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Bridging the Admin-Teacher Gap

Responsibilities across all levels of a school - admin, teachers, and students alike - quickly add up and compound throughout a school year.


Before the first day of an academic school year, a school's curricula and resources are distributed and facilities and needed resources prepared for incoming staff. Classrooms are neatly organized and resources prepared for incoming students. Administrators work through logistics and school-wide expectations for their staff. Teachers work through curricula and classroom expectations for their students. When teachers request resources or clarification, administration does everything they can to fulfill the request in a timely manner. When admin needs staff to abide by a request to complete a task, staff abide so everyone can move forward in preparing for that first day of school. Responsibilities are clearly defined and understood - admin provide for teachers while teachers prepare to provide for students.


Then students arrive.


Some students arrive knowing their own general role and responsibilities as a student - some don't. Some students arrive with necessary resources - some don't. Some students arrive with every intention of abiding by the requests of teachers for the sake of all moving forward in learning throughout the school year - some don't. Complications begin to take shape as students begin to recognize the differences in their teacher's expectations toward teacher-student roles and responsibilities may or may not overlap with their own. Relationships begin to form as teachers and students work through these complications.


While the admin-teacher roles and responsibilities were clear and understood before the first day of school, those same roles and relationships may becomes strained and misconstrued as

the teacher-student relationships begin to form. These developing teacher-student relationships can quickly put into question the roles, responsibilities, and availability for resource distribution that administrators and teachers understood prior to the first day of school.


In this article, I first look at how the state of California defines teacher and administrator expectations. This is followed by looking at how admin and teachers juggle so many responsibilities with limited time and a variety of energy levels. Finally, I look at how responsibility and trust relate before finally looking at how admin and teacher expectations overlap in ways that may build a better basis for communication of roles and responsibilities.


State Expectations for Teachers & Admin

In California, there are Teacher Performance Expectations (TPEs). These standards "establish additional expectations that are of greatest importance in teaching students at distinct stages of child and adolescent development" (source). It is common for teachers in California to be evaluated based on the expectations; ongoing discussion and feedback regarding teacher performance are often based on these standards which are organized into six domains:


TPE A: Making Subject Matter Comprehensible to Students

TPE B: Assessing Student Learning

TPE C: Engaging and