Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Getting Them To Stay

I was listening to the radio last week and the commentator was talking about the "bad teachers" in inner-city schools.  He had recently seen "Waiting for Superman" (which I haven't seen). He went on and on about teacher's unions protecting all the clock-punching bad teachers infesting our poorest performing schools.

I teach at an inner-city school.  I am sure it is nothing quite as rough as a Chicago, DC, or Detroit; but we have our issues.  From my experience, let me offer a  picture.

I am in my seventh year here (after teaching 13 years in wealthier areas) and there are now only two teachers in my building who have been here longer than I have.  In my previous building, after 11 years, I was only about mid-way up the seniority ladder.  Around here, I am one of the old-timers!  Since starting here, I have had 6 different teaching partners.

When I ask my students how many of them have been here since kindergarten, less than a third raise their hands. For those students who have been here from the beginning, few of their former teachers are still teaching here.  During the six  years that the students have moved up the ranks, the staff has almost completely turned over - twice.

It seems to me that getting rid of bad teachers is not our core problem.  The tricky part is getting ANY teacher to stay!


Kiley said...

I have had just the opposite experience that you have had. My first school was the one with high turn over. After just two years I was already halfway up the ranks in seniority and then I left.

The school I went to actually has teachers that retire from it.

Some of those under performing schools have to just take whoever will stay...

didymus said...

I've heard some things about the message that film is pushing, and most of them aren't that good. Do you intend to watch it here soon?

Don said...

As a former teacher who taught in an inner-city school the LAST year of my career, I would agree with your assumption.

Don said...

Kiley- I helped open a new junior high and was there for 21 years till I retired. (Note: I retired, then was coaxed into coming back at a different school, finally retiring again 5 years later.)

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