0040: Experienced Teachers, Used or Abused? Share your story
#edchat #teaching #SOSchat
I spend as much time as I can talking to teachers about there experiences. I’m a firm believer in the power of discourse for transformation. Sometimes the transformation is personal and sometimes it leads to systemic change. Either way, teachers must tell their stories, even if it’s to a journal or a friend.
I’ve grown increasingly concerned by my conversations with experienced teachers over the years. These teachers are full of excellent experience. They know the schools where the teach. They know the communities. Some of them have taught several generations within the community. These teachers have seen principals and policies come and go. Many of them started teaching when teachers pulled around $6000 a year. These are the tried and the true, the gluttons for punishment. They come back year after year. But, I’m not seeing them treated as the master teachers they are. I’m actually starting to see many of them really start to question why they are coming back. These experienced teachers in many places are being abused. I don’t have a statistic, but I’m running into more highly qualified, 25+ years experienced teachers being slapped with impossible improvement plans, and having excessive classroom observations that result in non-constructive criticism of their practice. For many teachers, classrooms are overcrowded and support doesn’t come when needed. Don’t get me wrong, some teachers are tired and burnt out and should retire. And, there are some teachers who don’t do there jobs. Some of them. But, there are so many who are truly professional teachers with advanced degrees, sticking it out in poor schools because they believe every child has a right to a quality education.
My practice has been made better by these “burnt out and beat up” teachers. So why are they being abused? Are they just ineffective old people? Not at all. It seems, and I may be wrong, that these teachers cost too much to employ. It’s an economic decision. I’ve heard it from the mouth a superintendent that you could hire 2 new teachers for the price of an old one. And this is true. But, is it worth throwing the experience away? Is it worth destroying a quality teacher? Money is tight in districts, but don’t abuse your greatest resources. If you’re an abused and disenfranchised teacher, young, old, or in between please share your story.
Anonymity is important. And confidence is priceless. But, silence is deadly. Please share your story with me— here or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please don’t be silent. Teachers should be valued.