of starting a job in this environment, that is not to say it can’t evolve into a great environment. But, creating this change takes work, the majority of which you have to do yourself. I believe that it’s difficult to say, “be the change you want to see.” Though, it is true. In order to improve an environment such as the one suggested, you have to have a positive outlook and have patience. And, if this isn’t enough to create a change, then, it may require a mature discussion about the situation but I would go about it in a manner that is not confrontational. However, if administration is not interfering with your classroom setting then I think it would easy to create a positive culture with students. All it takes is a mutual respect and an understanding of ground rules.

                                                                                          • Nov 1, 2013 10:19pm

                                                                                            I think this question has an age old answer “If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem”. As a teacher, or any other job holder, you can’t let the actions of others dictate your performance. Teachers need to make their classrooms safe physically and emotionally for their students. No matter what is going on in the rest of the building your classroom should be a place for students to grow, learn, and thrive. If the teacher is unhappy, negative or complaining that is what the kids will pick-up and imitate. Attitudes bad or good will not only transfer to the students but they are contagious among other teachers and administrators. I know this sounds pretty “cheesy” but I think you just have to make up your mind to be a force for good.

                                                                                            • Nov 1, 2013 9:58pm

                                                                                              I think that pooling your resources would be a great approach. Gain the support of parents and your fellow teachers, so that establishing a positive culture of respect and learning is a consistent practice in every class, and reinforced at home. Establish a learning community that is comprised of teachers, parents, and even the students. Have meetings, activities, and offer multiple opportunities for open communication that encourage feedback from all facets of the community.

                                                                                              Make sure the respect is mutual. Most children (younger and older) want to feel like their opinions matter, so by allowing them the opportunity to be respected, it will set the precedent for the behavior that is expected in general. Allow students the opportunity to voice their opinions on assignments by giving them structured options (take-home vs in-class test, etc...), and provide a forum that allows them to take directly to you and/or their classmates about an assignment.

                                                                                              • Nov 3, 2013 4:01pm

                                                                                                It is important to remember, that as a teacher, your classroom is your classroom. The atmosphere that is created behind your closed door is a reflection of the atmosphere you strive to achieve. As a teacher, one needs to remember the power that they have and use it accordingly in their classroom.

                                                                                                Any teacher that has such an unfortunate administration situation, needs to strive for change but not to let this situation leak into their room. Remain positive and determined to help your students.

                                                                                                • Nov 4, 2013 12:00am

                                                                                                  A person is not responsible for how others behave; they are only responsible for themselves and their own actions. A teacher is not responsible for administration; they are responsible for the type of environment that they establish in their own classrooms. It is a teacher’s job to remain fair, productive, and to create a safe environment for their students. Regardless of how administration may conduct themselves, a teacher can model to students how to remain positive and promote a safe learning environment. A teacher may disagree with the administration but by remaining respectful and being the absolute best teacher possible they are still creating a positive atmosphere. It’s all about the students. As long as a teacher doesn’t fail the students in the areas of respect and learning the administration shouldn’t affect the positive culture they have created in the classroom.

                                                                                                  • Mar 12, 2014 11:20pm

                                                                                                    It is hard to keep your head up in an apathetic environment. However, I think that it is first and foremost important to remember the reason that you are there. The administration may be apathetic but you do not have to be. You choose your attitude everyday and the type of teacher that you want to be.

                                                                                                    You must start with the culture within your classroom. Dare to standout and be different. Demand respect from your students and give respect. Your students will notice your difference and they will like it. The other teachers and administration will also notice the difference and their attitudes may adjust but even if they do not you must be loyal to your students and create for them a safe but fun environment that promotes student success.

                                                                                                    • Mar 12, 2014 11:36pm

                                                                                                      I have dealt with both apathetic/difficult coworkers and supervisors in every type of professional interaction I have ever had in life. It seems inevitable that this will likely carry on into my career as a teacher. Therefore it is important firstly, that you are teaching for the right reasons. We are teaching to have a positive impact on the lives of our students, and hopefully a positive impact on the current/future of society as a whole, due to the aforementioned. We are only able to control ourselves, not the students and not the administration. We will have to be creative; often our budget or available resources will not be optimal. We have to stay positive; our negativity could easily have an impact on our students. Lastly, we have to stalwart in our convictions; we have to try to be a force for change in negative schools. Often those schools have students who need good teachers the most.

                                                                                                      • Mar 13, 2014 5:25am

                                                                                                        In a school like that, a teacher will first need to make his or her rules known and make sure that their students know what is expected of them. Then the teacher needs to set the example (this is key); if they want to establish a positive culture of respect and learning. Also, the consequences need to be known. The teacher will need to be consistent in disciplining students and in everything else. Give the students a routine and show them that you care not only about their academics, but their mental/physical well-being as well. It is important that the lessons are fun, challenging, and that the teacher involves the students in the planning and learning.

                                                                                                        • Mar 13, 2014 10:27pm

                                                                                                          I love how you state, "unfortunately" in your question. Sadly though, that is the harsh truth. As a teacher, a role model, and an adult leader, I believe that it is extremely important to instill the change you want to see be made into the students and coworkers that you come into contact with daily. I've always been a firm believer that changes starts within a small crowd and impacts a huge audience. This is about as simple as it can be put. In order to gain respect and appreciation, you have to be willing to give it and not expect anything back in return.

                                                                                                          • Mar 14, 2014 2:08pm

                                                                                                            While the classroom is bound by the rules and regulations of the school, the respect and learning that occurs in the classroom is determined by the dynamic set up by the teacher. Working under difficult administration can be a part of any job and as with any other job it is how you decide to treat those that you interact with that will determine the level of respect that is translated. The students should always come first, it is our responsibility as educators to stand up for them so that they receive the proper respect and education that they deserve. A teacher must lead by example, starting by setting up the classroom so that it is an environment of mutual respect and learning then encourage others to do the same.

                                                                                                            • Mar 16, 2014 3:38pm

                                                                                                              I think the best way to provide a positive culture for students is to make sure that you as a teacher have a positive attitude and outlook. If administration is not doing their jobs or expressing the proper attitude you can’t control what they do or say but you can control how you handle yourself and your classroom. Within the classroom making sure that students feel comfortable and valued is extremely important. Making sure that you as a teacher are fair to each student and giving them opportunity to appropriately express themselves will give students the feeling of positivity and respect.

                                                                                                              • Mar 17, 2014 10:11pm

                                                                                                                In a school with such obvious problems, it wouldn't be difficult for a teacher to stand out from the rest. Showing an interest in your students by things like going to school events they are involved in to support them would be an easy way to show that you care about them (and not just in terms of the work they do in your classroom).

                                                                                                                A comfortable and respectful classroom environment is also a way to build rapport with students. I think students want to feel that they are respected - that they are human beings with feelings and opinions that are valuable. Creating an environment where students feel able to share these opinions and feelings without fear of judgement is important for a teacher to be able to gain the trust and respect of the students.

                                                                                                                • Mar 18, 2014 4:22pm

                                                                                                                  Well the first thing that a teacher can do is have a positive attitude that is focused on democratic pedagogy, making sure that educational opportunities are accessible to all. The teacher should show respect to all students, even if the administration does not. The teacher might even passively support things that the administration does not like, especially if the administrations views are unethical. If the unethical views are written in the official school rules and codes, then the teacher should be able to bring these points up to higher authorities. Otherwise, the teacher should be mindful of the various cultures in the class and incorporate their views into the class discussion. It should be made evident that there can be multiple valid perspectives. The teacher can also enforce classroom rules that are focused on respect, especially among students. These things should work to create a non-hostile environment.

