This has been on my mind a lot lately as I recently spoke to Ari’s first grade teacher, who just wrote a book and does not want to return to teaching. He is a phenomenal teacher, human being and was beloved by his colleagues and students, including my son, who misses seeing him at the school.
He is also a trilingual Latino male with decades of teaching experience, a rarity that is so needed in our schools!
All of this was fresh on my mind as I waded through a cesspool of anti-teacher comments in a USA Today story co-authored by the leaders of the National Education Association and Teach for America. There were gems like this one:
Best way to imporve the quality of teachers…fire about 1/3 to 1/2 of them because they are terrible teachers….Many of the teachers now employed as teachers would have a difficult time finding another job elsewhere.
Really, dude? From what I have seen, many people don’t stick with the profession because they can get more money and respect elsewhere. See Ari’s teacher as an example.
There were a lot of issues with the USA Today article, which was about how teacher preparation was key for exceptional teacher performance in the classroom. As Teacherken at Daily Kos pointed out, Teach for America certainly has no legs to stand on as it invests only five weeks of preparation for new teachers, and usually, these folks are out and in the private sector after two years on the job. Why invest in new teachers if they aren’t going to stick with the profession? This seems like a bad investment, and also bad for our kids who get attached to teachers to only see them leave a year or two later.
From what I have seen at our now six-year-old school, teacher — and staff! — stability is essential for the stability of a school, but also creates a sense of permanence and community at the school. I would hate for this teacher-bashing to scare away some of the best members of our community.
How important is teacher stability to you?