Tenure for elementary teachers
In our country we talk a lot about how little teachers get paid and how hard their jobs are, but we do not do much to change this. Say "Tenure" to many people and they think of old teachers that are lousy but can not be fired. Remember the saying about walking in another man's shoes? Well, I would like to tell you a hypothetical story to shed some light on the sacrifices some of our teachers make just to do their job.
Most college graduates who find a job, sign a contract, have a yearly evaluation and unless there is a problem, they continue to have the job. This is not the case for many teachers.
Our story starts with you graduating from college and looking for your first job. If you are hired it will be by a particular school district. So you must apply online with any of the more than 42 school districts you are hoping to work for in Blue Mountain County.
Let's say you are fortunate to get a reading specialist job with school district #1. In February when the "pink slips" go out to all non tenured teachers you of course get one. This means unless you are given a contract in June, you are unemployed as of the last day of school. Remember your health insurance is tied to the job you no longer have. So you wait out the summer checking online to see if you get offered a job. Now the quandary begins. Do you apply to other school districts in the county just in case. Let's say you do.
School District 2 offers you a job as a "full time" substitute to fill in for a teacher on pregnancy leave. At the end of October you are offered the job full time. When you are finally told to come down to the school district offices to sign a contract, you find out that you are not going to get backpay even though you have been The Full Time Teacher. You were paid as a substitute. You are excited to have a job and sign the papers.
In January you apply for the following year in your "Dream" school. They like you but tell you to come back in a few years.
Then the PINK SLIPS arrive and you are off looking for a job again. Note that all the teachers who have received PINK SLIPS are still working for four more months knowing that they are probably out of a job. Your Principle tells you how much he admires your work, but his hands are tied because the School District does the hiring. The School District tells you they cannot hire teachers until August when they know the number of students attending each school.
So in August you get a job at School District 3 right at the start of school, which means you have to move all of your teaching supplies, including books, wall posters, etc. into the new room in a day and be ready to teach on Monday. You do not have keys yet for the copy machine and so you pay to make the copies you will need. You have either purchased or made all of the supplies you have in your room. You must make lesson plans to turn into the Principle even though changes in the curriculum are made continually and you were not able to attend the teacher training since you were not yet HIRED.
You now work for the school with the most students under the poverty level. The good news is the school gets lots of funding. The bad news is you are treated like you do not know how to teach. You are told you can not speak for more than 2 minutes without prior approval and someone comes into each classroom constantly to monitor everything. This school is under a microscope since they did not raise enough test scores last year to meet the criteria for "No child left behind". Now you learn about "teaching to the test". Your job may depend on it.
Oh! When you are called down to the district offices to sign your contract you find out this school district did not count the previous 2 years you taught in the other school districts.
So each year you teach and wait for that PINK SLIP to arrive in January. You still have to clear out your classroom and go without insurance and wait out the summer hoping to get hired, which you are.
Then instead of a PINK SLIP you get a letter offering you Tenure. Finally you have a job year round and full time insurance.
Now you have continued to call your "Dream" school every January. After 8 years of teaching, they call you and offer you a job, but it is August and your school has already started. Your principle is happy for you and even says she will mention it to the school district. But wait, the school district says you are under contract now and will not let you leave. Seems you have done too good a job raising test scores. They do not want to loose you. You hire a lawyer and spend two weeks between two schools. Luckily the Dream school started a few weeks later.
You get released from your contract and begin teach a class of 35 fourth grade students, with no assistant.
Now you know what I am going to say. You lost your tenure to take this job. But you love the job and having to clear out your room in June and hope to get offered a contract is worth it.
Congratulations! Ten years into teaching you are rewarded with "Tenure" again.! You deserve it.
Can you imagine getting a pink slip at your job every January and then hoping to get rehired again? You do not make much money, have no planning periods, your training must be done on vacation days, you have to go in on some Sundays and you always have to bring work home with you. Oh! don't forget checking and answering the online portal every night that you have for your 35 students.
So the next time you see a teacher, please thank them and congratulate them if they were lucky enough to get tenure.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU TEACHERS FOR ALL YOU DO!
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