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
-Copy of driver’s license and/or passport and social security card
-Mantoux (PPD) skin test results (tuberculosis)
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
$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.