Our Lost Generation

An excellent blog you should visit is Stories from School: Practice Meets Policy. Important issues in education are raised, discussed, and analyzed. Check it out.

On a recent post I made the comment below. I’m curious if you agree with it or do not. Let me know.

We are in a profession that eats its young. We fire them first, often provide them little support, expect much of them, and give them extra requirements to complete upon starting the job.

My district is facing a gap of 3 years of not hiring a new teacher. With the budget cuts, we’re losing FTE and not bringing in new people. On top of this, we have now left our newest teachers to seek out their own improvement. Not promising.

Will this be education’s Lost Generation?

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4 thoughts on “Our Lost Generation

  1. aphillieteacher

    It’s the opposite in our school and possibly our district. The attitude is that new (read “young”) teachers have more energy and relate better to the students. They’re hip!

    The other side of the coin says that experienced (“old”) teachers are lazy, refuse to change and are too expensive. Intentionally or not, they get in the way of progress.

    We’re very aware of a “out with the old, in with the new” attitude in our school and the result is that it’s pitting one side against the other.

    The young teachers believe they are shiny and wonderful and wish the “old” teachers would go away. The oldsters feel disrespected and resentful when they see favoritism toward one group.

    I’m not making this up: our hiring committee this year was made up entirely of teachers just finishing their first year and anyone with more than 10 years of service were discounted in many decision making opportunities.

    Reply
  2. Jim Van Pelt

    It’s the opposite in our district too. Last year they offered incentives to get experienced teachers to retire and hired new (inexperienced) teachers who are paid less to replace them. Of course, to also save money, they hired fewer teachers than the number who retired, so class size will go up, and some programs are vanishing. Next year is supposed to be even worse, budgetwise.

    Reply
  3. drpezz Post author

    I think our leadership has the same mentality (that younger means better), but what has happened is that because of the economy, no one is retiring and with cutbacks positions are lost. Thus, no new people are being hired; the old guard is just shifted around the district.

    Our hiring freeze could go on for another 2-4 years. This would mean not one new teacher–experienced or new to the profession–for 5-7 years. I wonder what this will do to the profession and district.

    Reply
  4. E

    I hate to sound pessimistic, but I don’t think it’ll matter. Education is so stagnate and monolithic that such a gap in new vs. old won’t see many, if any, major effects. I think this is due to two things: education policy that is very top-driven and a populace that thinks the “old ways” are the “best ways” as far as education goes and is very reluctant for anything new to be introduced. Why? Because education lacks good public relations. This is evident in the many, many negative perceptions in general regarding misbehaving bad teachers and bad unions (regardless if it’s true and that’s not the point here. The point is the perception, not the reality). For education to get what it wants and the changes it wants, there needs to be a shift in perceptions and a shift in what local populaces will support.

    Reply

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