1. Tom Panarese

    A colleague of mine had been teaching theater as an elective–he’s an English teacher–and was told by our principal that his job was contingent upon his teaching that elective. He went to HR and found out that wasn’t the case.

    This profession can be maddening when it comes to things like that. You’re trying to do the responsible thing for your life–leaving a job for another job–and you’re tricked, conned, and pressured into staying. Most other professions would let you give two weeks notice and you’d be fine. There is something wrong here.

  2. Carina Hilbert

    Or, more likely, we are told whatever it takes to get us to stay and give our all only to be let go at the last minute after we turned down another job or most jobs are filled. This has happened to me more than once, jobs in which administrators stop just shy of actual promises but make it clear they want me to stay but then tell me at the last minute, after I have poured my all into the job, that they can’t renew my contract due to funding cuts or whatever. I hate that. Why not trust me to be professional but let me know in enough time to get a good job?

  3. I got a call from my principal early in summer vacation seven years ago. She told me she’d been up all night and needed to talk to me or she’d “never be able to live with herself.” Although I taught middle school students, she knew I had a passion and a talent for working with older students and for the theater. A position had just opened at our district high school that seemed like a perfect fit for me. I was stunned for several reasons. First, I wasn’t looking for a new position; I loved my colleagues and my school, but that wasn’t the point. My principal knew me, knew what would drive and inspire me to grow professionally, and personally called to say: “Go get it. That’s your job if you want it. If they don’t hire you, they’re crazy.”

    I polished up my resume, went for an interview, and later learned that she called in a personal reference for me. I was offered the job, and she was absolutely right. It was a challenge–and I loved it.

    To this day, Angela Johnson remains the measure against which compare other leaders. Her desire to see me develop my potential as a professional in a position that truly was the best fit outweighed any of the pressure it might have put on her to hire another teacher to fill my position–along with the three retirements and two other vacancies that year. She would be rebuilding her team, and while she could have kept the opening to herself and kept me as a veteran, she chose instead to nurture my skills.

    I hope some day to be in a position to do this for someone else.

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