Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How to destroy the morale of your teaching staff!

It seems everywhere in the state schools are talking about money or the lack thereof. With Governor Quinn claiming we need to raise taxes and cut education funding. Schools are getting worried. Home prices have been down for years, so this Illinois model of funding schools through property taxes is really taking a big hit. The last few weeks it seems all the headlines I see are talking about the number of teachers that are getting laid off.

Here in our district the teachers have been fretting for weeks, only to find that their worst fears are coming true. Not only are all non-tenured teachers expecting pink slips in the next few days, but a few dozen tenured teachers are also staring down the axe-head.

Each school and each teacher takes the news differently. Some teachers expecting to lose jobs are busy cornering union stewards and asking for advice. Others are fighting the depression or trying to come to grips with the harsh realities. All are or should be refining their resumes and looking for openings. I myself have completed one and am working on essays for another.

The worst is the school that has more teachers than classrooms. There all the newest teachers are in the same room when not teaching. Last month it was a lively room with new teachers discussing or sharing teaching tips and ideas. Now with most of those teachers fearing for their futures the quest for better teaching practices is gone. Replaced with discussions of “what will we do”. Soon even that has stopped as teachers avoid getting caught in the room. I suppose each is trying to keep their spirits up and trying to avoid discussing the uncertain future.

The job market will be saturated soon, but I don’t think it will stay that way for long. Smart school districts will take the opportunity to lock in the quality talent that has been freed up this summer. While other districts will lose their best people and be forced to hustle for leftovers as the next school year approaches.

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