Do Teachers Need a Home?

I don't mean housing, though some of us teachers could use some decent housing! When I say a home, I mean a classroom that a teacher can expect to have, year after year. I am sure many of you realize that teachers get moved around from room to room, sometimes from school to school. This does not promote nesting! And yes, a nesting teacher is good! Nesting by means of creating a classroom that fits the teacher; a well fitted classroom feels as good as well fitted suit. And tends to look just as good.

I have moved several times (by choice, and not by choice) in my career, each time having to lug tons of materials, computers, tables, chairs, desks, file cabinets, and the rest. I am a relatively young and strong man, so much of the work is do-able, but difficult. And I sure never get any help from my district! Oh no! Each time I move I lose something too--usually something I have purchased with my own money that I cannot afford to replace as the cost of living rises, and my pay doesn't keep up.

Parents and principals use the classroom to gauge the teacher--duh! But, the classroom is not a sign of the quality of the teacher. Some teachers are single parents (me), some are old, and some have physical limitations that preclude fixing up the old portable they are stuck in. There is something good in having a classroom that you can continually tweak, but not constantly remake.

Management (principals, superintendents, board directors) have a dog in this fight. They use the power of teacher-portability to threaten, punish, and reward teachers. Yes they do! Principals fear angry parents, and will screw a teacher to save their own rear from an angry parent who may just go over the Principal's head. BLAME THE TEACHER! Parents and principals can blame the teacher, thereby excusing themselves from any responsibility or culpability regarding the success, or lack thereof, of the student. Principals often do this because they are unable to accurately assess a teacher's skill (and back the teacher up) because of all the administrative nonsense they must contend with, or because they have been out of the classroom for 20 years and have no idea how hard it is to teach such diverse populations, or just want to be loved by parents, the ultimate--though unequipped--arbiters of Principal success. Often, teachers are set up to fail by the practice of moving teachers from to room, grade to grade, and school to school. Teachers have tenure, yes, but that is about it.

Here is a question that I believe is an analogous one to the question of whether or not teachers should be portable: Imagine you have been diagnosed with cancer. Your HMO (in its wisdom) has offered you a choice of oncologists: 1)an oncologist who has been specializing for 15 years, or 2)an oncologist who was a pediatrician 3 months ago. Which oncologist would you choose?

So, let it be said that I am one teacher who would love to specialize in one grade, in one room. Let me make that room awesome! I will make it fun and interesting. I will have a vested interest in the school. Parents, students, teachers, and administrators will all benefit from allowing me the courtesy (though it should be an expectation) of staying put to do my job, which I do quite well!


Nate said...
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Anonymous said...

There's more than just the 2 of us! Thanks!

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