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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 14 CHAPTER ONE articulate the expectations and objectives of your organization? Do you provide clear direction? Do the teachers assess their own skills? Do you assess their skills and provide scaffolding? Patterns in behaviors and practices are likely because leaders set the tone in their organizations. Think again about the parallel process. Children cannot learn what we don’t teach them. Teachers cannot perform at their peak if we don’t give clear guidance and support. It is not just about being a role model; it is about being intentional in demonstrating what to do and how to do it. If you greet teachers every day, they are more likely to greet one another. If you give them specific affirmations on performance and assess their skills, they are more likely to know the impact of their teaching. If the answers between the two surveys do not match up nicely, there may be a disconnect between your expectations for teachers and your actions, or a disconnect between your good intentions and the systems in place to support those intentions. For example, years ago I was called in to help a center with many “behavior issues.” In this preschool setting of four-and five-year-olds, the children were not attentive and were bickering constantly. They would run out of the room despite special doorknobs to prevent them from opening the door. The center director had provided several workshops on behavior management for the teachers, but the children’s behavior was not improving. She was getting very frustrated with the teachers, and she let them know how disappointed she was in the continued behavior problems. The teachers were angry with both the director and with the “terrible” children. They started ignoring the director’s suggestions for fixing behavior because the strategies never seemed to work. They blamed families for poor parenting. They called in sick frequently and ac- cused one another of not pulling their weight. When I arrived on the scene, I was asked to fix the people—the children, the teachers, the director, and the parents. After observing the center in action, however, I noticed that the curricu- lum was designed for toddlers, not for children bound for kindergarten. The center had grown from an infant-toddler program to a center that included pre-kindergarten rooms without carefully considering a developmentally ap- propriate curriculum for older children. The activities were not engaging or stimulating for the children, and so the children acted out. The problems were ultimately caused by problems in the systems of evaluation and support: a lack of clear direction in explaining the change to pre-K; no assessment of pre-K teaching skills (the director did not know her staff wasn’t teaching to the chil- dren’s level); and no professional development geared toward a developmentally appropriate curriculum for preschoolers. The problems were not in the people. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL