My name is Bryan Steinberg, and I’ve been teaching in the district for 8 years. Experience is essential in teaching because every year you learn from your mistakes in lesson planning, classroom management and development, and problem solving difficult situations in class that occur spontaneously. My first two years at Olney, I handled so many situations hastily and without tact! From years 3-8 at Rush, I remembered what not to do when similar situations popped up or ironed out mistakes in framing and sequencing a lesson. Any teacher must see thousands of situations play out in front of them before they become a veteran. Here is how my experience elevated my classes at Rush, I wanted to better my 12th grade social science class and make it more rigorous. So, I started to read hundreds of Supreme Court cases for leisure. That sounds really dorky, but it’s true! I had a lot of free time in 2013 because I was laid off along with 3800 other people because of you. A few months later, I got my job back at Rush on Halloween and taught my students to read and analyze step by step a full text Supreme Court case, then they picked their own case to research like Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier, Chicago v McDonald, Oregon Vs. Gonzalez, PP v Casey and many more, so I printed out 150 full text-hard copy cases for the entire senior class, the students annotated the case, then wrote a 10 page paper about the majority decision, dissent, concurring opinion and the effect it had on society and their opinion on the ruling, I graded it over x-mas break, then they created an art project paralleling the subject matter of the paper after the break, then they presented the case and the art project to their class before Spring Break. This was our senior project at Rush for the last 2 years. The point is that project took three years to plan for class, so I could roll it out effectively in my 7th and 8th year of teaching.
If the district cannot retain teachers after the five-year mark, how can you be a master of your craft and implement effective and rigorous lessons?
Simple answer: Its not possible!! The suburban districts will only reap the benefits because teachers will flock to those districts in droves, and take their lessons with them. Sonny Bavaro and myself were going to take 12th grade social science + senior project to new heights.
BUT who cares now, because now the senior project is scraped, finished, done, down the drain, over, goodbye, never again!!!!!
And Why is that? Because All of you are blinded by your ignorant and ineffective policies, and you don’t see that continuity of experience is number 1 reason for morale for staff and students. You see teachers as numbers, bodies, and dollars, not investments!!!
I don’t have to worry about the contract situation anymore do I because I am leaving, but parents should know what the district is doing to “save money” and “reform education” is really just pushing a reset button to bring in rookies that know very little about their subject matter or how to control a class! Oh well!! So, if you hear the district’s radio campaign to recruit teachers, please know it is an insult to me and my colleagues and its propaganda for the public! Forcing out experienced teachers by not giving a raise/contract for 5 years and bringing in new ones with little experience is a slap in the face to all of us. And don’t get me started on charter school expansion and financial fraud, that’s conversation for another day.
Thanks education reformers for making me quit the job I loved for nearly a decade. But don’t worry, I forgot experience doesn’t matter in this district! I’ll never teach in Philly again unless the SRC disbands itself permanently!
Thank you to all of my colleagues and students at Olney and currently at Rush, it’s been a pleasure for sure!