                                                                                                                  • Mar 18, 2014 9:38pm

                                                                                                                    A teacher in this situation would first and foremost need to present a positive attitude and show respect for all students. Even though a teacher must follow his/her administration's rules does not mean that the teacher cannot provide this atmosphere in his/her classroom. The teacher needs to establish rules and expectations and convey those to his/her students. As a teacher if you do set those boundaries, then the students will think you are like everyone else in the school and simply don't care about the job you are doing or the students you are teaching. Problems in administration may make this more difficult, but not impossible!

                                                                                                                    • Mar 18, 2014 11:15pm

                                                                                                                      I think it depends on the individual. If working with children and making a difference in their lives is the teacher main concern, and then they can learn to work around all of the negativity. Would it be hard? Yes, it would be hard; however, if the individual is determined to make a difference in their students’ lives, then they can open doors that were once closed, such as close minded people. The teacher can also choose to make a positive difference in their student’s learning that could enhance the program. Sometimes being the outsider is not all bad, especially if that person is trying to make a difference in his or her student’s lives and the learning environment. I believe when people see you doing well and making good judgments that can enhance a program, I believe that they will be willing to change and play their part. This change may take a while, but eventually some things changes for the better.

                                                                                                                      • Mar 19, 2014 10:39am

                                                                                                                        Above all, I think teachers must focus on what happens in their own classroom. Despite what goes on with the administration, the students must come first. As teachers, we are responsible for building our own classroom communities. We must build respect within our classroom. If we model respect within our classrooms, then hopefully we will set a good example for the administration. This is not to say that we need to be apathetic to the administration, but rather, we must take the first step by acting in the way we hope the administration will act. We can only control our classroom communities and ourselves. I think if we are passionate about our subject matter and passionate about students, then that is all that matters. Hopefully the administration will soak up the positive vibes coming from our classrooms.

                                                                                                                        • Mar 19, 2014 12:09pm

                                                                                                                          As a teacher, if you are dealing with an incompetent administration then I believe it is your job to act as a buffer between your students and the problems surrounding the administration of the school. Have you ever been around a bubbly positive person, also known as a Pollyanna, and tried to be a Debbie downer? It is extremely hard to do. I think what we have to do is be that Pollyanna role model for our students. Regardless of what is going on with the school administration do not let that leak into the classroom and affect the culture of the class. Be a buffer and show your students through your actions and attitude what is expected in your classroom. Let your modeling reflect the positive culture you want to instill in your classroom.

                                                                                                                          • Mar 19, 2014 1:28pm

                                                                                                                            Sadly, this is all too real where I grew up. So, what can a teacher do in this situation? Most complain, gossip, and feel defeated, but never have I seen one take a different approach and try and be positive. So, that is my answer. Find a positive approach to dealing with the situation. The teacher has his/her own classroom and within that realm they are in charge. The teacher should be honest with her students especially when the students know that they will not get in trouble no matter what takes place. Creating a rapport with the students can create that positive culture of respect and learning within an environment. Now, of course, children that know they will not get in trouble by the administration will of course act out. As a teacher, we have to respond to that in a positive manner. A teacher in this situation will have to go above and beyond to reach her students. So, find out what they are interested in and pull that into the lessons. Make sure that the student knows that you care. Whether or not the administration knows it or not, the students see what is going on outside of the classrooms. Teachers have to have their students' best interests at hand. If that is not the case, then they are letting down all of those students.

                                                                                                                            • Mar 19, 2014 2:15pm

                                                                                                                              I think the best way to do this is to set the tone for your classroom. By that I mean to create the culture of respect in your class regardless of what happens outside it. I imagine this will take the kids a while to adjust to depending on how bad the administration is but I think consistency would eventually create the atmosphere you want. I think most kids respond to positive authority even if it’s rigid at first. I have experience managing associates in a corporate environment and I always found that people respect consistency and fairness as a whole. I know kids will be much more challenging but I’ve always been surprised at how some adults are just as immature and selfish as children. Anytime you are managing a group of people (kids or adults) you are going to have those that push the limits just to test the manager/teacher. As long as you are consistent and fair I think the majority of the class/team respects you. But specifically to the question, it’s all about creating that atmosphere in your classroom and insulating it from ineffective administration as best you can.

                                                                                                                              • Mar 20, 2014 1:10pm

                                                                                                                                I think that the administration of a school is the most important and so when they are weak, an entire school tends to get that way. The best way to assert yourself in situations like that is to try the best you can with parents and if the administration is not willing to work with you then you should make decisions on your own that best fit that child, the rest of the class, and yourself. Obviously, you can’t do too much in the form of suspension, expulsion, or other, more drastic, situations but the best way to look at a difficult situation would be to ask what is best for the child. If an administration is not willing to work with you, then it may require stepping above them in order to get your situation taken seriously; as a teacher, it is too easy to let people walk all over you, but you have to do what is in the best interest of the child and rest of your classroom.
                                                                                                                                In terms of positive culture, while it can be easy to be negative to co-workers, family members, and some day’s children, it is best to remember that you are there to teach children. It is not their fault that things are not running smoothly, but if you can eliminate the negative talk then that will make it easier, for you, to be a positive person around all people.

                                                                                                                                • Mar 20, 2014 2:38pm

                                                                                                                                  As a teacher, you must model the behavior you expect from students. If you are a negative, grouchy, control driven teacher, you will have negative students who challenge your authority. If you give respect to your students, they will respect you. As a previous response posted said "be the change you want to see." Also, it is helpful when students come up with their own rules and consequences. Give students ownership in the classroom rules and consequences and hold them to it. If the students come up with the standards to which they must adhere in the classroom, they tend to hold each other accountable.

                                                                                                                                  • Mar 21, 2014 5:57pm

                                                                                                                                    This starts at day one. A teacher must bring a positive atmosphere from day one. Over time the culture will change for the better. There will be bumps in the road of course, but the positives will out weigh the negatives over time. A personal example that I can use in this instance is my job. I'm part of the basketball coaching staff at a small college in Conway. When we first took the job on the atmosphere was completely negative, from the administration all the way down through the players. When we came in we decided to be ultra positive from day one. The players fought this at first. Nearly everyday we had someone called to the deans office or get close to being suspended from school. Now we are nearing the end of the second semester and the dean will stop us on campus from time to time just to tell how good our guys are doing. All this just to make the point that it takes time starting from day one.

                                                                                                                                    • Mar 22, 2014 11:29am

                                                                                                                                      Relationship is the key to respect. The more of a relationship a teacher has with students the more students will respond to prompts and the more they will naturally want to please you, even if they don’t care anything about the content. Each classroom is its own environment so even though a teacher might understand that the administration sucks the life out of the environment school-wide, the classroom can be a sanctuary among the chaos. The more the administration sees the change that is in an individual classroom the more curious they might become as to why. Positivity is attractive and attainable, but it’s not as easy as being negative. I feel like a teacher that is consistently positive, patient, and encouraging, can eventually affect change in the entire school.

                                                                                                                                      • Mar 22, 2014 3:59pm

                                                                                                                                        Once a teacher has to come to realization of what type of environment they want their students to learn in, no matter what the administration does, there are ways to abide by given standards while also providing an optimal education for the students. The teacher can come up with creative ways to allow the students to express themselves creatively but also in an educational manner regarding their schedule. It is not a crime for teachers to transform their classroom in ways that students feel comfortable and ready to learn especially in a school that has problems. An example would be the move Dangerous Minds where even though the teacher, Michelle Pfeiffer, chose one of the worst districts around she found a way to get the students interested in poetry by using a contest and karate as a way to illustrate what she needed them to see and it was done on their level of functioning.

