Thursday, June 17, 2010

Teacher Turmoil

One of the biggest pluses about the elementary school Youngest attends is that the teachers arrive at the school and seem to stay forever. In the eight years I've had children there, I think only two teachers have left for other gigs. Another three have retired. There are a total of 22 teachers.

As bad luck would have it, on the last day of school, I found out that the teacher I had requested Youngest have in third grade took a position at the district office. I actually cried because, damn, Youngest needs continuity. He needs to know his teacher. And he needs to have the right fit.

There are four classes in third grade. One will have a new teacher. Two are taught by teachers who have been at the school a long time. The final class is taught by two teachers, one who works 60% and one who works 40%.

Both older kids had this team. I like this team. They're both good teachers and they did well by my older two. The primary reason I didn't request them? Youngest knew the now-departed teacher because she had been the teacher of the two older kids when she taught fourth grade.

The secondary reason I didn't request them? Because one of them had asked me to write a letter of recommendation for her a couple of months ago, so I wasn't sure what would happen. Would she leave? Would the other then switch grades or also leave?

I didn't want to chance the unknown.

And here I am now, facing the unknown.

That's the back story. And, in the immortal words of the late Paul Harvey: here's the rest of the story.

I was getting ready for the big pool party Friday morning when the 40% teacher called me. She was on her way to deliver her signed contract to become a teacher in another school district. She was livid at how she had been treated by the new principal and by the district office.

When the now-departed teacher said she was going to the district office, the 60% teacher was approached and made a full-time teacher, leaving the 40% teacher in need of a new team member.

But what that 40% teacher had been trying to do for months was also become a full-time teacher, making it known that was what she wanted. A second grade teacher was retiring, and she wanted that position.

She didn't get it. A fourth grade teacher got it instead. How did she find out? When it was announced to everyone.

So when the now-departed teacher said she was leaving, and the 60% teacher was given a full-time position, the 40% teacher said, "I'll do that, too."

Instead of giving it to her outright, as they'd done with her teammate, they told her she'd have to interview for it.

Interview for a job she essentially already has.

I guess it's at that point that you learn to read the dry erase marker on the white board: you're not wanted here.

So she took the job she'd been offered by the other district, making, by the way, $10,000 more each year. She's a good teacher. She's warm and engaging and encouraging. She'd be the type of teacher you'd want your kids to have.

Apparently, she's not the type of teacher our principal or HR director wants.

6 comments:

Tara R. said...

Admins should be fighting to keep the good teachers, instead they run them off and replace them with autobots. I'm not bitter... much.

mayberry said...

Our school lost an AMAZING, WONDERFUL teacher this year because of seniority (she had none). SO frustrating. Thanks a lot, union. Surely there are a few other factors we can consider when laying people off?!

This is also how we got stuck with a lame PE teacher instead of the good one we had before.

Can you tell you struck a nerve?! gah!

Patois said...

Oh, yeah, I've struck a nerve, all right! Ditto both you and Tara. Seriously? The new world order at our school is one of FU.

Stillie said...

The good teachers leave because they deserve better than the BS politics and hostile climate, but the politics are BS and the climate is hostile because it takes sex with a student or something that severe to actually fire a teacher. So the good ones get annoyed with all the crap and leave.

I'm still waiting for another offer, and then I'll fit right into that category as well.

I hope Youngest likes the new teacher. It sounds like, regardless of who Youngest gets, the teacher is going to be excellent, well-trained, and all-around good for your kid!

Eluciq said...

Can I say that am just amazed by the antics that school districts play...as well as local schools. It saddens me that those entities don't work hard to keep good teachers...but are so quick to toss them aside.

Sorry there is so much uncertainty for your son next school year...that really does make it hard.

hugs ♥

Jocelyn said...

The teacher shuffle/lottery each year is exhausting even from the sidelines, so I can't imagine being inside it. We had a friend who was hired at the start of each school year (part-time) and then laid off at the end of each school year for 7 years. And she's supposed to bring her best game to the classroom?

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