Thursday, February 18, 2010

A New Job!

I've been wanting to get a part-time teaching job, because I'm not ready to go back to teaching full-time (I got awfully burned out - well, really I puked my guts out and then had sort of a seizure-ish reaction to the anti-emetic drugs and got big bruises from the IVs, etc).  So, I was pretty excited when a friend told me about a 33% position at a middle school nearby.  I decided to apply, even though I don't have the right credential.  More on that later.  I am happy to say that I got the job, and was even informed that there were more qualified candidates than me (since I don't have the right credential) and I got it because I interviewed so well.

The job will be two hours each morning through the end of the school year.

This district is right next to but very different than the one I used to work at.  The difference really is astounding in how people treat others and are treated. 

The credential issue is frustrating however, and entirely due to No Child Left Behind.  I will explain soon in another post why the proposals for teacher merit pay under NCLB are a bad idea.  But right now, let me point out two examples of how the "Highly Qualified" criteria required of teachers under NCLB doesn't make sense.

1. Last year, a teacher I know at a high school in the district I used to teach in told me that there had been a vacancy in the Spanish department throughout most of the year.  This is surprising because that district recruits heavily from Spain .  It was explained to me that the teacher, from Spain, who had the job at the beginning of the year was not "highly qualified."  I don't know what it was, a test, or something that was missing.  The district dismissed the teacher because he or she didn't get highly qualified in time.  However, they couldn't find someone who was highly qualified and wanted to work there, so the kids had subs.  All year.  Because apparently the best alternative to ideal is nothing at all.

2. Me.  I have a K-8 multiple subject credential.  This means that if there is a self-contained classroom (i.e. the kids stay in the same classroom all day and don't change classes like high school) and it is any grade from kindergarten to 8th grade, I can teach it.

Sixth grade used to be in elementary school.  In many districts, it is now middle school, due to overcrowding, etc.  If a district has sixth grade in elementary school, I am qualified to teach it.  All the subjects: English, math, social studies, science, PE, whatever.  It a district has sixth grade in a middle school but keeps the sixth graders in one classroom all day while the older students switch classes (not common but exists), I can teach it.   All the subjects.  Now, if you take that same sixth grade, with the same curriculum and the same state-mandated standards, and the same age students... but you have them change classes... I am magically not qualified any more.  Now I'm only teaching English (one class of it) so even though I was qualified to teach that SAME English class plus all the other subjects, once you take the other subjects away, I am no longer qualified.

In practice, it doesn't matter that much.  I have to promise to take a test in the next year if I want to keep the position, and the position is only four months long.  But in theory, it is really frustrating.  All the same, I'm glad for the job.


helenlam said...

Congratulations on the teaching position! The kids will love you.

House Dreams said...

We're so glad for you.