Following the Chain of Command

One of the first things that you should learn when you begin a new teaching assignment is your chain of command. In other words, find out the name of not only your direct supervisor, but that person's direct supervisor as well, and so on, all the way to the principal. Once you know what your chain of command is, you can follow it when you have issues or problems. If you do not follow this chain, you will quickly cause problems for yourself.

For a Very Good Reason

Following the chain of command is important because you work more closely with those supervisors directly above you than with those at the top. If you have a problem, you should discuss it with your direct supervisor first. This gives your supervisor the opportunity to resolve your problem without sending it any further up the chain of command.

If you do not allow your supervisor to at least try and resolve your issue, you are sending a message that you do not trust that he will do what is in your best interest. This proverbial “slap in the face” will lead to hard feelings when the person above your supervisor reports back to him and asks why he did not solve your problem before it got escalated.

If you go to your direct supervisor and she ignores your problem, then you have full rights to go to her supervisor. However, you should realize that when you do, you will probably cause some hard feelings with your supervisor. Make sure that the issue you are dealing with is truly an important one that justifies going further up the chain of command.

When Not to Follow the Chain

With that said, there are times that you should not follow the chain of command. For example, if you have an ethical issue dealing with your direct supervisor, it only makes sense to go directly above him with the problem.

Similarly, if each member of your administration has different focuses, you would go directly to the individual who is in charge of the area where you have a concern. For example, if you have a testing issue, you would go to the assistant principal in charge of testing, instead of your direct supervisor. In the end, it's best to use your common sense when you are dealing with issues and problems to guide you to the correct person for your situation.

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