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Why its hard to fire teachers

Posted Jul 24 2010 9:53am

The first reason it’s hard to fire teachers, is because it’s really hard to get hired as a teacher, and we need some protection.

Especially technology teachers.  I’ve been teaching computer science for 18 years, and it would be very difficult for me to get a programming job right now.  I’m really good at basic programming, but I show no expertise in the type of programming that is done in the work place.  Neither I or a potential employer would know if I could actually do it. 

It would be almost impossible for me to get a teaching job.  Right now, I know of one opening and it’s an hour away from my house. 

But let’s look at why teachers get fired.  I have had co-workers under investigation because of a student accusation.  I know that the accusations were false in the past, but they still had to go through the process.  In my district, we’ve never had a teacher come back from that process, but I’ve found them in other schools doing other jobs, so obviously the accusation was unjust.

I’ve had two principals decide they didn’t like me, and that my subject was unnecessary.  Now, my class is REAL expensive.  While the funds for the computers come from the state,I need a very large room that could hold two regular classes plus they could repurpose of the computers.  Yes, that has happened.  And yes, instructional technology have come back and gotten their computers back (in my building).  The good news is that my school is very parent driven and the parents not only see the need for my class, but have fought for me.  (Moral of the story, make parents happy).

I’ve survived those attempts plus I teach math so my job is fairly secure. 

The other issue with firing a teacher, is you are depriving them of about the only big benefit in teaching.  Our salaries are relatively low – and find a part time job that makes the difference.  Our biggest benefit is our pension.  If I were to get fired now, not only would I lose my income, but I would lose that pension, and since we don’t do social security (we have our own retirement system that is much better), I’d be screwed out of both.

So, yes, as teachers we need some job protection.  Sometimes it goes completely overboard – if I’m in an investigative process and I go out and make some income, that income should be deducted from what the district is paying me. 

But we DO need protection.

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