Our school district has done everything they could to save money for the past four years. Everything, that is, but cut teachers. There have been paper shortages, field trips cut, furlough days taken, etc. The hope was that things would be ironed out economically before the district got to the point where they'd have to cut teaching positions.
Well, do I even need to say it?...Things didn't iron out, so it became apparent, at some point this past school year, that the last resort would have to be taken. They would cut everything else possible and then start diving into the forbidden territory of laying teachers off.
This was a huge topic at our house during the past months. As things developed, the Warden and I would discuss the repercussions of different actions that the district could take. One that I felt saddest about went a little something like this.....
Because they would cut the newest teachers and then transfer more tenured teachers to fill those spots, there would be teachers who had taught certain subjects for years, in some cases, their entire careers, who would find themselves teaching material they hadn't seen in years, if ever. The place where this would be more apparent would be in the music programs.
You could have, in some cases, a teacher, who had always taught elementary school music, that suddenly finds him/herself teaching high school band--complete with the marching band portion that that position entails. How in the world would that person pull that off? Not to mention that that individual is used to working with little people who, for the most part, tend to be a little easier to deal with, to teenagers, who are sometimes a bit less forgiving.
In these cases, I'm certain, though, that that teacher is probably just happy to have a job, so he/she does the best he/she can with the situation given.
One of my children came home complaining one day about a situation very similar to what I illustrate here. I quickly took this child aside and explained the logistics of just how some of the jobs in the district had been decided. I told this child to be understanding and forgiving. It stinks for the kids that they find themselves in that situation, but I would bet it's even worse for the poor teachers. The sad thing is, rarely do we look at that side of the coin.
We are in very sorry shape, and though we and our children pay the price. There are so many others behind the scenes that just go about and do the best work they can in very uncomfortable circumstances. In my opinion, they, those who have become pawns in this lousy system, are paying a much higher price than any of the rest of us.