School districts similar in scope and size to Rockford cannot continue to remove young non tenured teachers from the classrooms. For the second year in a row, all non tenured teaching staff, in my current home base, of Rockford, Illinois were put on the streets. These men and women now have to reapply for their positions and hope to be rehired. This is a merry go round. We need these teachers for a variety of reasons. However some of the key reasons are energy, openness to new ideas, and youthful dedication to the field.
All teachers that are new to the field are not bright eyed bushy tailed youngsters. Some have escaped former careers and want to contribute to young people’s lives thru teaching, but their energy and enthusiasm level is often the same as a younger person. As soon as a new teacher arrives at their school, they are ready to prepare. They meet their team and begin planning immediately. They usually begin to examine their class rosters, make introductory phone calls to parents, and examine their students’ testing data. Furthermore, most new teachers seek out the veteran on their team and begin to pick their brain for ideas about what works for students and what has failed in the pass. In short, we need this energy and enthusiasm in our classrooms.
Most recent graduates of colleges enter their chosen field with openness to new ideas. Why are they open? They are trying to establish their reputation as a dependable employee. They want to help their schools succeed in any way possible. What is best for kids is important to a lot of new graduates of education programs. Their eyes are wide and they are still idealistic enough to examine ideas objectively and without the influence of school politics. Furthermore, they have new ideas that just might bring a fresh perspective to the educational program.
Youthful dedication is needed to keep schools flowing along with the latest advancements in education. Young or new staff members are usually filled with ideas. It is obvious they have made a commitment. Education is a low paying career with little extrinsic rewards. Most of these will come from that small miracle a teacher pulls off with a child. They have spent tens of thousands of dollars to be dedicated to the field and most of the time will do what is right for a child.
Rockford and other districts cannot continue this round robin of hiring and firing. We are losing bright people to other districts because we continue to cast them to the wolves every year. Teachers are becoming tired of this storm and are beginning to move to calmer environments.