Wednesday, May 25, 2011


First, there is a terrible debate in education circles- "newbie" teachers and LIFO (Last In First Out) vs. tenured "master" teachers with many years experience. The later are generally vehemently opposing ridding of tenure.

I side with the former, having been in their shoes many times. I am not saying that new teachers are better than master teachers, although my allegiance to them makes people think so. But how can a teacher ever gain experience to become a master teacher if the system robs them of, well, experience? A permanent non-tenured, replaceable-as-widgets underclass is never a good thing. No wonder half of teachers leave the profession within five years. Okay so there are many reasons but back to my topic at hand here. I am not against master teachers, as I've known many great ones. My own mother was one.

I'm tired of the me vs them contention. New teachers are not all idiots, less-thans. They are also not all experts. Master teachers are not omniscient perfect-as-a-fream teachers, nor are they all, say, reading the newspaper during class, using the same lessons as 30 years ago due to burnout. It is a case by case basis. Can't we all just get along and protect teachers no matter the amount of badges...err...years they have?

Which brings me closer to my point about tenure. Rid of it. I know, some will say that I'm saying this because I don't have it so I'm jealous or misinformed or what have you. But my perspective is that you don't need tenure. Few professions have it and no one complains. People work their tails off and are rewarded or vice versa.

Oh, but administrators will take advantage of the lack of tenure and fire people they don't like and hire their buddies. Well first, doesn't this happen in the years before tenure is awarded? What about those teachers? No one ever mentions that. And even with tenure I'm sure those awarded tenure, in some cases, are "buddies".

Oh, but without tenure we'll also rid of collective bargaining I bet, and work 80 hour weeks, have abusive principals, unsafe working conditions, get fired on a whim... well thanks to unions, laws are in place for even, here it is, non-unionized people, to protect them in cases like this. If you have a true case against your boss or workplace, you can fight it, unions or not. But again, back to my point.

But...without tenure I could lose my job for the aforementioned reasons like playing favorites, not working 80 hours, etc. Revert to my last paragraph please. Additionally, as said many places don't have tenure. Get over it.

If you are truly a good teacher, without tenure, you will keep your job. If someone tries to fire you for an inane reason, they can't as there are protections against it. Without tenure, nothing changes much except a) you may have to work at keeping your job if you're told you're fired, instead of just, well, never even risking losing your job no matter what. b) tenured but "bad" teachers which are few, will be fired, and thus not taint public opinion on "tons of bad teachers in the classroom, unable to be fired".

I almost wonder, those who are all for tenure and vehemently against the loss thereof, are they scared of losing their jobs because they are truly ineffective, or are they not versed in law which exists to gasp protect your job even if non-tenured, as long as there is reason not to fire you.

I know many a good tenured teacher. So I say, rid of tenure because these teachers will keep their jobs because they're good teachers.

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