                                                                                                                                        • Mar 22, 2014 4:27pm

                                                                                                                                          It is all about your goals and beliefs as a teacher; if you really want to help the next child learn you have to not let the administration's ineffectiveness hinder your goals. Regardless of how the administration acts it is your job as a teacher to be respectful of students and other faculty. Sometimes when other employees act unprofessionally it is an opportunity for you to step up and show them how to act as a professional who does care about the students. Most times actions are louder than words and the administration may notice a difference in you just by the way you treat others. If it is to the extreme where their beliefs are compromising yours I would suggest finding a district that shares your passion for teaching.

                                                                                                                                          • Mar 22, 2014 11:48pm

                                                                                                                                            As with any work place, I feel it is very important to not let your negative opinion be known when speaking to others that might be influenced by your thoughts of the "higher ups". With regard to a school environment, if I speak negatively of administration to my students that will give them reason to loose respect for school as a whole and make the job of creating a positive environment harder for all teachers. It is important for me as a teacher to stay consistent and positive and (to quote from another post by Katie Novak) be the change I want to see.

                                                                                                                                            • Mar 23, 2014 3:55pm

                                                                                                                                              One of the first things that teachers can do in this situation is provide enthusiasm for their students. By providing an enthusiasm for the content, an excitement for learning, and a genuine concern for each and every student goes a long way in creating a positive learning environment. I also think it is critical for teachers to create realistic expectations. Expecting all students to be proficient on an EOC exam that only 50% traditionally pass is unrealistic. Students need positive feedback and need to experience success. If they are constantly told how dumb or lazy they are, they begin to believe this. Students need teachers that believe in them and tell them that they are capable of achieving their goals. It is also important that the teacher and the students goals are similar. Take a few minutes during the first week and discuss goals for the semester or year. Student goals outside of class (clubs, scholarships, athletic, social, etc.) should also be discussed during this time. Teachers with little administrative support must take a more active role in the kids lives, and see themselves as a mentor, counselor, life coach, and instructor. Taking a general concern for the kids' well-being will help teachers create a classroom that values respect and learning.

                                                                                                                                              • Mar 23, 2014 8:00pm

                                                                                                                                                When students appear apathetic and unmotivated, teachers are encouraged to understand the the social and cultural backgrounds of the student so that we can better support their motivations and knowledge. I think the same ideas could be applied to individuals within administration. The apparent belligerent or unmotivated behavior may be caused by the same lack of support, knowledge, or belief in their abilities that we see in students. Perhaps using the same approach of understanding with administration will promote the same level of support and community that we wish to see in our classroom. This may also provide opportunities for communication that did not exist before. Just like our students, we must also believe that our administration wishes to be successful. Therefore, I think that providing the same principles we encourage within the classroom could help remove the same “unmotivated” attitude we see within administration.

                                                                                                                                                • Mar 23, 2014 8:03pm

                                                                                                                                                  Most importantly, a teacher can establish a positive community environment in their classroom with their students so that at least one aspect of school life is functioning efficiently. If you are making a difference and influencing kids in a positive way then you are achieving your ultimate goal. A teacher can have an effective classroom even if the administration doesn't function properly. In order to make the whole school a more competent and successful place, I think that it’s important to seek out others with a common goal. Finding fellow teachers to share encouragement with makes the realization for a positive school environment stronger. The more advocates on board, the better.

                                                                                                                                                  • Mar 23, 2014 8:39pm

                                                                                                                                                    I love this question, especially after watching the movie, "Divergent". I believe that no matter what situation that life places you in, specifically for this question, the teaching environment, we must do our absolute best to maintain the highest level of integrity that we can, no matter the obstacles. It is not my or any other teachers responsibility to "fix" an apathetic, belligerent or incompetent administration. We can however, encourage, give ideas and create an air of excitement about learning. We also must maintain a presence of respect, positiveness and learning in and out of our classrooms. People do have a tendency to model after others, so we must be a role model that others want to model after. We need to inspire others want to learn and do their job better by just being around us. We must never become guilty of just being a teacher. We need to be found guilty of teaching.

                                                                                                                                                    • Mar 23, 2014 9:48pm

                                                                                                                                                      A teacher can work together with other teachers of like mind to establish a positive environment for the students. Since the school is unfortunate to have incompetent administration, the teacher or teachers can make this difference. Teachers can encourage each other to be their best even with the administration being apathetic and belligerent. Initially, teachers can discuss what ways would help keep their classroom environments emotionally and socially stable. Teachers can share ideas and brainstorm new ideas to achieve this. Students need and want to feel cared for mostly by their teachers. Teachers are the faces they see and speak to daily. Lastly, if nothing can change the way the administrators behave, they should be terminated from their position. Incompetent leaders should not be kept in a school. Students deserve better than that.

                                                                                                                                                      • Mar 23, 2014 11:47pm

                                                                                                                                                        I choose to have hope that a teacher should control the environment of their classroom. If a teacher creates a community of students that have respect and an eagerness to learn, then it shouldn't matter what happens in the rest of the school. Students who are respectful and engaged spark the interest of the parents, and parents who have respectful and engaged children tend to be vocal about that environment following their children for the remainder of their education. When enough parents are motivated, administrators can be swayed to change- even if for no other reason than job security. Happiness is contagious, create a happy environment in your classroom and kill the rest with kindness.

                                                                                                                                                        • Mar 30, 2014 9:03am

                                                                                                                                                          All we can control is our own space so if there are incompetencies outside the classroom, we have to mitigate them as much as possible. I think this is created by consistency (showing the students that in your classroom the rules do apply), preparation (showing the students that your time with them is a time you've prepared for, which shows you care), and encouragement (demonstrating to the students that they can be successful and that you want to help them get there).

                                                                                                                                                          We have to create the safe haven they need to learn. That security comes not only from our pedagogical acumen, but also from our love. The kids (Yes! even that kid that seems to be unlovable) has to know that you love and respect them, which shouldn't be misinterpreted as "you let everything go". Being cool and easy isn't the same as loving and respecting your students. Our classrooms have to be places where students are held to high standards both academically and socially. Anything less than simply perpetuates the problem.

                                                                                                                                                          • Jun 4, 2014 4:32pm

                                                                                                                                                            The classroom is the teacher's personal haven. A teacher who knows the content, who loves the students, and who sets the tone of the classroom can rise above an administration that appears lazy and non-supportive. When I look back on all the teachers I had in school, the ones I remember the most are those who showed that they really cared about me, despite what must have been going on with the administration and other staff who may not care. I cannot control what other people do or say, but I can work on my own perspective and approach, as well as on my reactions to what is happening in the world beyond the classroom doors. I need to "let it go" if it is something that could diminish my effectiveness in teaching children. Students will learn more from my demeanor and how I respond to negative than what I tell them about how to react, especially if my responses negate what I tell them. If it's to be (a positive influence), it's up to me.

                                                                                                                                                            • Jun 18, 2014 10:09am

                                                                                                                                                              I believe you are in control of you. As at teacher, you are in control of your classroom. I think that if you make your classroom a positive, supporting, caring place to learn. You will make a difference. Not all at once, but over time. Your students will be excticed about your class and what they are learning. Others will begin to see the changes going on and start to ask questions. They may not like it and you may be criticized, but I think you must continue to be your professional self.

                                                                                                                                                              As a teacher, you do not know all that is going on that the administrative level. Your job as a teacher, is to be the best teacher for your students. Teach them, engage them, be interested in them, and help them where your can. Remember to always be genuine with them. That is all that they want.

