I’ve had several thoughts since my last blog was posted here. Some not so nice.
Here’s what I have to say: I loyally served the district for 20 years, learned from some outstanding educators, and loved the privilege of teaching many Joplin students. I was not perfect. Never professed to be. Don’t pretend to be.
Never considered myself a McArthur, just thought that, as a human being I deserved to be treated as one. I don’t believe that someone’s title entitles them to special privileges. I don’t respect people because of their position. I respect them for the person that they are.
Apparently, some missed the point of the blog. I’m proud, by the way, of my former students who got it and recognize the problems. I’ll try to be less vague so there is no misunderstanding.
1. I did follow the direction of my superiors until I could no longer stomach the poor direction that education in Joplin was taking.
2. I do believe in standing up for what is right.
3. What you personally think of me doesn’t matter. It won’t fix what is broken. Joplin is broken. The only ones that are truly privy to this knowledge are those that work there, and they aren’t talking. Some students have put two and two together and know what goes on behind closed doors. Some parents have seen the not-so-pretty side of things. But if you have only associated socially with administrators from Joplin, you have no idea what goes on in the life of a Joplin teacher. One rule I TRY to follow: don’t criticize someone until you’ve walked a mile in their moccasins.
The bold print from the first response sums up nicely what continues to go on behind closed doors.This made me want to cry. I'm happy that Ms. Frencken was at the retirement stage so that she could escape the bullying that is so evident in R8 and at East. I wish I could join her in retirement. I love students and I love the theory of education, but the current environment is just not bearable. I keep hearing everyone say it's going to be an exciting year. When? So far it's the worst I've endured here, as there is more to do than anyone can get done, the pressure is on for improvement with nothing given to us to work with, and I'm more broke than ever. Happy retirement, Ms. Frencken, and I salute you for standing up for what is right. Perhaps if more people had, we would not have gotten into this miserable state of being.
This response made me want to cry. So, did some of the personal messages that I have received.
- I want to speak up more, but I am scared.
- I feel like I have to say yes to everything because when I have the courage to say no, I am told that they need me to do this and end up doing it any way.
- We can’t trust any of these people any more.
One comment I have heard repeatedly is that “they just need to clean house”. I couldn’t agree more. Once trust has been destroyed or even damaged, it takes more than a survey or a conversation to rebuild it. The administrators that sold out under the Huff Administration lost the respect and trust of the staff. To think that they will automatically have that trust again because of the new leadership is naïve.
- Students do not show the principals of East respect because they do not make any attempt to understand the students or make connections or even try to figure out what is going on. They just walk through the halls and stare, but never address out-of-hand discipline.
- How is a man like that able to stay in his position?
Joplin has lost over 300 teachers in three years, not to mention numerous staff members that are searching for greener pastures where bullying is not tolerated. Teachers are still in a wait and hope mode. Waiting to see what will happen. Hoping for more changes in administration. If Joplin administrators think that the problems of the past will magically disappear just because this is a new school year, they should remember the lessons of the past. Lessons like the one that the teachers at McKinley learned a couple of years ago. These teachers learned a lesson about retaliation and the rest of us received an unspoken warning. Yes, administrators , you need to remember. We still do.
Kim Frencken's book, Five Spooky Tales of Suspense is available from Amazon.com at the link below.