What is Teacher Tenure?

Teachers are professionals who operate with educational systems. After a certain number of years as a practicing professional, some teachers will obtain teacher tenure. Many people do not really know what teacher tenure is. This article addresses the questions of what teacher tenure is, how it is obtained and whether it is beneficial for teachers and educational systems.

Teacher tenure is conferred upon teachers of senior rank, not new teachers. Tenure generally makes it very difficult to remove a teacher or professor from their job position. The purpose and rationale behind the concept of tenure is simply that academia rests and relies upon the idea of professors being able to be free thinkers and free speakers. In the old days before teacher tenure, it was supposed that if teachers were in fear of their jobs, they would not "rock the boat" by coming up with concepts that could be considered radical lines of thought. This ability of professors to be free thinkers that cannot lose their jobs for newer notions and ideas, is one of the things that protects universities as places of true intellectual promise. Teacher tenure therefore, is an important safeguard to intellectual freedom.

How is Teacher Tenure Obtained?

The teaching position is normally identified in the job position description as one that will be eventually eligible for tenure by stating that it is a tenure track job. Therefore, the teacher or professor will know at the outset that they are in a job that could have tenure as a future possibility. There must be a review conducted of the teacher's performance, and the committee will decide whether or not tenure is merited. This review is a very important point in a professional's career.

Is Teacher Tenure Beneficial?

As an overall concept, tenure is very beneficial both to society and to individual teachers. Yes, there will be certain individuals who will abuse the tenure system. However, the overall premise of the tenure system protects intellectual freedom and the free flow of ideas. This is necessary and important for the advancement of society. Every single invention and new notion was considered "crazy" when it was developed, yet new inventions and lines of thought are essential to the furtherance of society. Without new ideas, society would stagnate. Professors must not be in fear of losing their jobs and so fail to speak out on controversial subjects. Teacher tenure is beneficial to safeguard these basic freedoms.

The above is a description of what teacher tenure is. Explained is the concept behind the importance of teacher tenure, as well as how teacher tenure is obtained. Also mentioned is that teacher tenure is beneficial for society. As demonstrated above, teacher tenure is important for the individual professor and for the furtherance of society as a whole. Without teacher tenure, new ideas may not come out and be challenged and discussed in the open and accepting university system as freely. Such freedom of ideas is paramount in social improvement and social change.