As an educator for over 35 years, and a very proud mother, this is something my mom said in an email to her former principal… “I can’t believe the budget preceded great teaching.” In an effort to brag about her son, that’s me, I think she summed up the state of teaching in NJ over the past few years, or at least since these major changes took place.
You see, I was a victim of these budget slashes. This post isn’t supposed to ask for sympathy, but simply get things off my chest. I taught for two years in a district where my entire department (six of us) were non-tenured. Technically, I was the second to last hired in this department. When the “Budget Crisis of 2009” hit, it was decided that two positions in my department were to be RIFed. Thinking that “seniority” didn’t come into play with non-tenured, I felt that I was safe. Given the fact that I was extremely active in the school community, volunteered for a few committees, spearheaded two extracurricular clubs and, from what my observation reports stated, “an outstanding addition to the staff,” I felt I had nothing to worry about. Well, the time came and I was given the news. I was RIFed. Shock is an understatement. I’ve become a statistic. After spending the entire Summer interviewing and worrying, nothing permanent came my way for September. For the first time in four years with a teaching certificate I’m not teaching.
The budget got in the way of my teaching abilities. If the budget passed, I could possibly have a job. And I’m sure there are hundreds, if not thousands, in the same boat as me. I know…they’re applying for the same jobs as me. They’re on the same interviews as me. For the most part, they are the teachers with the least experience, but the most in-tune with the state of education in the 21st century. These are the teachers we need in our classrooms.
I’m not poo-pooing veteran teachers. Veteran teachers are masters in their craft. They have impeccable classroom management skills. They have experience in everything from dealing with parents to the constant turnover of administration. But most of all, they have knowledge. These are our mentors. They show us the ropes.
The teachers that we need to worry about are the teachers that are, as one of my professor’s once put it, “already dead.” These teachers are using the same old methods of teaching, the same assessments, and the same resources year after year. These are the teachers that complain about and refuse any change that may come their way. They are stubborn. But, they are tenured and the most senior of their faculties. They are also the teachers with the highest salaries. And…their jobs are safe.
So, that brings me to…me. I’m one of hundreds applying for the same jobs every time a position is posted. Needless to say, unless I spray my resume with “Sex Panther,” it will probably get lost in the stack. I need a little bit of luck for someone to look at my resume and make the connection that I’m a great teacher. Itdoesn’t happen as often as I would like, since my resume, just like everyone else, is simply “the best words that describe them” on paper.
In an effort to reach to eyes of potential administrators, I’ve decided to launch an online portfolio. This site has my resume, CV, samples of work, professional activities and some extras that can’t go on paper. I’m hoping that this will bring me to the top of the stack of resumes that are just sitting on the desks of Principals or Superintendents.
I want people to see that I’m more than “the best words that describe me on a piece of paper.” Anyone can write an awesome resume, but I’m hoping that not many people have made the leap into the internets.
Oh!!….here’s a video I made to emphasize my point: