Today, I had the grand opportunity of observing a “veteran” teacher, and I hate to go into details, but let’s just say that this person’s a part of the reason why our union can’t make a stronger case for having no tenure policy. Honestly, the teacher did a whole lot of nothing, and it makes it worse because the teacher’s doing it to people of the same culture.
Teachers like that one make me even more ecstatic about teachers like Ms. B. Of course, I’m not giving you her whole name, but those of you who work with me know who I’m talking about. In a conversation with another teacher, we concurred: if we had 1/2 her spice, 1/2 her energy, and 1/2 her appreciation for life, we’d never want to retire either.
She’s a spark plug, a sassy little woman with a fire like you can’t imagine. She walks down that hallway and despite her height, she runs those kids up and down. She’s intelligent, and studied with the best of them, and her determination lets her grow as a teacher, despite her minor flaws. She’s the kind of teacher that really creates a positive school tone, acting as a mother figure to so many of the ELLs in our building.
And what’s more, people want her to retire. They say she’s too old, too dated in her ways, but if that’s the case, then I have to wonder how those kids are learning in her class. Kids always show up to learn English in her classroom, even when the “monolingual” kids have been long gone. Imagine that. Yet, there she stays, this little Latina lady, plugging away at her work.
Then, I think back to that first “veteran” teacher, and think to myself, “Wow, it’s like seeing two sides of the argument for tenure.” Hopefully with people like Ms. B, we’ll always have it … just for her …
jose, who’s a fan of good and constructive school environments …