Russell Catania: Tenure troubles

June 7, 2014 

Nobody should be guaranteed a job for life or for as long as they want. A vast majority of our teachers around the country are wonderful. However, some are “past their prime.”

I had one of those teachers back in the 1970s. She taught second-year Spanish. Our classroom was room 312, but she would go to room 212 and wonder why nobody was in class. She would make up unbelievable stories as to her tardiness. I was close to many teachers, and they would tell me stories about her, such as her letting herself into the men’s restrooms instead of the women’s (it accepted the same key). They all knew she had issues, but there was nothing that could be done.

As a result, my Spanish suffered greatly, as did my grades, my class ranking and my college acceptances. When a teacher is in violation of her contract by obvious means, such as “inappropriate conduct,” it’s easier to terminate, but when it’s poor performance or incompetence, it’s almost impossible.

A compromise must be reached, for the sake of the students’ education. Nothing is absolutely black and white; everything is gray, and there are many shades of gray.

Russell Catania


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