                                                                                                                                                              • Jun 18, 2014 12:26pm

                                                                                                                                                                To me the classroom is my domain. I will work hard at the beginning of the school year to establish that culture of respect in the classroom with my students. I will never talk negatively to the students or parents about the administration or other teachers. If administrators do not care, are apathetic, or not supportive, I will have to start my own support group. I would work from the bottom up to help make small changes. I would work with other grade level teachers first to help develop a sense of community by grade level. Then our team could work with other grade levels. Just as with students, we teachers need to have positive intrinsic reinforcement. Teachers would then be serving as good models for what we expect in a classroom. Teachers who are supported will have a better attitude, care more about their students and then the students will reciprocate. When teachers feel good or feel like they matter on the team, the administration will see their enthusiasm and hopefully change for the better.

                                                                                                                                                                • Jun 18, 2014 9:41pm

                                                                                                                                                                  First and foremost, I believe that teachers must have a passion to teach. If they truly have a passion they will do their best to always have a positive attitude and do what is in the best interest of the students. These actions, which include talking with the students, wanting to help them, and being a role model, must first start within their own classroom. Hopefully, the teacher is also a team player and will be able to give advice and opinions to other faculty and staff. I think the teacher should also expand their duties and possibly become a coach or sponsor for one of the school's extracurricular activities. This allows the teacher to interact with more students therefore allowing this positive culture of respect and learning to flourish within the school.

                                                                                                                                                                  • Jun 19, 2014 5:01pm

                                                                                                                                                                    I think the important thing from the teacher's standpoint is to just try and control what is within your control. If your administration is not ideal it would not be beneficial in the least to stand on a "soap box" at the front of the class and tell all of what is wrong with that particular school system. All that a teacher can control is the influence and job that they do and hope that students are inspired and look forward to coming to class every day. If ever presented with this challenge, I would state from the first day that inside my classroom my way would be the way it is going to go. I would not do this to sound like an authoritarian teacher, but rather to say I can control the way in which I deal with behavior, assignments, discussion, etc. and I am sorry if that contradicts another teacher but that is how this class will operate. Rules could be enforced inside the classroom that allow students to know that whenever they are in my classroom there are going to be certain expectations that might fly out of the window when they leave my class but they will be there again tomorrow when they arrive.

                                                                                                                                                                    • Jun 19, 2014 10:04pm

                                                                                                                                                                      I think the best thing to do in the situation noted in the question is to promote the respectful learning environment that you want to have in your classroom, and focus on making it the best experience for your kids. When you have your kids outside the classroom you should consistently show respect to everyone around you including the students and other people. If the focus remains there, the students will know what to expect in your classroom and they will see the respect you show them and other people. If you continue the good attitude you maintain with your kids, other people will notice.

                                                                                                                                                                      • Jun 19, 2014 10:13pm

                                                                                                                                                                        Think positive, be positive, and positive things will happen! I love this quote - expect to find it in my classroom! We have all been in situations that don't seem fair or right. Our role as an educator, a role model, and an adult is to remain positive. This is one of the biggest life lessons we will ever be able to teach our students. Life is not fair. Many of us had to learn this at a young age, but we simply set goals, and made the decision to overcome any obstacle in our way to get what we want! We must rise above the occasion and teach our students that it's okay to be in a difficult, it is how you overcome the difficult situation that counts.

                                                                                                                                                                        When an authority figure repeatedly knocks you down, it is so important for you as an educator to remain calm, stay positive, and remember why you got into this business! Don't be afraid to stand up for your students and yourself. Your students will have such a new level of respect for you that it will give you the inspiration you need to keep pushing forward. Always put your students first and keep their needs in front of your own. The class will be successful if you allow it to be. Your students will follow your lead - so show no fear! Do your job at the best of your ability and you have nothing to worry about! Stand tall and strong, remember you can do anything you set your mind to!

                                                                                                                                                                        • Jun 20, 2014 1:41am

                                                                                                                                                                          Our classroom is our place to influence the lives of our students in a positive way. Although we are required to operate within the boundaries of school rules and policies, we are certainly not required to adopt the apathetic attitudes of those around us. Every day, we must remember that we are there for the students. If we can overcome the negativity of the environment outside our classroom, we are increase the effectiveness of our practice, and also model positivity for our students.

                                                                                                                                                                          Students are very intuitive and sensitive to the environment they are in, and they can feel when there is tension between teachers and administration. We can't allow our frustrations with inept principals and school boards to leach into our learning environment! We should certainly never complain about school decisions in front of students or agree with students who express a dislike of school policies. Our focus in the classroom is on our learning objectives and student behavior, not sweeping educational reform in the school or district.

                                                                                                                                                                          • Jun 20, 2014 4:45pm

                                                                                                                                                                            As the teacher it is up to you to set the tone in your classroom. If being respectful and having a culture of learning is what you expect from your students, they will rise to your expectations, regardless of what the administration expects. You cannot let what is happening or not happening in the office or the school district impact your classroom. Having an apathetic principal or even apathetic co-teachers can be frustrating, but you must not allow it to have an impact on what goes on in your classroom. Creating a positive and safe environment for your students is so important for learning to take place. You might just have to close your door and ignore the incompetent administration. Find support in online educational communities or outside your school if you are in that situation, but do not let it have a negative effect on you or your students. You may be the only bright light in your school. Remain positive and hopefully it will spread to others.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Jun 20, 2014 11:42pm

                                                                                                                                                                              Sadly this is likely a situation that far too many good teachers have to deal with every day. I think a teacher must firmly establish the rules and procedures for their classroom regardless of what other teachers or staff members do. Students must understand that the classroom culture, at least in my class, is one of mutual respect amongst peers and the teacher. To be effective the teacher must maintain a positive attitude, keep the students on task, and make their class as fun and engaging as possible. If the students believe the teacher cares about their success and there is good rapport within the group then this positive culture might begin to impact students’ behavior and attitudes in other classes. The teacher can also model respectful behavior in the way she works with a difficult administration as well.

                                                                                                                                                                              • Jun 21, 2014 12:08am

                                                                                                                                                                                While an incompetent administration can be harmful to a school environment it is also on the teacher to keep the control of the classroom that he or she wants. If the teacher comes in with the attitude of: "I will respect you students and I expect you students to respect yourselves, as well as me." Even if you cannot rely on the administration to follow through with punishments given to them, I think the teacher can get many of his or her students to be respectful and learn by just showing the same respect to the students. Also, talking with the administration could possibly yield some desired results as well because it is possible that they will remember what got them into their profession in the first place. In the end, though, I think the teacher's attitude, demeanor, and knowledge will be more than enough to maintain a culture of respect and learning in the classroom

                                                                                                                                                                                • Jun 21, 2014 9:46am

                                                                                                                                                                                  A teacher can assert himself or herself in establishing a positive culture of respect even when administration is been hostile by first remembering why they decided to teach in the first place. I hope it was for the love of children. So, I say put your focus on the students by showing respect and being positive even when you are not in the best atmosphere. You should set the tone for your class everyday. Modeling what you want from your students is very important it will go a long why. Students will learn how to be positive and respectful from how they see adults in their lives react to all kinds situations. Just remember the student’s eyes / ears are always on you.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Karen Bradley

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Jun 21, 2014 11:45am

                                                                                                                                                                                    A teacher can only do so much while maintaining their job and a state of respect and learning. In order to stand in the face of opposition without being disrespectful, a teacher can simply make sure s/he is following the administrative rules and guidelines. At the same time they can make sure they are doing the best possible job in their classroom. That way as the teacher you are modeling the positive culture of respect and learning you would expect of your students and administrators and they cannot find fault in your actions. This will hopefully lead to the parents, students and administration seeing you as a shining example and they will soon adopt your attitude and mannerisms. So without making a big fuss about how things are not right and how they could be improved, show them the right behavior. Remember actions speak louder than words!

