Should seniority still rule over 21st C skilled teachers in a school today?

When doing "staff cuts" in a private school, should a school principal decide to keep teachers with 30 + years working at school but with not interest in joining the 21st C education that the school brags about, or should he or she keep a newer (5 years working at school) but experienced teacher who is also immersed in 21st Century education?
What would you do if you were that school principal?

Tags: Seniority, cuts, job, loss, staff

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I guess it depends on how the principal values loyalty. I would suspect that the 30+ years teacher is an extremely effective teaching using the skills of the 20th century well. 21st century skills are as yet untested. Not to mention that most private schools do not have a retirement program, so this older lady would be without both job and income (a poor reward for her years of service) whereas the younger teacher would be more likely to get another job and move on. I'd go with the loyal 30+ year teacher! Not only that, if the younger teacher finds another job that pays better or has more technology available, she will not hesitate to turn in her resignation. It is unlikely that the veteran teacher is going to jump ship and leave the school stranded. With the 30 year veteran, you know what you've got!
Of course Anne and I are are in the same boat--the 30+ year veterans. I agree with what she said---if the teachers are both good teachers, I'd go with loyality. There is a lot more to teaching than "the next new thing", A LOT MORE. Hopefully it's not you that is getting cut!!
Unfortunatelly yes!
This just happened to me. The middle school enrollment went down big time and they are not renewing contratcts to the newer teachers.
In my area of expertise this is the only place in town where I can have a full time position with my skills (Hebrew and Judaic Studies.)
But, I can understand what you both are saying regarding my co-workers seniority. In an ideal world (that is living in a place with more than one Jewish Day School) I will be in a better position to get job. Unfortunatelly, that's not my case.
C'est la vie! I guess I am going to have be creative with my technology skills from now on!
Thanks for your feed back!
Come to KC, we have a huge Hebrew Academy!!
What a nice reply, Nancy. I hope Noemi can take you up on that offer. It is no fun losing a job, but a chance to go to a new community makes it all better!
Wow, I feel speachless! I've never been to KC but I feel I could just take a plane and visiting both of you! Thanks for kind words! Who knows what's awaiting for me in the near future.
In the midtime, I am planning in keeping both of you in the virtual world!

You will visit Nancy in KC, but I am in Virginia. But, please do keep in touch with both of us and let us know how you are doing in the job search.

Oh, I was in Kansas City once, as a stopover on my way to Albequerque to present at a VEA conference on technology in 1993 - Al Gore was the surprise keynote speaker. When we landed in KC, we had to wait on the runway since Clinton was just leaving. When we got into Albequerque we had to wait on thee runway because Al Gore was just arriving. And, there was this cute little freckle faced boy who just bubbled after Al Gore had come up to him at his computer in the hotel lobby and asked the boy to show him what he could do with the computer! The boy said his picture would be on the front page of the paper, and when I got a copy on my way home, there he was with a huge grin and a face full of bright freckles. Technology will take you place Noemi!!!
That's a great story. I do have freckles and a computer too!
That should be the secret I just need to find Al Gore :)
I do have a sense of humor that is a little unusual, you see, If I was a dish, I would be
a falafel rap in a burrito with guacamole sprinkle with paprika and served accompanied by a chill sangria/tequila mix. L'chayim!!
The critical question for me - are the teachers successful? (Whether or not the classrooms are festooned with the technology that suggests 21st C education). Are the students learning, thinking, producing, inspired, collaborating etc? Sometimes 30 years tells me about tenure, habit and stamina - but not about effectiveness, engagement and education or learning..
In this particular case, there is not effectiveness or engaging teaching. As a consequence students are not being inspired rather than quite frankly the opposite.
These teachers have long lost the excitement in their teaching.
I must mentioned that they are very knowledgeable teachers. But being knowledgeable is not enough anymore. You have to be knowledge-able. This generation of kids is very demanding. It only takes one teacher to engage students in a creative and more fun way to then make comparisons.
In which case (and here I might rule against myself...) seniority doesn't shouldn't count against effectiveness.

It may depend on how effectiveness is measured. Fun has its place and "makes the medicine go down". But depth of knowledge is an important consideration as well. The kids may not clap their hands with glee, but the question of effectiveness is determined by what they take away from their years of education. I have seen teacher who were so much into making school fun, that they were not giving the students the true depth of the subject. The teachers could not answer deep questions if the student asked.

Students need a variety of types of teachers. Those with the depth and experience in their knowledge bring aspects to the educational experience that cannot be found in teacher who make a showy presentation with shallow content.

Much of the decision depends on whether or not the teacher is burned out or on the slippery slide to burn out. If not, but she prefers the older ways of teaching, she is an asset to the students. It may be that today's generation is into technology, games, and a fast-paced presentation, but they can surely benefit from experiencing the quiet strength of the elders who have a life-time of experiences to pull from.

You would have to be in the principal's shoes in order to make the necessary decisions. And, as I said before, loyalty is/should be a desired quality in educators. It is very difficult for peer teachers to truly access the effectivness of another teacher because they are making judgement from different perspectives.

To share a story, I had a new teacher in my department and was mentoring him. We were chatting on the way to a department meeting, and he confided that he knew he was working the students harder than the other two of us teachers. How had he determined that? He said the students always complained that he was giving them more work than the other teachers in the department, and why didn't he become more like the "easier" teachers. We arrived at the department meeting, and I opened the conversation by asking the other teacher what the students told him about the amount of work he gave them to do. He replied that the students told him he gave more work than any other teacher in the department. I added that the same students told me the same thing. The new teacher realized he was being conned by the kids. And didn't cut back on the amount of work he expected them to do in class. Never underestimate kids to try their best to "get over" especilly on the newest teachers.



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