When I was teaching, I always would ask myself, “If it wasn’t for the union, would I still have a job?”
This question, kept me “earning” my teaching position.
As an assistant principal, however, I actually find myself in this position. There really isn’t a union for me. I could be let go at any time that the district deems me as ineffective.
I’m not too worried, however.
I spend each day still doing everything I can to keep “earning” my job, and because of this, I feel pretty secure in my position.
In my district, teachers have a two-year probationary period, and then they become tenured. Being tenured means that in order to get fired, there will be a lengthy process of meetings and interventions and documentation which may last up to five years.
This process is there to keep administrators from firing teachers unjustly, which is a good thing.
Most teachers really never go through this process, but unfortunately, there are always those teachers who take advantage of the protection of the union.
Every school has teachers like these, and there really is no changing them. They do just enough to keep from violating the union-agreed-upon requirements for teachers, and no more. Their work ethic is weak; they never stay longer than they have to, and they never volunteer for extra assignments unless there is a stipend attached. You really can’t count on these teachers to do anything beyond what they are required to do. It’s kind of sad.
Thankfully, most schools only have one or two of these teachers working there. Most of the teachers focus on what’s best for kids and are willing to go above and beyond what is required of them.
As a new or soon-to-be teacher, you are probably excited about teaching. You are spending most of your free time doing some kind of teaching-related activity. School administrators really don’t have to worry about you having the union rep on speed dial. As a school administrator, I appreciate your enthusiasm and love of teaching. Thank you.
As you continue on your journey toward success in the classroom, and you eventually become tenured, I would encourage you to ask yourself a question.
“If it wasn’t for the union, would I still have a job?”
You want to be one of the teachers who is on the top of the list of teachers to keep should your school have to downsize.
Here are a 10 tips to make sure you never need the union to keep your job:
- Be a team player.
- Stay away from the drama.
- Write amazing lesson plans.
- Keep learning.
- Offer after-school tutoring in your classroom.
- Be on time.
- Attend every staff meeting.
- Dress professionally.
- Handle discipline as much as possible in the classroom.
It’s great to be able to have a union to protect teacher rights and to fight for higher salaries.
Amazing teachers, however, never need the union to keep their job. They “earn” their position every day with their work ethic, their love for kids, their desire to make a difference and their willingness to go above and beyond what is required.
Thank you for being an amazing teacher.
Until next time, here’s to your Success in the Classroom!