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Jun 21, 2014 1:14pm

                                                                                                                                                                                      As an educator a positive culture starts with you. The teacher has to display they are treating everyone the way he or she wants to be treated. The teacher from the first day of class must present the students with a positive learning environment. He or she has to show everyone they are equal to one another. Students who have positive teachers tend to do well in the class. When students are in a positive environment, happy and comfortable, they tend to express themselves more, ask questions about the material, and become involved with their education. Students who display an interest in a class will express their feeling to other students and teachers. This can help with bringing all staff members to do similar things in their class to promote a positive culture for all.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Jun 21, 2014 7:58pm

                                                                                                                                                                                        You must model the behavior and attitude that you want others to have and see. An attitude of positivity, peace, and unwavering stance in change.
                                                                                                                                                                                        There is a picture of a four page phrase that exhibits the type of person I strive to be. It reads:

                                                                                                                                                                                        1-Be Impeccable with your Word
                                                                                                                                                                                        -Speak with integrity.
                                                                                                                                                                                        -Say only what you mean.
                                                                                                                                                                                        -Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.
                                                                                                                                                                                        -Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2-Don't Take anything Personally
                                                                                                                                                                                        -Nothing others do is because of you
                                                                                                                                                                                        -What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.
                                                                                                                                                                                        -When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3-Don't Make Assumptions
                                                                                                                                                                                        -Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.
                                                                                                                                                                                        -Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.
                                                                                                                                                                                        -With just this one agreement you can completely enjoy your life.

                                                                                                                                                                                        4-Always do your Best
                                                                                                                                                                                        -Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it'll be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.
                                                                                                                                                                                        -Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and self-regret.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Following these four principles will help me to maintain a positive attitude both inside my classroom and outside of my classroom, even when posed with a hostile environment with an apathetic, belligerent, or hostile administration. It most likely means that I will choose my words so carefully, I will only communicate when necessary with the administration, and if they mistake silence for ignorance, then they truly are belligerent. However, the administration's attitude should not affect my attitude, especially as I portray it in my classroom.

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Jun 22, 2014 5:07pm

                                                                                                                                                                                          I believe the teacher will have to be the positive role model for their class and make it clear that what happens in other classes and in the hallways are left at the door. Your classroom is a place where learning happens. Administrators have a lot on their plate and it can be easy for them to get burnt out if they are having problems with teachers not doing their jobs or problems with infrastructure, etc. You should not rely on the administration to control students. If you use your classroom to model what ought to be happening in every room, not only will you make your admin relieved they won't have to worry about you but you can be a positive model for struggling teachers.

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Jun 22, 2014 11:11pm

                                                                                                                                                                                            Unfortunately, this is a tough situation to overcome. I have personally worked in non-education jobs where what should have been a nice working environment was ruined by negative, uncaring coworkers. I have also had jobs that where not good working situations, but the people I worked with made the job bearable or even something I enjoyed. You can’t forcefully change other people; I think the best you can do is hope that the positive qualities you exhibit will influence others. The environment you present in and out of the classroom will show that you care about your students, other teachers, the administration, and school itself. Showing positive support for other faculty and overtly avoiding nonconstructive situations and persons will show the kind of individual you are. This is unfortunately a situation where only so much can be under one person’s control, but if enough individuals work towards change a new culture may emerge.

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Jun 27, 2014 2:02pm

                                                                                                                                                                                              Students notice their instructors' attitudes. By addressing what kind of attitude you have as an instructor at the beginning of the year, you will set the standard for what students seek. Every bit of info students gather about you will be used to judge the veracity of your self-identifying claim. If you claim "I care about your performance, but it is up to you to make the most of the opportunities in this course," students will measure your behavior to determine if this is the case. When they find it is true, students know that you are not apathetic and that you will not treat them in a belligerent manner.

                                                                                                                                                                                              One of the most effective ways to combat a culture of apathy is by not assuming it yourself. Do things that need to be done that you can do, call the people who do the things that need to be done that you can't do, call the people who call the people, etc. When you can't be the one getting things done, be the squeaky wheel. There may be some blowback initially, but once the obvious, physical changes (clean rooms, working lightbulbs, facial tissues, etc.) start to accumulate, coworkers will not be able to deny the positive results. Neither will students.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Often in a culture of apathy one will see tasks that are begging to be completed, but no one in the culture takes the initiative. One will hear people who embrace the apathetic culture mention things that need to be done, often in a dissatisfied way, but then effect no change themselves. Response to these behaviors, conditions, and utterances can make a huge difference in the culture. Culture is co-created, especially in a workplace, and by politely, tactfully, and subtly refusing to accept the assumption of defeat or apathy, attitude can also be a force for change. So much of what children pick up is our subtle assertion of our world views. By watching our own behavior to ensure that it reinforces non-apathetic values, we lead by example.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The same models hold for belligerence. It can be tough to carry on in such a toxic culture, however, those undeniable positive changes will start to add up. Things will change. One person might not be able to do it all alone, but one person can lead by example. Making relationships with coworkers based on common desire for work to go well will yield a more pervasive spread of culture rehabilitation.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Jul 17, 2014 11:37am

                                                                                                                                                                                                I read a blog recently in which the teacher stated that she never planned to begin the year calling her students 'sir' and 'ma'am', but that it was just her personality. She stated that the students responded to it immediately. She said students come back to her year after year and tell her how much it impacted them. Any teacher could create an environment of respect and positivity inside her own classroom. It starts with letting the students know you respect them and genuinely want to get to know them and help them. They will respond to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I believe other teachers and administrators will respond to it as well. A positive demeanor, a smile, or respect even when not earned will get the attention of administrators. We are taught to model the behavior that we expect of our students. I believe the same can be said for other teachers. Treat them the way we expect to be treated. Model good educational practices for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Jul 17, 2014 4:41pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Children these days are being raised in a multitude of environments, and then sent to school with a feeling of being unwanted or unloved. In many homes children are being exploited, abused or ignored all together. In these types of homes children are not taught respect, or given any for that matter. It often times falls in the hands of teachers to teach children not only reading, writing but everyday life skills. It would be nice to have the backing of the entire school staff to ensure that this happens, but if that is not the case, then it is up to us to step up and make sure that we leave an impression on each and every child. So in our classrooms, we will have to hold the students that we come into contact on a daily basis to a higher standard. We have to be mindful that each student that steps into the classroom is entitled to a great education just like the next. If we establish the feeling of safety, are communicating well with the students, keep them motivated and focused on the task at hand, they will make a change for the better. I believe that if this can be successful in one classroom, it can be in all. It will only take a few changes among a group of teachers to catch the eye of administration and other teachers before they jump on board.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Beth Davis

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Jul 19, 2014 11:21pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think the important thing is that we focus on our classroom and our students. The reason we are teaching in the first place is for the students not the administration. Yes it does make it extremely difficult to be positive when administration just doesn't care or is hostile about education. I feel that if I am positive in my classroom and in my actions that might impact the ones who are negative or indifferent. If they can see what a difference being positive makes it might help with their attitude. It's important that our students see us as positive role models and if we as teachers do not care about their education who will? Students respond to positivity and if we focus on making our classroom the best it can be that's all that matters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Jul 20, 2014 2:09pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you love teaching, you have to show it. Making your classroom a place of respect and learning can branch out to other teachers and then from there move up. Look for other teachers who feel the same way. If you can't have optimism with whatever situation you have been given, in any walk or place in life, then you cannot learn, grow, or expect yourself, or others, to change. As a teacher, I want to be the one students are talking about in a good way. "She's strict, fair, but we have a lot of fun in the classroom." "Do you remember that biology project we did last week? It was awesome!" Starting with your own little world in the classroom might be all that you can do, but if you enjoy showing up and teaching your students in that world, people will notice, people will listen, and people might want to change to emulate that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think it's important to not show the students that things aren't all that great in the grander scheme of things. They need to be focused on learning, the teachers on teaching, and then the teachers can move out and try to work and change the administration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Jul 20, 2014 9:50pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                        You always hear the phrase "one person can make a difference" and I think this is an important answer to this question. No working environment is every going to be perfect so you have to start with the walls inside of your classroom and what you can control. Work on making your classroom environment what you want it to be. This will take a lot of time because students will not trust you because they probably do not trust the other faculty members or administration and they will lump you in with them. With a lot of effort then you can change your classroom. Once you start making progress there then other teacher and administrators, as well as parents, will also notice.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is a tough situation to be in but the teacher must truly care for their students and their educations and that will show through. The teacher will have to invest extra time to get to know students on a personal level that will help build trust with the students and allow the teacher to have a better understand of the situation.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        If the teacher is having success in the classroom then they have the ability to go to the administrators with evidence as to what they are doing and why it is working. The teacher also has to be ready to share what they are doing so other teacher and administrators can learn from them as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Jul 22, 2014 6:30pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think that a positive, excited personality is contagious. Demonstrate this attitude with your colleagues. I think that if you love what you do, you can pass it along. If your administrator is apathetic make your room even more exciting. Make your students love coming to your class everyday. Make the learning student based, maybe those students excitement will carry over to the school culture. When it comes down to the end of the day, what happens in your classroom is what you have control over. Be the change, be the spark in the system. Your students will catch it from you. If you are a middle school teacher then you will more than likely see most of the students on your grade level, have them all electrified. Develop a behavior plan that involves student input, gives them ownership. There is nothing like peer pressure over classroom rules where everyone had a hand in making them. This will help with needing an administrator to handle behavior problems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Jul 23, 2014 2:03pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                            In schools like this, I think you would have to go above and beyond every day. Being surrounded by less than enthusiastic teachers and administrators can really bring you down, but I think that if you put in that extra ten percent of work and try your absolute hardest to be positive it can make a big difference. Your students will, hopefully, be receptive to this and act the same. I think it would be important to foster relationships with fellow teachers and work with them to be more proactive in the school, especially if they are new teachers in the school. Acting how you want the rest of the school to act can be a small way to provoke positive change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Jul 23, 2014 2:25pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I believe a teacher has to be in control of his or her own classroom. The students should always be the main focus, no matter what type of administration is in that particular school. If teachers want a positive classroom environment, they must be willing to create that themselves. This can be done by showing student that they are priority and that them learning is important no matter what goes on outside the classroom doors. If a teacher wants to see a change, he or she should lead by example. What one teacher does in his or her classroom could possibly inspire other teachers as the administration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Jul 23, 2014 7:27pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                As educators we have to be responsible for ourselves and the message we present individually to students. If you are working in a school with incompetent administration you have to be an example of competence. You have to set yourself apart by being prepared and enthusiastic about your work. Show your students through your actions that your classroom is different. Try to be a positive force within your school. Set expectations and goals for your students that don’t change on a day to day basis. It is important to remember that you are there for the students. It is our job as professional to not get sucked into any chaos that the administration maybe exhibiting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Jul 23, 2014 9:42pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ultimately, your classroom environment will depend heavily on the rules and procedures set forth by you and how well you enforce and adhere to them. Regardless of what is happening in the administrative offices, your classroom is yours and your students' domain. If you want to foster a sense of respect, you need to let your students know that you expect that from them at all times, and delineate consequences if they do not follow that rule. As for maintaining a positive attitude toward learning, this responsibility lies more with the teacher than with the students. He or she is responsible for being focused on the material and for showing enthusiasm and excitement. Teachers should be able to relate to students why their material is important and should give students multiple opportunities to explore that material in various ways. This will ensure that all students have positive exposure to the content. It is hard for a student to become excited about learning something if even the teacher acts as though it's boring!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Jul 23, 2014 10:03pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Establishing a positive culture of respect in your classroom is a very important thing to do. The culture we live in now has less emphasis on respect and more emphasis on what I can do for me. As the teacher, it is your job to change that perspective. I feel that if the teacher puts everything he/she has into his/her students and make them feel that you are there for them and to help them succeed, the students will be more likely to follow whatever the teacher asks of them. If the teacher teaches about respect, then students will be more willing to follow suite. I think one of the most important things to have as a teacher is the student's respect. If they don't respect as a teacher then why would they listen to what you say. From experience, if you show interest in the students and make the lessons fun to learn then the students should be easier to handle and teach about importance of respect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Jul 23, 2014 9:07pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I believe that even though a school might have an apathetic, belligerent, or an incompetent administration, it doesn't have to affect the teachers personal classroom. The most important thing is to establish classroom procedures on the first day. Earning respect from your students is very important, especially in a school where there is not much respect given to the administration. Creating a good network/community with your fellow teachers is very important. Having a support system right outside your door can be of great help. A great piece of advice to follow, which I can see being an issue with such an incompetent administration, is keeping your mouth shut about your administration. Remember there are ears everywhere, and talking about the administration can be detrimental to earning respect with others, and possibly detrimental to your job. Always keep a positive community within your classroom, and within your fellow teachers. Hopefully the good vibes, will continue throughout the school, and only bring the administration to a higher level.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Jul 23, 2014 11:45pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We can only change our self, we can not change others. To establish a positive environment, a teacher must first establish boundaries within the classroom, e.g. providing rules and expectations. Reinforcing any action that you say that your are going to do will show the students that you are a person of your word, this will help develop a respect with your students. Lead by example, hopefully the administration can see the positive results from your room and will want to follow your example.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Jul 23, 2014 11:58pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In order to create a positive atmosphere within a school where the administration is incompetent, a teacher must be active and persistent in his goals to teach his students. He must assert himself within his classroom by sharing his expectations and classroom rules. He must also model the behavior he expects from his students. This means being able to control emotions, being charismatic, having a positive attitude, etc. Further than that, a teacher has to create a safe environment within his classroom. Such an environment is positive, supportive, engaging, and it is a place where a student can learn effectively. A teacher has the ability to create stability within the lives of his students regardless of the world outside of the classroom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Jul 23, 2014 10:59pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One of the most powerful things a teacher can do in his or her class is establish rapport with his/her students. Communicate with your students about what you expect in your class, and if they are failing to meet those expectations, then it is your responsibility first to understand why they are not following your guidelines. Sometimes being an ear to these students can bring about the change you wish to see because they see you as someone who wants to help instead of someone who wants to punish them. If you feel that the administration is failing the students or even you, you may be limited in their support but you are not helpless. You can communicate with the student, and communicate with their parents. You can at least open the door to communication. Parent’s may be frustrated with the administration as well, and you may be a welcomed presence if you approach them from the standpoint of wanting to help their child instead of wanting to punish their child. And for the child, if you let them know that you want to understand them so that they can improve, they may be more open to performing or behaving well in your class.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Jul 24, 2014 12:09am

