The Ledge

Provocative essay from a California teacher at Teaching In The 408:

You get up on the ledge as a young teacher when you realize that there is no formal system of accountability anywhere. The evaluation process is an outright joke…The vast store of practical strategies you took from your alternative or traditional route credentialing program seems to be running a little dry and district PD is either non-existent or an exercise in futility.

So you’re up on that ledge. On one side is the descent into mediocrity and professional stagnation. On the other is leaving…

I want to grow. I want to excel. I want to feel like I’m not doing the same entry-level job I was six years ago. I want to feel like factors outside of my own willingness and drive to improve are at work in shaping my professional life.

When the CTA lady came to the union meeting to specifically alert new teachers to the dangers of proposed merit pay provisions, I shook my head in tight side-to-sides, because true systems of meritorious compensation are the future of the work we do. New hiring practices, the dissolution of tenure, authentic evaluations, performance based pay – this is what’s needed to get us off that ledge and quell the schizophrenia of being an ambitious and successful teacher in a public school.

Read the whole thing. Policy implications? GGW strikes tomorrow!

Hat tip: MsFrizzle

-Guest blogger Mike Goldstein

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