Okay, just as promised last week, here are the last five reason why public school teachers need to have and deserve to have their right to lifetime tenure protected.
Reason No. 6 - Okay, so we did go to college and we did take a multitude of courses and studies to prepare us to best reach the youth of today. Only, we're not the child's first and primary teacher. The parent is. So what if... Whew, this is going to sound like I really do know what I'm talking about... What if the parent chooses not to raise their child as well as they should? They don't read to them when they are young, spend little time with them, let the kid do whatever he or she wants because they don't wish to upset them, or has little to no regard for the importance of an education? Then what? If these particular children perform poorly in school or are not even made to go to school daily, is the teacher to blame? We need to be protected. We deserve tenure.
Reason No. 7 - Teaching is not like other jobs. People go to work, do their thing, and receive an expected paycheck at the end of the week. That's morality. The exchange of money for services rendered is an agreed upon contract. I wonder just how many workers are prevented from performing their tasks during the normal working day? Teachers constantly have to deal with young people disrupting class, demanding attention which a busy teacher doesn't often have, and adding dramatics that usually reflects a difficult home life. We love kids. But it's hard to find time for us to meet all their needs. That was supposed to be done by their first teacher in life, their mom and dad. We are not to blame. We need to be protected. We deserve tenure.
Reason No. 8 - You may not believe this one but here goes. Not all administrators support their teaching staff. Just like in the real world, sometimes the boss doesn't like a few of his or her workers. And without that support in a climate which already is pointing at teachers as the main problem with education, things can get a mite sticky in a hurry. Teachers require discipline to control a classroom of students. When he or she has exhausted their disciplinary resources, he or she must look for assistance elsewhere. That elsewhere is usually to someone with more clout, more power to enforce the school rules. That is normally the principal or the superintendent. But what if the leadership is holding some kind of grudge against the teacher in need? Where does that help come from now? How easy would it be to make a particular teacher look bad in a classroom where there is no disciplinary support? Is that always the teacher's fault? We need to be protected. We deserve tenure.
Reason No. 9 - So what does the reader think about these low scores on the kids' state exams? Is that really the teachers' fault? We receive no guidelines to monitor what to teach, absolutely given no access to past state exams to glean test tendencies, and we are not permitted to talk about these big, bad, secret tests to anyone. Does that sound like a set-up? I have a theory. I think that the reason why the students across the United States are scoring so low on these state exams is because... There is something wrong with the tests! Oh my goodness the cat is out of the bag! The truth has now been revealed but who is really willing to hear? So if that's the case, (and it is), then how can anyone blame the teachers? We need to be protected from this kind of nonsense. Could it be that these low test scores are being used to show that today's teachers are deficient and need to be replaced? Teachers are actually evaluated on these low scores. Is that right? We need to be protected. We deserve tenure.
Reason No. 10 - Tenure is the foundation of the American Public School System. It says to students, parents, administrators, and the Board of Education that we are here for the long haul. We chose this profession because we love kids and our goal is to guide them towards success. We're not going anywhere so the students better decide to get with the plan because there is no line of replacements waiting to take over should their test scores be low. We have been granted due process under the law. We cannot just be let go because of a personality conflict or because some kids refuse to learn. We are teachers and we are going to be their teacher all year, and if they won't work and stay back to repeat the grade, well then, we will still be their teachers next year too! We are protected. And we deserve to be.