The Meaning of My Tenure

Posted: 2011/03/23 in Classroom Teacher, Education, Education Reform, High School, Students
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I teach technology-based classes. Given the speed of tech changes, it’s a drawback that  I’ve been in a classroom for the past ten years. I brought my own industry experience to my curriculum, but I’ve been disconnected from that world for ten years.

So last summer I applied for a teacher scholarship to take classes at a highly-regarded art institute (at other times I’ve paid for my own classes). Their courses are rigorous and I had very little free time given all the homework I had to complete. My final day of summer school class was the day before I had to report to my workplace for fall semester.

In one of the classes I took last summer I gained a notebook full of pointers to bring to my advanced students (“Ah, so that’s how to use this feature correctly!”  “Oh, so that’s the proper setting…”). In my other class I got a whole new (and improved) structure for my freshmen curriculum.

If I had to worry about keeping my job I would’ve spent the summer working on my resume, networking with people in related industries and on the lookout for job opportunities.  I wouldn’t have had the luxury of spending a summer taking classes.

Whether teaching summer school or visiting family, I always work on curriculum during the summer. During the school year there’s never enough time to focus on the big picture or to really plan out a new student project.

This is what teacher tenure means to me.

What kind of fool would I have to be to spend summer preparing for a job that might not be mine in the fall? Only a worse fool would spend his own money and free time taking classes for a job that could be pulled out from under him at the whim of a capricious administrator.

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