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Follow-Up: "Podium" Time

Mark Sass

My fellow bloggers have been tossing around some ideas about how education views and uses time. Much of the writing has focused on the role of time as it impacts student learning and how it impacts the day-in and day-out lives of teachers. I think we need to expand our domain in which we have been applying the notion of time.

If we are to look at time in education in a different manner, for a different purpose, we also need to look at time as it relates to how we compensate teachers. For example, take a look at most teacher contracts and their pay scales. Salaries are contingent on how many years you have taught and are influenced by the number of either college or professional development credits you have. Do these time-bound units of teacher characteristics accurately portray what we value in teachers?

I have been through what my union calls Appendix E meetings that determine which teacher gets the axe when we are going through forced reductions. The main factor influencing this decision is how long a teacher has been in the building. I believe this is similar in fallacy to giving students credit for "seat time" in class. Let's call it "lectern" or "podium" time. Does this time accurately describe the effectiveness or quality of a teacher? What role should time play in the evaluation of a teacher?

Mark Sass has been teaching high school social sciences for 16 years, for the past 12 years at Legacy High School in Broomfield, Colo.

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