There has been some sad news in the papers lately in our community. Teachers who had a passion for a particular subject and had built a curriculum over the years, becoming expert in their content and methods, are involuntarily being moved to different schools and assigned to teaching new subjects.
This is unfortunate on many levels. It is unfortunate for the students who will no longer benefit from the expertise and passion of these teachers. It will take years for other teachers to reach the mark to which these teachers had risen, assuming schools are lucky enough to find replacements who have the same enthusiasm for their subject, same strong work ethic, same devotion toward their students.
It is unfortunate for the teachers being moved. They have been sent back to start. They have been demeaned instead of rewarded for their important work in the eyes of their professional communities. One of these teachers had only one more year to teach before retirement.
It is unfortunate for all the other teachers in the school communities who will not now have these teachers as leaders from whom others could learn and grow. It will take them some time to re-establish themselves in their new environments, if we are lucky enough not to have discouraged them completely.
I am reading a wonderful book called The Great Work by Thomas Berry. I awoke this morning thinking about the recent news and one of his phrases came to mind: communion of subjects. He says in his introduction, “The future can exist only when we understand the universe as composed of subjects to be communed with, not as objects to be exploited.” It is a tall order and we have a long way to go, but perhaps we can start in our own backyard, with each other.
School Board policy states that administrators should transfer or re-assign teachers on the basis the employee’s qualifications, school system needs, and employee preference. Someone understood Thomas Berry’s wisdom when they wrote this policy. May we all be wise enough to follow it.