Thursday, September 01, 2005

Things to Learn About Teaching

Ok, let me say up front, there's a LOT for me to learn about teaching that have nothing to do with today's post, but these tidbits today happen to be on the top of my brain and I figured I'd share them with you.

You may remember way back in May my posting something titled Whaddya Gotta Do For A Job?. This specifically addressed the requirements associated with getting a job in the Providence public school system. It turns out that a school about a mile from me is under state supervision for many reasons, which caused a lot of teachers to decide to retire or otherwise bailout (I don't know all the particulars, but my guess is that a few were invited to leave as well.) So there was an ad in the local paper which indicated that this particular school in the Providence system was looking for many teachers, across many disciplines. If you go to the
Providence school system web site you'll find a list of things that an application must have (note: these requirements are still applicable as of today):

Teaching Applications must include the following:

-State of Rhode Island teaching certification
-Copy of Praxis or National Teaching Exam
-Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI)background check
-Three (3) current letters of reference
-Original transcripts
-Copy of driver’s license and/or passport and social security card
-Mantoux (PPD) skin test results (tuberculosis)
-Hepatitis vaccine

All applicants who are not currently employed by the Providence School
Department must submit an original state and national criminal records check
through the Attorney General’s Office, Rhode Island State Police or local police
department where they reside.

Department of Attorney General
150 South Main Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 274-4400
$29.00 for both

An application packet will not be processed until these documents are obtained. Please refer to Law #16-2-18.1 Criminal Records Review. [Blogger's note: My emphasis on this section of the the city requirement.]

At the time I originally posted a blog entry about this I estimated that just to get your application in the door, i.e. just for them to LOOK at your application without a guarantee of a job offer, someone would need to spend roughly $125 to $150. This was based on my assumption that a hepatitis vaccine (this is for hepatitis B) was about the same cost as a TB test. I just found out at my new job that a hepatitis vaccine costs some $200, it's a series of 3 shots given over a period of about 9 months. Moreover only those teaching or working in areas where there's a reasonable likelihood of exposure to blood need get the vaccine, so we're talking nurses, physical education instructors, people working with special ed students, and, here's where I come in, chemistry teachers who work with a large amount of glass. Of course Providence doesn't appear to make that differentiation regarding their job applications, so what should we assume regarding this and what might it tell us? Well maybe that regardless of what discipline you work for the possibility of being exposed to blood is so high that the school district deems it necessary to require your being vaccinated, at your expense, of course; now that should instill confidence in the average applicant, I'm sure.

So just to get your application in the door in Providence you don't need to spend a bit over $100, but rather you need to spend close to $300, and you best have gotten the process started early if you're going to be fully vaccinated. At my current job I've been been told I can be vaccinated if I want and it'll come at the school district's cost, which frankly is where it should come from inasmuch as it's decidedly a job related risk we're talking about here. I have to wonder if Providence expects their custodial hires to all get tetanus shots on their dime before they're allowed to submit an application and my guess is if someone from their reads this (someone will surely have the chance as I'll be sending this to them, the mayor and a long list of others I've communicated with in the past) if they're not doing this they'll institute such a policy and chalk up another cost savings for the Providence Dept of Ed at the cost of the little guy.

Now maybe the requirements as laid out above (which were taken directly from the Providence Dept of Education web site) are not strictly adhered to, I mean this IS Providence after all and God only knows that maybe there are ways around having to lay out some $300 to get your application in the door. Or maybe not, maybe RI is a bastion of integrity and there are simply that many qualified teachers running around out there who've already had a $200 series of hepatitis B shots (likely because they were lucky like me and had their previous school employer pay for it as once you get the vaccination you don't need to get it again) and those who haven't, well they either shell out or the hell with them.

I don't know how this lays out, but I'll give the Providence Board of Education the benefit of the doubt and assume corruption is not an issue, but having to lay out $300 to simply play at the table with zero guarantee of a payout is ludicrous and discriminatory. I mean really, how many people with restricted means are going to shell out this type of money? Moreover, on the
whole when something that's supposed to be open to all but is de facto income restricted, who do we find being left out?At this point in my very limited teaching career (this is my first year teaching) I've already spent out of pocket about $150 to get my classroom ready for what I hope to do in the coming year. Frankly I don't mind that money, in fact I pretty much expected that I'd have to spend some money and expect that I will regularly have money coming out of my pocket to support what I want to do in my classroom. That's fine by me as I believe in the cause and on the whole, I appreciate that money is an "issue" these days, and I don't think I'm being stiffed by my school system when it comes down to things that shouldn't be dumped on me to pay for. How willing should teachers in Providence be to go the extra mile when they're expected to spend significant out of pocket sums simply to get in the door for an interview?

The bottom line is that the system for attracting teachers into the Providence school system is discriminator and penurious, placing the burden for employment on the prospective employee vice the employer. This is wrong, and it needs to be changed.


Blogger Africanuck said...

I just about choked at the $200 price tag to get vaccinated... it's no wonder that Americans spend so much on health care, the same vaccine along with all of visits to the doctor to have it administered would run you maybe $70 total, less if you go to a nurse instead of a doctor to have the shots done. And the health care system would reimburse pretty much all of it.

That said, see if you can get the Merck vaccine that doesn't contain thimersol (or whatever it is that they call the mercury that they put in there to preserve it). France took the Hep B vaccine off of it's list of mandatory vaccinations due to concerns about a possible vaccine/MS connection. I don't know if they ended up proving it or not, but it's still not been made mandatory again.

1:12 AM  
Blogger James said...

I've not had a vaccine administered by a doctor for some time, and my last TB test was done entirely by a nurse. In this case, for the school I'm now with, the person who'd be administering the vaccine is also the school nurse, so I'm not sure where the overall cost of the vaccine is coming from. Given that I'd be getting the vaccine from the school system I work for I can only imagine what it might cost for someone having to walk in off the street to meet a job requirement - I'd guess that if my school system is paying $200 to buy and administer a batch of vaccine that it'd cost more for someone having to buy a single vaccination.

I've not heard of a connection between mercury in vaccines and MS. I've heard of one between mercury in vaccines and autism, which I'm confident is totally bogus. If there were such a connection with regard to MS I'd guess there'd be a bigger stink about it here than there's been. The fact is that if there's such a connection I'm long past exposed with what's in my teeth and the vaccinations I received long before anyone was making claims, specious by and large as near as I can determine, about mercury causing this, that and the other thing.

Given that Hepatitis B is a bloodborne pathogen, that exposure to it is almost a sure thing for medical workers especially, and that Hep B will indeed kill you, I have a hard time appreciating France not making it mandatory for healthcare workers at a minimum. Near certain exposure with the consequences of certain life long illness and likely death from the virus against "speculation" that the vaccine may cause MS is a no-brainer in my book - I'd get the shot in a heartbeat. Now if I were not a medical professional I may have second thoughts, but not for long.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Coach Brown said...

Immunizations. $150.
Background Checks. $60
TB Tests. $35
Cost of the Credential. $55 (every time you change it)
Cost of classroom supplies ($50-$400 at start of year)

Not having spent a second on the job and shelling out $500-$600. Priceless.

Welcome to the world of Education.

12:25 AM  
Blogger James said...

Coach Brown,

Now THAT definitely got my attention - Thanks!

5:06 AM  
Blogger muse said...

That sure is a lot of money.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you never experience it, you can't understand it. Unfortunately, I've experienced vaccine reactions and results all too clearly. You can never go back and fix the damage. Don't jump into that Hep B so quickly. Once it happens to you or your child you'll understand, but it will be too late.

1:59 PM  

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