At every school, there are whispers of a horrid teacher. A knowing “ohhh” surfaces whenever their name is used to explain someone’s mood.
One whose name gets passed through the halls, whispers traveling up and down, talking of stories that could be written in horror novels.
One whose name is spoken with glances, making sure that they aren’t around to hand out repercussions.
One whose name is emphasized during the freshman tours, keeping the fresh meat in the know about all the ins and outs of their school.
I’ve talked a lot about student inclusivity, but why does it only have to stop at how student’s act? Who’s to say that teachers aren’t a huge part of making the environment of a school?
Leigh teachers and staff are not exempt from this call out either. Many teachers don’t seem to understand the weight of our grades and the importance we place on them, and we simply can’t ignore our grades because of seemingly unfair policies and practices. And knowing the teachers that I am talking about, we can not afford having our grades fall even more as a result of inequitable grading practices, whether realized or not. Most of the teachers that will come to the forefront of the mind at the mention of unfairness, have tenure. That does not mean that they can not be fired, I found, but it is something equally bad.
Before I continue with my train of thought, it is important to understand “tenure”. What is it? Why does it exist? How does it protect teachers? Especially if they have every reason to be fired, should tenure exist?
Firstly, what even is tenure? According to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), “A tenured appointment is an indefinite appointment that can be terminated only for cause or under extraordinary circumstances such as financial exigency and program discontinuation.” To simplify, tenure allows academic professors freedom of speech and action without the pressure of corporate or political parties. In just those two sentences I answered the next two questions, why and how. Tenure takes away the fear of being fired for saying the wrong thing. That is what is different about tenure—it allows for careful consideration of a case before actions are taken.
While tenure, in theory, is a good thing to protect teacher’s first amendment rights, there are also very many downfalls to this practice. Teachers with tenure might be suspended with pay, when they should have been fired instead. See the problem? Tenure is good for university professors. However, the main argument is about its practicality for high school teachers, especially when high school grades can set forward a path for the rest of a student’s life. Grades in college don’t matter any less, but there is a distinct difference between high school and college grades.
Why should teachers who hide behind the idea of having tenure, be allowed to abuse their position of power, causing student’s to cry and resent coming to school? Why should teachers, specifically teachers with bad reputations throughout the school, have so much power over a student’s grade? Yes, I understand how stupid the idea of having so much power over a grade sounds, but why should teacher’s be allowed to mess with a student’s mind so far that they cry all semester, hoping and praying that the rumors are true and that their grade will miraculously be raised by the end of the semester? Why should a student stop caring about their bad grades after they’ve complained to the authorities of the school, who all told them that nothing can be done because of tenure? Why should students become more and more depressed, unwilling to come to school, because they know that nothing can be done about their grade? Why should students lose their love for a subject because their teacher’s behavior ripped it from them?
Teachers should not group students into a common ground when every student that they interact with is different. Teachers should not grade based on whether or not they like the personality of a student, instead of if they have learned from their mistakes.
Inclusivity in this school does not only fall on the students’ shoulders. Inclusivity also depends on the staff who have more power than students could ever dream of.