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Even if the school you are teaching in has an incompetent administration, I believe the best way to establish a positive culture of respect and learning is to lead by example. Let the administration see how you handle your classroom and how you show regard for your fellow colleagues. My hope would be that the administration takes notice of the culture being demonstrated and others start to follow suit. If anyone is ever faced with this challenge in their career, I hope we all attempt to become leaders that others can look to for guidance. Change has to start somewhere. We just need to take the initiative to become the proper model that others can follow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Oct 9, 2014 11:37am

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                People have a desire for good things. An apathetic teacher may dislike her students, can’t figure out how to have them behave, wonders why most of them are all doing poorly and wonders why this is a recurring theme from year to year. New blood with a fiery passion can do a lot of good to the teachers who have decided it isn’t worth it to try any more if the administration is apathetic. With their own intrinsic desire to excel, the new teach with passion, along with their interaction, talking about the administration (perhaps deciding that everything must rest on the teachers of the school) can spark something. The collective effort of the teaching staff can accomplish much. If passion does not do anything, standing up for the students will. The staff may need a firm reminder that education is about the students.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Oct 26, 2014 9:53am

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If administration isn't helpful, take control yourself. Take control yourself anyway! Set the tone and expectations for your students and accept nothing less. What you tell your students regarding expectations, and what you ALLOW them to do cannot be different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Oct 27, 2014 9:01pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think that it all starts with respect for yourself and others. Just because the administration can be difficult (or not willing to do their job) doesn't mean you still can't achieve effective learning. I think some good starting points would be to prove to your students and other co-workers that you are a professional in every way. You can establish a classroom community of respect by sticking to your classroom rules and punishing/rewarding based upon behavior. I think they key here is to not play favorites with students and to do what you say. For example, if one of your students talks in class but is all together a "good student" you should stink write that student up for a particular behavior. If you have a classroom rule, it should apply to everyone. Even if you think students dont observe little things like this, they really do! I think you can also encourage respect and a successful learning experience by taking a genuine interest in your students. After all, you should be in this business because you like kids and want to help them grow to be successful. I think allow kids P.A.T. time you can give them a privilege that can be earned as a class (community) by giving and receiving respect. As for dealing with administration, I would document, document, document every incident that takes place. If the situation warrants and you feel confident enough, I would go speak with someone above them such as the superintendent!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Oct 27, 2014 9:42pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When a student enters your classroom, you are the person they see as the authority. You are the example they will follow. Your actions, attitude, kindness, and values are what establish the atmosphere in that room. A happy, enthusiastic, kind, teacher gains the trust and confidence of the students. Yes, there are administrators that are very apathetic, belligerent, and incompetent, but you as the classroom teacher can make a difference in each life you work with during the day. The student's never need to hear your opinion of the administration if it is bad, they will hear that from the public. In your room, you set the rules, guiding everything that happens. Instill in your students, enthusiasm, happiness, and a desire to learn. Teach them to love to learn. These qualities "rub off" on other students. If you make learning fun, and stay positive, it will have a huge impact on the students no matter what the administration is like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Some of my favorite people to study are Martin Buber, and Aristotle. Both men believed in honesty, treating other's they way you want to be treated and treating people as valued human beings. That is what I believe also, and that is how I would treat my students, in spite of incompetent administration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Oct 29, 2014 5:01pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It is so important to build rapport with students. Get to know them, not just in terms of their tests scores, but also their interests, quirks, goals, family situation, etc. Plan activities that are engaging for your students. Show an interest in them beyond the four walls of your classroom by going to games, chatting with them outside of the classroom, asking about how an event was over the weekend. Make frequent contact with parents, and as much as possible, share something positive with them. Be clear with your expectations and be fair and consistent. When students see that you care about them, they will be less likely to create a lot of issues in the classroom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Oct 30, 2014 5:48pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Unfortunately, teachers have little control over the administration’s attitude and behavior. However we do have control over our own classrooms in the ways that we teach. If the teacher is doing everything he or she can to develop a positive environment in the classroom, it will show in the students. It is truly sad when a school’s administration is apathetic, but I think student apathy is worse. Our priority should be motivating our students. Of course when the students are motivated to learn it will show in their work, once a teacher can provide evidence of how their ideas are working in their classrooms, the administration may be more open to hear them out. Also I recommend for teachers to reach out to their colleagues in collaboration and support. Who knows, other teachers may feel the same way and the more and more teachers who are bringing about innovation in the classroom successfully, the more interested the administration will become. Of course if it gets to the point where the administration becomes detrimental to the students’ learning the teacher needs to be prepared to fight for his/her students because we should be number one advocates even when no one else is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Oct 31, 2014 1:05pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I must always ask "what is MY part in this?" I must always do MY job and do it to the ultimate BEST of my ability. I believe it is important to have a support team outside of my job, people who care and encourage me to be my best where I can vent honestly and sort things out to know where my responsibilities are and how I can be better. I think that reflection is very important in developing a positive culture. It is very hard without administration backing you, but it is still possible for a teacher to remain positive and what better opportunity to practice what you preach in a situation like this?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Oct 31, 2014 1:55pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's been said, but it bears repeating: like most things in life, it is what you make of it. You may be in a less than ideal situation. You can choose to either continue on and reinforce that less than ideal situation, or you can take what you have and put whatever positive spin on it you can. Maybe that simply means showing enthusiasm for what you teach so that students will be enthusiastic about learning it, while their other teachers or administrators simply go through the motions. Despite what goes on in administration or in other classrooms, it is up to you to make the class worthwhile, the environment positive, the subject engaging.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Nov 1, 2014 12:33pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A teacher facing these types of adversities definitely has a long, hard road ahead of them. The only option is to press forward and keep an extremely positive attitude. The teacher has to remember that, although the administration supervises them, the students are the "boss". You are there for the students and it is your job to make sure they have the opportunity to receive the best education you can possibly give them. The students will be able to pick up on the outside issues with the administration or other teachers when they see a good teacher's approach to education and how it should be done. When this happens, they should fall right into place and hopefully give the teacher their best. As for the administration side of things, the teacher should take initiative and work hard to try and change all the things that are possible. Change starts with the first person. One may make some waves and some enemies but in the long run it will be well worth it if you can get people to change for the better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Nov 1, 2014 5:22pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As teachers, we have lead by example. If we want our students to treat our classroom as a community of respect and learning, we have to treat them with respect. We should be build rapport with our students, respect them, be consistent, encourage our students to pursue avenues of interest that expand their knowledge, and be firm with them when it is needed. When teaching, we should could consider the needs of various learners and be prepared to make changes as needed. We cannot expect every day, every student and every lesson to be the same. We have to continuously encourage our students to be the best they can be and encourage their educational growth, while also growing as a teacher. We have to remember that some days, we are the only smiling face or positive influence they will encounter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Nov 2, 2014 10:44am

