Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Quiet Quitting Versus Quiet Firing

The "quiet quitting" thing is not news to teachers. In teacherland, it's called "working to the contract" and it is an alternative to striking that can still bring a school district to a grinding halt.

My old district, like most, depended on teacher volunteer hours. Heck, for years, the school schedule depended on the assumption that teachers would stop by the office to pick up mail and memos before their actual report time arrived (at which time we were expected to be in our room with students). 

I call "quiet quitting" a bad euphemism for "no longer donating free work to an ungrateful boss." 

The problem for teachers, of course, is that when they stop donating hours, the person who most immediately suffers is that teacher. "I am NOT going to do any preparation of paperwork and handouts outside of school, and then tomorrow I can just.... not have the materials I need to run class." Or maybe "I'll just never grade any papers outside of school hours and  so students can just get their assignments back ten weeks later when the feedback will not serve any educational purpose, and I can just assign two essays this year, accomplishing next to nothing." Yeah, that'll show them.

The job is built wrong, based on the assumption that if the teacher isn't standing up in front of students, the taxpayers aren't getting their money's worth. So they only way to do a decent job and maintain your professional self-respect is to donate the extra time needed to get the work done.

If that weren't enough, this post popped up today, courtesy of Bonnie Dilber on LinkedIN. Here's the opening section:

The "Quiet Quitting" thing is funny to me. I think the real conversation should be around "Quiet Firing" as it's rampant.

You don't receive feedback or praise.

You get raises of 3% or less while others are getting much more.

Your 1:1s are frequently cancelled or shuffled around.

You don't get invited to work on cool projects or stretch opportunities.

You're not kept up-to-date on information that is relevant or critical to your work.

Your manager never talks to you about your career trajectory.

My first thought was that yes, that would suck. My second thought was that this, for teachers, is pretty much every ordinary day.

Feedback or praise? No, just one badly designed teacher evaluation thingy, often rushed through in May with an administrator who is swamped but is required to get these done.

Raises of 3% or less? In a good year, maybe.

Face to face meetings? Does eating lunch with a couple of colleagues in fifteen minutes or less count?

Cool projects? Stretch opportunities? Maybe you get a chance to set up something yourself. Teachers do get lots of squeeze opportunities (Here's a new unit we would like you to squeeze into your 180 days of instruction.)

Up-to-date information? Get your own. And maybe we'll let you know about new district policies before you read about them in the newspaper. Or maybe not.

Career trajectory? Granted, teaching is a career where you start in the middle and then slowly rise to the middle, but still--imagine a teaching job where your boss talked to you about your development as a professional on a regular basis. "Imagine" being the key word.

I read this post and thought, "Holy smokes-- so teachers are regularly treated in a way that the private sector would consider a form of firing??!!" 

You may have a teaching job in which some of these don't apply. I had a good boss or two who actually avoided some of this quiet firing stuff. But I'm afraid too many of us totally recognize this pattern, or maybe just get it on some gut level.\

There are probably other quit things that apply to teaching (for instance, Quietly Treating Grown-up Professionals As If They're Untrustworthy Children), but for right now, these two seem like plenty.

No comments:

Post a Comment