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05 November 2004: Job Posting: Unreasonable Diligence and Paperwork Required (3 of 5)

Oh, but so much worse than looking for jobs is actually applying for them.

This summer, I filled out six district applications. Each one required between four and eight pages of information, hand written or typed (really? are there even typewriters still functioning outside of mortgage brokers?). They all asked for pretty much the same information: residence, former positions in teaching, former positions not in teaching, education, references. Okay. I get why this is important information. What I don’t get is why this information is somehow less valid on my resume.

And, sincerely, if this is all the information they ask for before they invite someone to an interview, is it any wonder that the quality of teaching around here is so atrocious? What about asking them to describe their practice? “List three strategies you use to help English Language Learners build their vocabulary.” “Describe your classroom procedures for sharpening pencils.” I swear, anyone’s answers to these questions reveal so much more than the number of years teaching at any given site.

I know that even though many unions function this way, experienced teachers are not the same as effective teachers, right? So why do the applications favor experience? Oh, one more thing: why do they need my scores on the standardized tests I have passed? I couldn’t have received my credential without passing them, yet a copy of my credential does not vouch for my having passed them.

teaching quote of the day

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.

- Chinese proverb

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