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Unfortunately this type of administration exists in schools and at one point or another all teachers have to deal with some sort of resistance. However, our main focus as teachers should be our students. Teachers should be doing everything they possibly can to create a positive learning environment. Our priority should be our classroom and discovering the best methods to help our students be successful. If a teacher can show and demonstrate the methods that are making their students successful, often times the administration is more open to new ideas and policies. Nevertheless, if the administration is still not responsive, it might become necessary for a teacher to back up their decisions with evidence. This is where keeping detailed notes and records comes in handy because teachers are able to prove the positive growth that is happening in the classroom is because of new practices in the classroom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Nov 2, 2014 12:11pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      By establishing trust, a teacher can assert themselves in establishing a positive culture of respect and learning in a school that has less than desirable administration. Teachers have to start with things they can control, which is their own classroom. By opening up the lines of communication and trust with students within their classroom, there becomes feeling of being heard. Establishing a positive culture involves students feeling like teacher care about what they think and feel. Students want to be part of making their school better. Bringing everyone together, i.e. students, teachers, staff, parents/guardians, and the community, to create a shared vision of the kind of positive culture they want increases the likelihood that the vision will actually be carried out. It may seem like a lot of work, but the benefits of a positive school culture out-weigh the time and effort required. Positive school culture of respect and learning can bring the joy and fun back into teaching and learning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Nov 2, 2014 5:39pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At some point, even though there may be many obstacles in the way, you have to take responsibility and say this is my classroom, I want it to be a positive environment, and it will be such. Once you do that you have to follow through with actions, not just words. I think teachers have to make students believe they are there for them and that they truly want them to learn and succeed. This is even more important in an overall apathetic environment where a student may not be getting any other form of encouragement regarding their learning. While this may be a daunting task I think it does come down to the teacher and the teacher alone. In some circumstances you have to keep your head up and keep moving forward eventually the work will pay off. I think also letting students know, repeatedly, that whatever happens in other classes or outside your classroom you still care as their teacher.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Nov 2, 2014 6:52pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The attitudes of staff members can make or break a school district. Administrators that are apathetic, belligerent and/or incompetent can make things harder for teachers and students. Teachers need to keep a positive attitude while dealing with situations that are out of their hands. It’s important for teachers to build rapport with students and to show them common courtesy. Some children deal with dysfunctional family issues on a daily basis and school may be the only place where they feel welcome and safe. Teachers become role models who guide students to success. Sometimes administrators may not be aware of their incompetency or negativity.It’s easy for teachers to blame administrators for all the things that aren't happening in their school districts, just like its easy for administrators to blame teachers for poor test scores from students. As educators, we need to focus on the needs of our students and to try our best at making those needs happen. It’s important for us to be confident in what we teach, show respect to those around us, and to establish a dynamic and engaging learning environment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          “Respect is not the equivalent to 'liking' a student or teacher; it is the ability to have a high regard for the role of another. In order to receive respect, we should demonstrate it first...”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ― Tanya R. Liverman, Memoirs of an Educarer: An Inspiration for Education

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Nov 2, 2014 7:35pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Without meaning to sound too simplistic, perhaps the best thing a teacher can do is to follow the advice of Nike's advertising from a few years ago: "Just Do It." Regardless of the environment at the school that the administration has either fostered or allowed, we must remember something we tell our students on a daily basis: we are responsible for our own actions. How we choose to interact with our colleagues and our students ultimately says more about us than it does them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Family systems adherents speak of self-differentiation -- of asserting our own boundaries, of taking responsibility for ourselves (as opposed to blaming or trying to fix everyone else), and for remaining engaged and involved in the family system. We can expect resistance to the disruption in the family system when we begin to differentiate ourselves from it. This is the system's attempt to return to the status quo and thereby restore equilibrium. However, if one resists this pressure to abandon differentiation, then family systems theory tells us all members of the system will engage in a differentiating process of their own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In this instance the modeling of a positive culture of respect and education may help to bring about changes throughout the school. Even if it doesn't however, it is that much more important that we remain firm in our resolve to do so. Our students will benefit from it. The school will benefit from it. The world will benefit from it. More importantly, everyone deserves a place where they are respected and can learn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Nov 2, 2014 10:08pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My first concern is directing the student toward taking pride in the action or work that got them the attention instead of just the attention. Teaching the students how to self-monitor is really a series of small steps that work well with discipline and praise. The simple act of observing and notating one’s behavior and comparing to an external goal can result in improvement for all students in a variety of areas. This plays into the ultimate goal of truly preparing your students for the world after school.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Another tactic that plays into my subject area of theatre production work, is the idea of taking pride in one’s work. This external requirement can motivate them to push themselves internally if given the freedom to create something that stimulates them. I want my students to take pride in their work. It should be more than just another project; they should relish the freedom given to leave their mark on the classroom environment. By scaffolding them from easy, creative projects, to challenging, practical designs, you can give them a solid sense efficacy. Assigning stimulating projects that give them some kind of choice makes the assignment the treat if done right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Nov 2, 2014 10:24pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I can say that if I find myself in this situation I will have to remove myself from that situation as soon as possible. I would definitely recommend documenting everything also known as covering your butt. I would say that I would still stand my ground and be the teacher I would be in an organization that has a supportive administration. The students deserve to be taught to do what is right and respect authority. The students cannot learn if the environment is completely disruptive. So handling discipline in the class would probably be best,if possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Nov 2, 2014 9:57pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is a tough question. The example of respect and rapport typically comes from the top down, so that can be tricky. I think that it does come down to the expectations you have for yourself and your classroom. What kind of environment do you want and what are you willing to do to get that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The standard that you set in your classroom from the beginning is what students will come to expect. If from the beginning you recreate a mutually respectful environment, then that is what you will get. I mean you will always a few that don't act that way, but generally students will be respectful. Set expectations early and follow through with consequences. That is the best way to establish respect in your classroom, regardless of the rest of the school.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Nov 2, 2014 10:59pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Once the door closes you have a CHOICE: 1) Create an engaging learning environment where the students want come to class every day because you treat them with respect, dignity, and expect something more than the status quo; or 2) fall in line and do as you are told.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    CHOOSE #2 and you may well have a relative easy time outside the classroom (and maybe within) because you aren't "stirring the pot," or "causing trouble," You come to class every day, navigate lesson plans, nod your head in the teacher's lounge, and go home. You occasionally show a softer side (after November 1st) and the students see you for what you've become - just like everyone else – forgettable!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    CHOOSE #2 and you commit to being are a difference maker in the lives of your students. The students’ needs impact your lesson planning. You may not be particularly popular in the teacher's lounge or the front office. You probably cry yourself to sleep many times because your heart aches for your students. However, you don’t allow those who CHOSE to be average (or below) to keep you from your responsibility of showing your students how a difference maker looks, sounds, and acts. You engage your students with genuine interest and they see you for what you've become – unforgettable!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    CHOOSE carefully.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Nov 3, 2014 10:54pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If a teacher is passionate about creating a positive environment in their classroom, they stand by that, and they do they everything in their power to make that happen, students will gradually begin to jump on board. It only takes one. Overtime administrators will notice, and they will stand by you as well. I believe the main reason administrators become belligerent is from continued failure. They try so hard to make things work but see no results. After a while, they give up. Sometimes teachers must "pick-up" administrators with their passion and determination. I believe this can snow ball and great things will happen!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Nov 4, 2014 12:03am

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If a teacher is passionate about creating a positive environment in their classroom, they stand by that, and they do they everything in their power to make that happen, students will gradually begin to jump on board. It only takes one. Overtime administrators will notice, and they will stand by you as well. I believe the main reason administrators become belligerent is from continued failure. They try so hard to make things work but see no results. After a while, they give up. Sometimes teachers must "pick-up" administrators with their passion and determination. I believe this can snow ball and great things will happen!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Nov 3, 2014 11:03pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If a teacher is passionate about creating a positive environment in their classroom, they stand by that, and they do they everything in their power to make that happen, students will gradually begin to jump on board. It only takes one. Overtime administrators will notice, and they will stand by you as well. I believe the main reason administrators become belligerent is from continued failure. They try so hard to make things work but see no results. After a while, they give up. Sometimes teachers must "pick-up" administrators with their passion and determination. I believe this can snow ball and great things will happen!