No Tenure for You. Come Back One Year (or Not).


I’ve steered clear of the following blog topic for the last three years (how time flies when you are blogging).

No, not the discussion on whether or not Seinfeld is the best TV show of all-time ( it is… BJ and the Bear comes in a close second).

Tenure.

This seems to be the hottest of all education topics.

Hotter than testing, the perceived worthlessness of administrators (I said perceived… because all of us are worth our weight in… well, in something), or the lack of parental support.The Soup Nazi (Seinfeld).

Tenure trumps them all.

Just saying the word can provoke a heated discussion (and get you beaten up in a Teacher’s Lounge near you…).

You are either for it, or against it.

It’s hard to find someone who rides the fence on this issue (much like Dancing With the Stars… some love it and some find it as enjoyable as abdominal cramps).

To me that’s the problem.

Those of us with tenure (yes, I am a proud owner (or not) of what could be construed as a lifetime teaching job) absolutely love the idea.

And what’s not to love.

Tenured teachers have jobs (very important in this day and age).  If that wasn’t enough, they (evil administrators) can’t fire those tenured teachers.

And as an added bonus, our raises are based on the number of years we have taught and has nothing to do with productivity.

It’s a little piece of heaven.

I’m not saying this is right.  I’m not saying it’s wrong.

I’m just saying it’s our system.

Then there is the anti-tenure crowd.

This is a rather large and angry group which includes pretty much everyone else in the free world (and most people in Cuba).

Anyone who doesn’t have tenure (99.999999% of all humans) believes it is the dumbest idea since New Coke (which incidentally, I enjoyed).

These people think far too many teachers who attain tenure end up going through the motions while cashing an ever increasing paycheck.

I’m not saying they are right.

I’m not saying they are wrong.

I am saying tenure is woven into the fabric of our educational system.

Some states are considering passing No Tenure Laws (way to be a leader Florida… and I’m crossing my fingers you don’t send us another Bush for The White House…).

Tenure has never seemed very American to me.

I’ve always thought our country was built on the idea that if you work hard and pay your dues (figure of speech… not Union) it’s possible to make your fortune and climb the ladder of success.

If you think like I do (and for your sake, I pray you don’t), tenure may be holding good teachers back.

They aren’t granted the opportunity to be judged financially on the great work they do.

They are lumped in with all teachers, good and bad. 

Those who work 12 hour days and those who hardly work at all.

I think that’s a shame.

Tenure doesn’t help our best and brightest.

It doesn’t promote working harder, thinking outside the box (which is the dumbest phrase since… Where’s the Beef?), or going above and beyond.

Unfortunately, it’s major purpose seems to be protecting older teachers from vindictive administrators and school boards.

This is important, but is it reason enough to keep tenure in 2010?

The title of this blog comes from The Soup Nazi.  My hero.  My mentor.  My compadre (at least he will be after I learn Spanish).

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My Father’s Day Gift: The House All to Myself.


Happy Father's Day!The family flew to Florida today. I didn’t go. Something about staying behind to work.

Oh, and I wasn’t invited.

Don’t feel bad for me. Sometimes it is a blessing not to be invited.

Plus my wife is letting me tag along to the NECC Conference with her (can you say tax write off… I feel like such a piece of meat… does she not know that I have feelings) and then we are going to Colorado on the family vacation. So that is enough travel for me for one summer.

Too much time in airports makes me a cranky administrator (alright, crankier).

They got on a plane for Florida early Saturday morning. They are meeting my daughter’s grandma and her aunt for an all girl’s vacation.

6 days for them in Florida. 6 days of them being in Florida for me.

This may sound harsh, but getting the house all to myself for an extended period just doesn’t happen very often.

Because of this opportunity, I didn’t want to be invited. It was the perfect storm for a non-invitation. You have Florida, beaches, the all-girls thing, and missing work.

Here are my reasons.

Florida isn’t my favorite spot because it is hot and full of old people (granted, I will be old soon), bad drivers (see old people, mostly from out of state), and it rains every day around 4:00 p.m. (just in time for the old people to get wet as they go to dinner… and no one likes the smell of wet old people).

Then there are the beaches. I know people love to just sit and stare at the ocean, but to me it is just sitting and staring at the ocean. I get it. It’s sand and water. How can you expect me to sit there quietly for 8 hours?

This goes against everything that I hold sacred.

My wife tells me I should read a book. Why fly 7 hours to sit in the heat and read. We have a library just a few blocks from the house (and it is air conditioned).

As I mentioned, it is also an all-girls trip. They will spend 6 days staring at the ocean and talking about… well I have no idea. I am assuming there will be lots of conversations about flowers, babies, clothes, and girl’s stuff that I don’t understand (actually I do understand, I just try not to think about it).

And I didn’t want to miss work (did I just write that?). Suddenly, I am feeling a little nauseous.

Normally, I would jump at the chance to skip out on work in June. School is out for the year and the beginning of next year seems so far away.

But it is that time of year when 3 or 4 teachers resign as they move on to new jobs.

This means I have plenty of work to do at school (I am guessing about 25 interviews before the hiring season comes to a close).

No time for the beach.

So I will be spending Father’s Day alone. All alone. By myself.

It’s great.

And so quiet.

I don’t think the Florida vacation was meant to be my Father’s Day gift, but it sure has worked out that way.

6 days of doing whatever I want, whenever I want. Catching up on yard work, golfing, and watching TV in peace (just for the record I am wearing pants as I write this, although not wearing them is certainly an option that deserves consideration).

This also means I am presently sitting in the house where the tempature is hovering around 57 degrees (and I don’t have to feel badly because the wife isn’t walking around wearing a jacket and stocking cap complaining that it is hard to Twitter when she can’t feel her fingers).

The only downside is that I can’t (or won’t) cook. I may starve to death. I think I can survive until Thursday, but time will tell.

The nice people at Pizza Hut were kind enough to provide me with dinner (along with the kind ladies at Subway who provided me lunch).

So the girls get to enjoy themselves in Florida and I get to do whatever I want for almost a whole week.

Don’t get me wrong, I will miss them. Quiet is great for awhile, but I am sure at some point it will get too quiet (I need some noise or else the voices in my head become too clear).

Before they left, I got to open my real Father’s Day gift.

Much to my surprise, my daughter purchased me a Nintendo Wii. It’s the gift she has always wanted.

Nothing says Father’s Day like your only child taking your money and buying themselves a video game.

Actually, I am glad she got me (us) the video game. It is a lot of fun (I didn’t realize how far video games have come since Pacman, Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and my personal favorite Frogger).

The whole family will enjoy it and get to spend time together (but not for a few days).

The downside is she has already called me 3 times from Florida to tell me that I need to practice while she is gone.

She needs some competition when she gets back.

And they will be back before I know it. Truthfully, in a couple of days I will be counting down the minutes until I get to see them.

In the meantime, I need to find some teachers and sharpen my video game skills.

But before I do that, I am going to sit on the couch (possibly wearing pants… haven’t decided yet) and enjoy the quiet.

Happy Father’s Day everybody.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.