Sounds logical, right? Just because a teacher has been teaching for over four years doesn’t mean she’s any good. When it’s sadly time to adjust to budget cuts, we need to get rid of the bad teachers. Inferred in this is that the newer teachers will be better than the older teachers, so we need to be sure to be able to get rid of the bad old teachers.
I know this is a little melodramatized, WTH, that’s how we artsy types roll.
There are some huge misapprehensions in this type of thinking. Start with the reality that the average teacher salary in America is about $40,000. Take out taxes and figure it out. Monthly take-home pay will be about $2500. Subtract from that typical mortgage payment or rent, utilities, basic living costs and you will have to conclude: most teachers don’t take home much money. They’re not there for the big bucks nor the big perks. They are there because they love their subject and their kids.
It doesn’t matter what our age. What if any of us have problems in our teaching? We should follow Obama’s suggestion and get training for the teacher. If he or she cannot improve, then yes, we could consider termination. But most of us want to improve. If we need help, we gladly accept it.
So truly the only fair rule is “last hired, first fired.” Otherwise our budget problems can turn into discrimination, ageism, and that is never right. Besides that, it’s illegal.
Teachers’ unions are not out to protect greedy fat-cat teachers who want to sit back and collect big paychecks without doing the work. We DO the work. We show up every day, no matter our age, no matter our headaches, no matter the struggles we face with poverty, lack of materials, endless garrulous faculty meetings, and other daily difficulties.
Add to this that most teachers spend a good deal out of pocket to make their classrooms work. As an example, a teacher (older!) in our poor, rural district noticed that his first-graders are walking off the bus in near-zero weather without jackets. He went out and bought warm jackets for his students. They often would come back in a day or two without them. “Where is your jacket?” he would ask. “I don’t know,” the student will shrug, but remember, these are tiny first-graders, so they won’t know but their careless caretakers should know. What does he do? He goes out and buys more. True, he gets these coats at the thrift store, but at $4-5 apiece, they still add up.
It is so easy to get on the bandwagon of thoughtless popular thought. Think again. “Last in, first out” is really the only fair solution to budget cuts.