I just read, “Teachers oppose forced transfers” in your May 29 edition. It’s a front-page story by Staff Writer Caleb Lunetta and I have to say that at best I am confused and dismayed. I am confused because there is no explanation as to how these transfers will bring about “maximum student learning,” something the superintendent claims.
Actually, the reverse is true. Forced teacher transfers as an ongoing policy will reduce teacher effectiveness, crush teacher moral, reduce community involvement, and lower student learning. Here’s why:
When an elementary teacher begins his or her career, he or she will soon discover what grade level suits them best. It may be because of the age level of the children or the content of the curriculum or a combination of both. In any case, once the teacher determines that grade level, he or she will begin making an investment in time and material to put forth the best learning experience for the children. After time, this teacher will be “expert” at that grade level. So, it’s easy to see that a forced grade level change would force the teacher to start over and certainly reduce effectiveness.
In secondary school a similar situation exists. If you have a teacher who is great at math and science, why would you want to force transfer that teacher to teach English?
I don’t think there is any question that when morale is low, effectiveness suffers.
Just imagine you have a job but you don’t know from year to year or perhaps even day to day what work you will be doing and where you will be working. What do you think that would do to your morale. Yeah…crash! And there is more involved for teachers who have been in a school for some time. Good and helpful relationships are formed within the community. Force transferring them certainly won’t help. So, it should be clear that these things will impact student learning in a negative way. Forced teacher transfers as an ongoing policy is just such a dumb idea it makes my blood boil, and I never have been a teacher in the Newhall School District.
I am, however quite concerned with the education of or children. I am a retired Los Angeles Unified School District teacher, and though no longer in the classroom, I want our children to be offered a sound education. There is no doubt that there are times when circumstances require a teacher to transfer, but those instances should not be the norm.
Does the Newhall School District have a teachers union? If there ever was an issue leading to a strike, this is it.
The superintendent’s email says, “I am confident that all the dedicated and caring teachers across this district will welcome your new colleagues into your ‘teacher family’ with open arms in the weeks ahead.”
When I read that I thought, “What a bunch of garbage.” Of course new teachers would be greeted kindly. That’s not the point! Dedicated and caring teachers should not be treated in this manner.