Thursday, June 18, 2009

There will be shrieking

It happens every June here at ABCTE – I get yelled at because people fail their exams and are in danger of losing their jobs. About 40% of our candidates respond to our surveys that they are currently working in education. A full 20% are actually the teacher of record and they came in on an emergency license or some other license. Because of their situation, they now have until June 30th or July 31st to complete their ABCTE program or they cannot teach next year.

The problem is that people wait until the last minute to take their exams. So if they don’t pass, there isn’t a lot of time to get things done. In some cases the automatic response by these teachers is to shriek loudly at all levels of the organization hoping that someone will just miraculously pass them. Obviously this doesn’t work. So we all scramble around to get them some help and then in to re-test.

The automatic response you may have is that these people are procrastinators, at worse lazy, and don’t deserve our help. But I take a different view – they don’t have time during the year to get things done. If you have ever taught, you know that first year teaching is physically and mentally exhausting and at night you still have to tweak those lesson plans, grade papers and run your life outside of school. This doesn't leave much room to study which is why we prefer, and strongly encourage, that all alternatively certified teachers get their work done BEFORE entering the classroom. But that is not always the case with the teacher shortages out there today.

So next year we are going to push a little harder in April to reduce the shriekage in June – but knowing how hectic the end of the school year can be, I won't hold my breath.