Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tenure Schmenure

Tenure.  What a joke...though it does kinda rhyme with manure. I have tenure but no class to go to in September.  I have been observed and given an S rating each and every year yet I, like so many others, do not have a teaching assignment.  Tenure does not guarantee a classroom assignment; hell, tenure doesn't even guarantee your contractual rights.  See the most recent post in the Assailed Teacher blog. This point has been brought home to me during my most recent induction in the  renowned Absent Teacher Reserve.  In truth, I'm still kind of scratching my head and wondering how in the world did this so called "excessing" happen. I always thought of teaching as a worthwhile career and even though I did not enter the profession until much later in life, I considered the safeguards and benefits afforded by the UFT as essential to a profession that did not pay all that well. I believed that once I found my "home", the trajectory would be upward...ever learning, ever improving.  If you did your job well, your position was secure.  After all, we understood that experience is good for a teacher's growth and development and as you increased your value as an educator, there would be all the more reason to keep you at your job.  But apparently this is not the case. Oh sure, textbooks and teacher education classes and academic journals will all extol the irrefutable evidence of the value of experienced teachers in the classroom but when it comes down to making a hiring decision, well, that is another matter .  All of a sudden, the value of experience falls off the table and the only consideration is the mandate to stay within the school budget.  Tenure means you have put in years of hard work and learned from your mistakes  and once you have achieved tenure your teaching has really begun.You can begin to look ahead instead of looking over your shoulder.  In a way, tenure meant that you have arrived as a professional in a demanding yet personally rewarding career. But wait!  Something has happened, a magician came and made tenure disappear.  Well, it's not really fed to us like that, I mean the value that tenure connotes has been stripped of any consequence.  This ATR is the magician's trick whereby rights are made to disappear with smokey mirrors.  We just saw the drastic reduction in the number of teachers given tenure this term which would be an alarming issue if the designation meant anything.  To those who received their tenured status: beware, your position is not secured; in fact, by gaining experience in your field and increasing your value you are seriously jeopardizing your job.  Tenure? Tenure Schmenure.


  1. Keep up the great work.Love the new blog!

  2. Even after you have "tenure"--and ESPECIALLY after you have it--you have to constantly look over your shoulder. A school district can get rid of you very, very easily. Don't ever think otherwise. Administrative law is heavily rigged in administrators' favor. Meanwhile, it is virtually impossible to fire a principal.

  3. Yes, I know and the value of tenure is decreased even more...after all, it was all tenured teachers who have ended up on the ATR heap. Miss Crabtree from the Lil Rascals would be very disappointed.