Ruffled Feathers

Its that time of year. The school year is ending and teachers prepare for the educational off season. Time to reflect on the year of teaching, take a break to refresh and plan for the year to come. For some the end of the school year goes smoothly, but for others feathers are ruffled. As districts are coping with declining enrollments and tight budgets, more and more teachers are faced new teaching assignment for the upcoming year. Many are changing grades, buildings, faced with reduced teaching roles or even lay-offs. The off season for these teachers is filled with transitioning to a new role.

For some this transition is smooth, like Miguel Cabrera moving from third base to first, but for others the change can be more like switching Miguel to the NBA. Teachers spend money and time preparing to do their best in the classroom. Purchasing books, supplies and attending training to make sure students succeed. If their position changes many times the purchases and training will not be utilized in their new position. Frustrations ensues.

Displaced teachers feel disrespected as professionals, having no voice or choice in the changes being made. Districts need to take a collaborative approach when making scheduling and staffing changes. Teachers often see avenues towards solutions that administration can’t see from their offices. With the investments districts have in training staff, it is wasteful to move these resources into positions that they are not best utilized.

How can districts work with their teachers to make sure staff are ALL placed in positions for optimal student learning? Education need to be a place where teachers feathers aren’t ruffled in this way. The off season should be about fine tuning skills not learning a completely new position. It is hard enough with changing standards and student populations.