Thursday, March 4, 2010

Undercover Boss

Reality TV is one of my guilty pleasures. Oh, I don't watch just anything; I'm actually pretty discriminating in my own way. One newish show that I kind of like is Undercover Boss. The premise is that the CEO or some other high-ranking executive of a big corporation goes undercover as an entry-level new hire in some of the stores in order to get a more complete perspective on the company. How do they explain the cameras, you wonder? They tell everyone that they are filming a documentary on the newly employed and let that tape roll. Oh my.

I saw the Hooters and White Castle episodes. Who knew that both were family-owned businesses? And, consequently, since neither of the principals wanted to let their forefathers down, there were tears. I guess it shouldn't come as any shock that wealthy, white collar guys aren't very good at manual labor, but what does that say about our economy and what we value?

Fundamentally, though, I think I like the show because it reinforces one of my fondest beliefs, which is that all educators should teach. I just don't believe that there is a completely separate skill set that qualifies a person to be school administrator. Frankly, I have a hard time following the advice and guidance of anyone who hasn't done it themselves and who isn't still doing it today. In my experience, even the most rational and grounded of teachers lose perspective once they are out of the classroom. Facing a roomful of kids every single day keeps you humble and on your toes.

Hm. Those sound like the qualities of a good leader.


  1. I couldn't agree more! It seems that the longer someone is an administrator the more they forget about what life was like in the classroom.

  2. Have they lost perspective, or feel relief and guilt at having escaped?

    Somedays I wonder about my admins--esp. those who have escaped--and think they've lost touch with MY reality of the classroom.

    Great post--

  3. I wonder if kids feel the same way about their teachers, thinking they don't know what it's like to be a student, to deal with the workload. I know for myself I became much more understanding of my students' work completion problems when I started taking classes and teaching at the same time.