December 18, 2022

TC Weber: Tis The Season…Fa La La La La

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A long time observer of education in Tennessee, TC Weber notices that favoring recruitment over retention of teachers has some serious drawbacks.

Invariably there will be talk of who’s coming back after the break and who is not. A decade ago these conversations never took place, it was the expectation that if you started the year you’d finish it – barring major illness or pregnancy. Those rules don’t apply in our new reality.

A reality that I don’t see changing due to the continual focus on recruitment over retention. As part of that increased recruitment effort states are relaxing requirements amid cries that it’s too difficult to become a teacher.

School leaders defend their decisions with increased frequency:

“I’ve seen what happens when you don’t have teachers in the classroom. I’ve seen the struggle,” Dallas schools trustee Maxie Johnson said just before the school board approved expanding that district’s reliance on uncertified teachers. He added, “I’d rather have someone that my principal has vetted, that my principal believes in, that can get the job done.”

Teachers have become akin to new cars. Once you drive it off the lot, a new car’s value drops exponentially. In the case of teachers, the value drops by half once they walk into the classroom.

Its been long debated whether teaching is a calling or “just a job”. The “just a job” argument seems to be winning, and when you don’t have a deeper connection to a profession, there is little inclination to stick around when things get difficult. And trust me they get difficult. On top of serving children, feeding the ambitions of career bureaucrats is a full-time job.

In the past, it was common for people to have careers that spanned lifetimes, but slowly that eroded, and loyalties shifted. With the shift in loyalty came a greater willingness to leave a position at whim. Teaching is just the latest profession to be hit by the shift.

For teachers, the shift comes with an increase in expectations. The public may not trust teachers to teach their children, but they recognize them as adequate babysitters, emotional support givers, counselors, disciplinarians, and executors of assorted other responsibilities that have been heaved onto their shoulders in recent years.

Read the full post here. Tis The Season…Fa La La La La – Dad Gone Wild (

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