Teacher Work Contracts
January 17, 2014By Cynthia Lara of South Houston High School
Teachers are having mixed emotions on a new district proposal to shorten work contracts. The district is considering taking a new direction on teacher work contracts from the traditional three year work contracts to possibly one year contracts. What this means is a teacher will no longer be locked into a teaching position for 3 years, but rather one year.
This will make it easier for the district to dismiss a teacher without breaking a legal contract if the teacher is deemed incompetent. While this one year contract will make it easier to dismiss inadequate teachers, what about unexperienced first year teachers? Ms. Diane Pretoroti, now a second year teacher at South Houston High School, says this one year contract may not be beneficial to some first year teachers.
“Honestly for first year teachers, the first year is all about survival; getting into the swing of things,” said Pretoroti. “The second year is when you really start to figure out what kind of teacher you want to be. The third year is when you’ve got your routine and curriculum down. First year teachers are a lot like freshman, there going through the motions their first year. ”
Other teachers agree with Pretoroti saying that often times the learning curve for new teachers take more than a year.
“While my first year turned out great, there were definitely many bumps along the way,” said Ms. Andrea Nguyen, also a second year teacher at SHHS. “Had it not been for supportive and understanding administrators, I may not have survived.”
Supporters of shortening the teacher work contracts believe the move will get the inadequate teachers to try harder in order to retain their jobs.