It seems to me that teachers come to their classrooms as ‘masters’ of their field. They know their material and how best to learn it, and so it isn’t exactly their job to build the larger relationships of the institution. The relationships teachers create come in the bond between themselves and their students over the subjects they teach, relationships that can be powerful, meaningful, and free of coercion if allowed to flower. Teachers usually love their subject, but the system prevents them from actually using that positivity to good effect. They have this incredibly powerful community tool that they aren’t really allowed to use to build strong and meaningful relationships with their students, partly because they are forced to demand a kind of meaningless ‘mastery’ (that just ends up being an even more meaningless ‘adequacy’) from every student in the class.
The larger social picture must come from the administration and school leadership — it must be Institutional. What is happening now, in schools, is administration trying to direct the actual education aspect — through testing, data collection, curriculum management, and so on. We need admin OUT of classrooms and IN the hallways and between students.