Sunday, December 28, 2014

Veteran teachers bring value

           A dear friend of mine was invited to apply for a job assisting schools throughout our state by creating training, pulling together task forces in the school community and helping teachers access the portal this company created.  She was imminently qualified.  She has over a decade of experience in the classroom and a Masters in Education.  Despite being requested to apply  she received a snippy email from the HR department of this company pointing out that she was just a teacher.  My friend chose not to follow up to defend her qualification because she is happy in her current position.
            Last week an article was posted on twitter questioning the education and training of all teachers. This was surprising to me.  All of the professional teachers in our state have bachelors degrees, many have advanced degrees.  The percentage of people in our state with advanced degrees is in the teens, mostly comprised of doctors, lawyers and academics (teachers).  No information was given about the person who wrote the article, other than charter apologist.  I know there is an 80 percent chance or greater that he has no education beyond high school and that his article is pushing the agenda to dismantle our public school systems.  He is encouraging his audience to accept a myth which also seems to be held by some HR departments and school reform leaders.  Let's bust this myth.
         Public school teachers are highly educated, competent and remarkable. All have college degrees many with masters or greater. They can monitor several people at one time, sometimes as many as thirty.  They must remember multiple special ed records, medical information, pedagogical learnings and government policies.  In order to function in a classroom long-term all of this information must be synthesized into a complex understanding.  This synthesis entails abstract thinking.  That's not a common skill set but it is a coveted one in business.
        The skills of the professional teaching core are a well kept secret. Veteran teachers are a treasure to any organization lucky enough to employ them.  They are the ultimate generalists but they are exceptionally competent in work.  They understand how to learn and can pick up new skill sets quickly.  If treated decently they are loyal so training dollars go further with these employees.  They can organize and lead teams, plan complex events and design and maintain schedules.  Those that have worked in Title I schools are likely to have book keeping and supply training.  Many veteran educators have trained groups of adults as well as students. Teachers show up on time to work and actually work giving value back to their employer.
         Educators are workhorses and planners.  These skills are mandatory to survive in the classroom.  They organize people to accomplish tasks that can take months of planning.  Festivals, carnivals, and other community/school events require a team of people working together and planning so these events can run seamlessly. A group of teachers work together to organize these events. Cooperation and teamwork become survival skills as teachers work together to help students overcome disabilities, learning disorders and the ravages of poverty. 
           Professional teachers are heartbroken over the changes occurring in public education.  Some are seeking employment in other fields.  Great teachers have lost their positions due to lack of due process protection and many have opted for early retirement. Changes in policy and changes in status are creating a talent drain from schools. Employers who tap this valuable resource will greatly benefit.

If you think of skills I may have overlooked or if you would like to hire a veteran teacher please contact us.

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