Education Opinion


By Jessica Shyu — July 28, 2008 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

“I’m unclear as to why the union president is coming to the union in the middle of negotiations and why the president of the union is negotiating away seniority and tenure,” said Jeff Canady, who teaches third grade at Emery Elementary in Northeast.
- Pay-Hike Plan for Teachers In D.C. Entails Probation

I just spent the past half hour reading comments on The Washington Post’s article from last Thursday on the chancellor’s proposal to relinquish seniority among teachers for the exchange of higher pay. After half an hour reading the mostly anti-proposal comments, I’m still confused as to why the heck elementary and secondary public school teachers demand seniority and tenure.

As an average employee (formerly of a public school, now of a non-profit hired at-will), I understand the desire for job security. But we’re employees. And just like any other business out there, I’m hired to perform and demonstrate student results through my teachers. If I’m not getting results or showing any effort of making it happen, then yes, I probably do deserve to lose my job. Narrowing the achievement gap-- especially in a district like DC-- takes every second we have. Why waste it.

A recurring comment I read on the Post article was that principals may hold grudges against hard-working, results-driven teachers, play favorites and fire people at will. My immediate mental response to that was that a) if your principal is so irrational and petty, it’s probably a good thing to get away from the noodle brain, and b) once released, if you’re a veteran teacher who truly is so hard-working and high-achieving, I can give you the names and phone numbers of half a dozen principals down the street who would want to hire you right now-- because, let’s be honest, there is a huge need for great teachers.

My favorite response to this issue so far is by Special Education Teacher in Washington DC.

Is this a good thing that we are now expected to perform like the rest of the 21st century workforce, so that we can get our students ready for the global competition? Am I ready for this? Or am I one of the targets to be terminated at the end of this coming school year? I immediately did a self evaluation...looking back and looking ahead...thank goodness I have prepared myself for the required skills needed of a 21st century teacher. I never thought that during the process of keeping myself informed, involved, and innovative, I have also armed myself and safeguarded my job no matter what is happening around me.

As if giving me an intelligent advice, I saw this article on the homepage immediately when I turned on my computer: 5 Ways to Keep Your Career Moving Forward.

- Keep thinking positive. “When you tell yourself something bad will happen to your job, something bad will probably happen. If you tell yourself that you are marketable and confident and that you will always be working, your words can make this true.”

- Keep thinking ahead. “Look for trends and then train yourself in growth areas. Having the right skills at the right time ensures that no matter what is happening around you, you will be needed and employable.”

- Keep your resume ready. “Even if you are not looking for work, your resume reminds you of the contributions you make on a regular basis, something you can easily forget when you are immersed in the day-to-day. Whether you are looking for a job, or you already have one, an updated resume is essential for your career.”

- Keep cultivating your network. “If you start to network only when you need something, you will have a lot of catching up to do.”

- Keep your eyes and ears open. “Rather than thinking, ‘It cannot happen,’ believe that what you want is possible and is within your reach. Then, make it happen.”

The opinions expressed in New Terrain are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Hundreds of Conn. Bus Drivers Threaten to Walk Off the Job Over Vaccine Mandate
More than 200 school bus drivers could walk off the job in response to a vaccination mandate that goes into effect Monday.
1 min read
Rows of school buses are parked at their terminal, in Zelienople, Pa. Reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic means putting children on school buses, and districts are working on plans to limit the risk.
Rows of school buses are parked at their terminal, in Zelienople, Pa. Reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic means putting children on school buses, and districts are working on plans to limit the risk. <br/>
Keith Srakocic/AP Photo
Education Briefly Stated: September 22, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)