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I hate looking at the list this year. I know it has to be published because you never know, someone just might be waiting for their shot. And the contract (for sure) and the law (I think) say the list has to be published.

What is the list? It's a list of all the "open" positions for teachers at my school. Somebody teaching right now at the school might have the right credential and want to move into a different slot. They get first dibs, more or less. Then the jobs are published districtwide, just in case someone wants to move schools.

Oh sure, there are people teaching right now in those positions. They'll work until the last school day in June plus one more so they can fully pack up and move out. They're being let go. Pink-slipped. Set adrift. Somewhere along the line, they can reapply for a job, maybe even the one they just did for a year. This year ten jobs have opened up. At my school, that's a casualty rate of slightly more than 17%.

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Look, anybody who wants to bring up bad, incompetent teachers can just choke that back. And I'm not talking about tenure except in this single sentence.

What I'm talking about are the new teachers, overwhelmingly young teachers but not always, unjaded, full-of-energy, full-of-questions teachers who work really hard and are cut loose every year because...well, crap, I don't know why. They get a year and then new ones come in for their year, and it goes on and on as it has for quite a while.

Budget concerns? Yeah, but the number of students each year doesn't change much so the school, and the district, is going to need pretty-much the same number of teachers in the new school year. Instead of keeping people from year to year, the district has to go through the hiring process and placement process for at least a hundred people every year. Maybe two hundred.

Bad evaluations? No, practically all of them do good jobs and show promise. They don't get a chance to stick around and grow in their jobs, though. I wonder how many go find something else to do.

Bad colleagues? Oh, there are clunkers every so often, like the lawyer who thought he'd "try out" teaching science. He wouldn't listen to anybody and did incredibly stupid things like hog the copy machine for a month's worth of printing on a Monday morning. But most are nice people who are smart enough to ask about the right way to do things. New teachers should always seek out veterans.

Hey, it's good for the veterans to have the newbies around because it makes us think about what actually works. It reminds us to be team players. It reminds us to share. It freshens up conversations at lunch, in the halls and at meetings. But when you know that this new person is not going to be back- this person is not going to be a teacher-friend of yours a couple of years from now- it gets you down. You start acting cordially instead of friendly. You pull back.

It can't possibly be good for morale when so many people work together and part of them are thinking, and sometimes talking, about next year. The other part don't know if they'll have a job. Any job.

It sure doesn't help that one of the casualties became lunchtime friends with me and the other old guys. We didn't scare her off and she held her own with our daily, healthy, weirdness.

Originally posted to algebrateacher on Sat May 04, 2013 at 05:04 PM PDT.

Also republished by WYFP?.

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