Monday, May 16, 2011

To Tenure or Not To Tenure?

Hey Guys,
  As the end of my tenure year quickly approaches I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the practice of tenure.  In Alabama, teachers are tenured after only three years.  I have been asking myself a lot of questions- Is three years enough time to effectively evaluate the teaching practices of a person? Is tenure helpful to the education system or does it hurt it and the kids in the long?  Don't get me wrong- the idea of being guaranteed a job in my school system bring me a lot of peace of mind.  Not having to worry like crazy every time evaluations come up or the last day of school approaches will help me relax (some) and focus on what is important. But maybe the ones that deserve tenure are the ones who don't need its protection?  Maybe there are two types of teachers- the ones that fade over time (you know the ones I mean-the ones that don't try as hard or volunteer for as much) and the ones that still get excited about new ideas and student success no matter how long they have been doing it.  When it comes down to it, are we protecting the "good" teachers or the "bad" teachers?  Is there a happy medium, a way to offer some protection against cut backs but still hold every teacher accountable?  Just something to think about! Please feel free to give me your opinions!


  1. Tenure doesn't protect your job, at least here in MO. It only means that they have to have a justified reason to let you go.

    When you are nontenured, no reason is necessary. You are completely vulnerable to any principal.

    Many districts get rid of good nontenured teachers just to keep the payroll smaller and because the teachers are afraid to disagree because they know that will cost them their job.

    It takes five years to be tenured here. All five must be in the same district. If you have other teaching experience in the state, you only have to have four years experience to become tenured.

    Thanks for taking on this topic!

  2. Good points. Tenure here does not protect your job-it means they have to have a reason. It does make it a lot harder to get rid of teachers that are not doing their job well though.
    One thing that bothers me- no matter why a teacher gets let go I think the teacher has a right to know why they are losing their job. Esp. if it is because of bad teaching practices. How do we expect teachers to improve if they think they are getting let go because of lost teaching units? Just some more thoughts :)

  3. It's very different here in Ontario. We have a teacher's union and unless there isn't enough kids in the entire board you have a job somewhere right from the very first day to get hired. It works on a seniority system so if we went down 30 kids then the last hired teacher would lose their job but other than that you're in no matter how "good" or "bad"....