Montana Catholic Schools Weekly

November 16, 2014

Spinning Our Wheels

With the onset of colder weather, I have begun taking a spinning class once or twice a week at the health club. While spinning today with my 4th different instructor, I began to think about how the health club measures the effectiveness of its spinning instructors. As a side note, please note that I was engaging in the type of creative thinking about work outside of the work environment mentioned in the article entitled “How Your ‘Always Busy’ Pace is Ruining Your Decision-Making” that can be found below.

I would imagine that the health club doesn’t evaluate its instructors. I doubt that an instructor receives any feedback other than the number of “students” who take his/her class. It’s literally “voting with their seats.” The club probably takes a look at which classes are popular and offers more classes to that instructor and drops unpopular instructors from the rotation. Or the club assumes that instructors will drop out themselves when they detect they are losing popularity.

This "customer service" model is designed to be reactive to customer complaints as opposed to assuming a responsibility to be better.

How many principals do the same? Do they assume that parents will request that their students be removed from a poor teacher? That teachers will lose interest in teaching at that school once they figure out that they are unpopular? Or when a principal subsequently assigns a teacher to a less-than-desirable position, the teacher will leave to find a new job? Or that things will just take care of themselves and we’ll all ignore the deficiencies and make it through the year? Don't our students deserve better?

At the club, all the spinning instructors would benefit from feedback. One should hear that her music is played so loud that I simply cannot hear her instructions. Another gives strange, indecipherable instructions like “turn it up!” What does that mean? Another instructor yells and grunts so loud it’s distracting and at times, disturbing. One instructor is a teacher at heart. She tells us what the workout is going to be, explains how to read the numbers on our computers, and explains step by step how we are reaching the goal. She deserves to know that she is delivering a great lesson. And other instructors need to know why she is successful.

Our students deserve the best instruction they can receive. Not because their parents are paying tuition, not because those same parents might be complaining. Our students deserve the best instruction simply because they are ours.

We are just getting through parent-teacher conferences and the first quarter of the year. Some of them are coasting, some are disappointed in their performance, and some of them are highly discouraged.

Now is the time to deliver feedback to your teachers to improve their teaching and uplift their spirits. Focus on what they are doing well and the little ways they can improve.

Dr. Tim Uhl

The Week Ahead

Monday: office (Helena)

Tuesday: Missoula Regional Principal meeting @ Loyola-Sacred Heart (10-2). Principals should look for a separate email with information

Wednesday: Great Falls Principal meeting 10-2 @Great Falls Central Catholic

Thursday: Billings principal meeting 10-2 @St. Patrick Administration Center

Friday: office (Helena)

Saturday: state championship football game (Dillon @ Butte Central)

Next week: 960 miles

Last week: 230 miles

This year: 13,162

Great Falls Study Commission

There is a link on our website ( to all information related to our Great Falls Study Commission. Agendas, study materials, and minutes will all be posted there.
Where the Hell is Matt? 2012

American Catholic News

Last week, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) met.

De La Salle Blackfeet

The latest newsletter from De La Salle Blackfeet school introduces the new volunteers and lists all the great schools who take part in their immersion program:

Students Evangelizing their parents

It's only one article, but the study finds that parents are brought to the faith by the children:

Articles About Leadership

"How Your 'Always Busy' is Ruining your Decision-Making"

Here is the link:

Preschool Standards

Passed on November 14th, these new preschool standards will be going into effect next July with or without funding of universal pre-K:

Teaching Resources

Fractions in the Common Core

Here's a great video explaining the Common Core approach to teaching fractions:

Random, Miscelleneous, and/or Interesting Articles

For the Heroes: A Pep Talk From Kid President