About a year and a half ago I was notified by my school district that 269 of my fellow teachers and I were no longer needed. My district had to cut 28 million dollars from the budget, and layoffs were necessary. I am very grateful that I was among the first to be rehired and did not miss a single day of work. I was rehired before we went on summer break, so I was able to focus on doing my job, rather than finding a job.
Going through the whole process I realized that in a district of more than 1,600 teachers I am the only one with my particular credential. I learned that I can not sit back and rely on tenure to protect my job. While I have a piece of paper that says I have tenure, it only matters if there are people below me on the seniority list who I can “bump” when layoffs come. There is no one below me, and there is not going to be anyone below me. I have no tenure. I have seen enough district politics to know that I my job security is only as strong as my relationship with district higher ups, and district higher ups come and go. Worse, there are very few jobs out there for a guy with my particular credential. Very few.
I realized a year ago that I need to do something to beef up my marketability. I love my job, and I love working where I work, but I need to be prepared for something else. After looking at a number of options I decided I should get an administrative credential. If I were to loose my job I reasoned I could always start that school I have been thinking about in the back of my head.
In California there are two options to obtain an administrative credential; pass a test, or take a series of classes. I have heard the test is fairly easy if you prepare, and it is comparatively inexpensive. The classes take a full year, cost a good deal of money, and are well, graduate level classes.
I opted for the classes.
So this fall I find myself sitting in a classroom three nights a week learning about school administration. On the upside, the school is only about 2 miles from my classroom. I have to stop at two stop signs on my way to class, and I don’t leave the neighborhood my students live in. On the downside, the school is over an hour from home, and it is a long drive after a full day at work plus a class on top. I think I see a lot of taco bell bean burritos in my future this year.
This time next year I should, if all goes as planned, have an administrators credential. I won’t have to worry nearly as much about loosing my job. Hopefully I will also have a better understanding of how to be a good administrator running a great school. Stay tuned.