Response to "The Quality School" : LUSENET : MEd Cohort III : One Thread


Upon completion of William Glasser's book entitled "The Quality School," I found myself reflecting upon the discipline procedure outlined in the handbook provided by I.S.D. #709. It has always been my fundamental belief that discipline should be defined and constructed by the students and classroom teacher. In fact the three classroom rules that I utilize are parallel to Glasser's choice theory concepts. The students are asked to define rules and procedures the first day of class. I explain that the only rules I post are BELONG, WORK, AND RESPECT. Belong, because we all belong here, working together but this will only occur if we respect one another and follow the guidelines that you create. I must admit and agree with Glasser that "effective teaching is probably the most difficult job there is." In fact, "managing people depends for its ultimate success on the cooperation of the people being managed are willing to do as the manager says, the harder the job of managing them is" (Glasser 17). This concept is especially challenging when brought into the classroom. This is evident in Glasser's statement that "Teachers are people managers, and most everyone will agree that students as workers seem to be most resistant of all to being managed" (Glasser, 17). This includes education, classroom management, and preparation.

There are many concepts that are intriguing throughout Glasser's book. It is evident that most school districts across the nation utilize boss management techniques of authority by creating rules and disciplining the workers (teachers) and students when these rules are violated. Obviously, this current trend is not working. This lack of success emulates from high drop out rates, lack of academic interest among students, truancy, and disruptive classrooms. I wonder if Glasser's ideas would work in this district? Would the Duluth School District and school board be willing to change or even read this book to gain some insight into alternative ideas about education. Change would not come without expense and I fear that our district would mistrust the redistribution of power from the few power holders to the teachers and students. Ironically, a school exists for the benefit of children but these precious individuals are cheated if they leave school rejecting teachers and education. Obviously, extensive training as suggested by Glasser would be needed to implement his ideas but would the district pay to send educators to the William Glasser Institute, Huntington Woods Elementary in Wyoming, LABBB Collaborative Middle school in Lakeland, Florida for extensive training? Unfortunately, change is often viewed with skepticism, even when the current system of education is failing for many of our students. I found myself smiling at the some of Glasser's proposals. His idea about administrators and superintendents teaching would possibly have a positive benefit on behalf of the teaching staff's morale. Numerous teachers and staff believe that administrators forget what teaching is like and how inclusive your world becomes when you are in the classroom. Glasser recommends that "the wide gap between those who teach and the administrators and consultants should be narrowed. All out-of-classroom personnel, even including the superintendent, should teach on a regular basis at least one hour a week and up to several hours a day" (Glasser, 155). This simple action could be the beginning turning point to implementing some of Glasser's ideas to create a quality school. It is assumed that teachers react with superstition towards change. This superstition is a form of protection because legislation mandates changes that are often ineffective and the very people that implement change are often unwilling to change themselves. But, if a superintendent and principal taught just one class a year this could be the catalyst needed to excite others about implementing change and improving moral. These ideas are exciting but I agree with Glasser that they should be implemented slowly...over time and understanding between colleagues and students.

-- Anonymous, November 29, 1998


I again am responding to you because you and I think so much alike. You are more elegant with your words, and I am very consice. However, I agree with your response. There was one point that was made that I should have also commented on in my response and that was the gap between those who teach and those who are at the administrative level should be narrowed. A perfect example that we are affected with right now is the High Standard and Profiles of Learning, Graduation standards and performance packages. Had the teachers, themselves, been directly involved with writing them or had the authors of the curriculum been more involved in the schools, I wonder if the same outcome would have occured. Hmmm...I doubt it. I once heard Glasser speak at a conference in Fargo about 2 years ago, and I found myself really liking his philosphies and feeling like they would be successful. Our behavior interventionist at our school now uses several of Glasser's points, especially when it comes to intrisically motivating children with behavior problems. We will talk more in class on these issues, I am sure. :) Cindy

-- Anonymous, December 14, 1998

Hi Catherine! I enjoyed reading your response, once again. Two things I'd like to know more about: your comment on constructing discipline by the students & classroom teacher. I hope you'll elaborate on that. Also, Cindy Claviter, in her response to your response (!) mentioned a counselor at her school who uses Glasser's techniques to "intrinsically motivate" students with behavior problems. Even though I read the book, I don't know what is meant by that. I liked Glasser's ideas about need-satisfying work, self-evaluating for quality, and total behavior.

-- Anonymous, December 15, 1998

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