Thursday, March 01, 2007

Could Lesson Study Make Me Sweat All Interview Long?

In a rare nod to the personal I went on an interview the other day, and I plan to reflect a little. The interview was my first with a school system in several years and the interview was nothing like any number of recent interviews I've had in the private sector. To be fair I'm dealing in a credentialed field where most of the screening has purportedly already happened. I also stand out some on a resume with a variety of education related activities. I've got high test scores, I've student taught, I have a valid state license, a master's degree, and God help me, a Ph.D. in the offing. I still can't help but be reminded that large school systems need warm bodies. If a school system can nab a warm body who is also able, then great, but a pulse is wonderful thing indeed.

Is this an unfair and primitive take on teacher recruitment? Sure it is. Still, I'm left pondering the usual, only this time within the framework of personal anecdote. If teachers were paid the way private sector professionals were paid would my interview have been casual? The interview might have been different if the teacher career were different. If the teaching field paid lower wages upon entry with differentiated pay scales based on need and skill, but also offered opportunities to gain significant performance based promotions I'd have sweat some serious bullets.

I stand on the shoulders of a lot of smart edufolk when I say that solid starting wages are only part of a policy solution to attract and keep talented professionals. The possibility for significant advancement in a field can make the difference between a career and a job. This is one of the reasons why I think teacher led reforms like Lesson Study paired with actionable promotion possibilities show so much promise. There can and should be career advancement in teaching beyond a jump to administration and NBPTS.

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