To the public eye a circus tent at the carnival is filled with laughter, cotton candy, tight rope walkers, dancing bears and choreographed elephant acts. It appears that everyone is happy and working together all for the sake of igniting a smile, and listening to the gleeful giggles of children. Patrons walk out energized, high-fiving, never once questioning (or even the least bit curious of) what was really going on behind the scenes.
Education is no different. To parents, to the public, and even to students, school is (mostly) a fun place where kids can feel safe and loved. Stakeholders in education are no different than the patrons visiting the traveling carnival. Everything appears to be idyllic. Without question. Why would anyone question our profession since it appears storybook quality anyway?
In our upcoming book, "Escaping the School Leader's Dunk Tank", we use the analogy of a carnival to expose the political elephants in the room with detail and candor. We also use the analogy of being on the platform of a dunk tank. We included numerous detailed personal narratives from school leaders across the nation that have survived the "Dunk Tank" curve balls thrown as they sat on the "Dunk Tank" platform of their own school district. The latter half of the book outlines specific strategies that will help you navigate behind the scenes of our profession. Every day a new educator reaches out to us and shares their "Dunk Tank" story. These are good people with good hearts that fell victim to failed leadership. (see some of their stories featured on R&R on www.schoolleadersnow.com)
After the show ends and patrons leave, the elephants are forced back in their cages, locked up, and left to repeat the cycle of putting on another "show". They aren't allowed to add expression or input in designing the next act, or even shown compassion or love, but rather must abide by the trainers commands and succumb to scolding if they aren't right in line. From corrupt school boards, to egocentric district personnel to school administrators, nobody is immune to sitting on the "Dunk Tank" platform at some point in their career.
We have learned from our own personal experiences, from our fellow "Dunk Tank" victims nationwide, and from the many inspiring educational leaders in force. We have learned that it is possible to navigate the political waters of injustice and come out stronger than when we fell in. Our hope is to prevent current and future educational leaders from entering this metaphorical "Dunk Tank" and equip everyone with the knowledge, strategies and skill set to navigate the system, "Dunk Free."
We are on the release countdown and within weeks we hope to reach as many school leader's as possible that are drowning. It is long overdue in education. We must let the elephants out of their cages so they can roam free!
We hope you will join us on our quest to save school leader's everywhere. Our kids deserve it!