SCHOOL / Initial training and competitions, high risk that I change (only) for the worse

There is a new system for the recruitment of teachers, defined by Parliament by decree of 21 April, 70 thousand new teachers in 2024: integrated paths between school and university, different according to the number of uncertain years, competitions only at the end of the route and preference track for historically insecure workers.

The unions expressed dissatisfaction with not being involved in the decisions in time. The trade unions have expressed their lukewarm approval.

It was probably the fifteenth attempt at mediation in a political framework in which the majority consists of political forces that have enormously different visions with regard to the school theme (as well as others in general).

Having made the norm, the hope is that in reality it will be possible to build a positive and effective synergy between the systems; Siss and Tfa (the introductory paths to the teaching profession promoted by the universities) had shown the possibility of constructive paths, they could with some adjustments have constituted the main path to contribute to the formation of a solid teaching profession. Their structure should have been strengthened, their evaluation competence immediately verified, and the relationship between the systems should have been increased.

Instead, we wanted to give new space to the competition tool: computer-controlled selective testing and concluding interview. We see the results: in the context of exhausting rankings, a colossal and unproductive machine has been set in motion, which proves all its inefficiency, but even the just-issued decree seems to want to keep it. People still do not want to welcome foreign best practices, they do not want to give up outdated practices.

In recent months, I myself have witnessed completely anachronistic procedures helplessly despite the extensive computerization. Many institutes, including the one I lead, have become places of selective testing, didactic laboratories sacrificed to the competition machine, teaching and non-teaching staff committed to ensuring the regularity of procedures, school leaders at the helm.

A truly humiliating model for the whole category: absent many candidates, insignificant percentages of positive results with consequent dramatic delusions coram populo, a rusty machine, humiliating for all. Pure notionism, in which of non-cognitive skills there are no traces.

But this is not the worst: the worst is represented by the perception that the school situation, the skills, the professionalism recognized by the parents and above all by the students, the real protagonists in the training action, have no weight in the selection, much less the possible assessment by the head of the schools where the teachers work, totally excluded from any evaluation function.

The new decree for truth also places the responsibility of the evaluation committee, chaired by the school head, on confirming the enrollment process, but we know the weakness of this procedure, which is only placed at the end of the process.

The principal, who is called to account daily to the administration, the staff, but above all to children and families about the effectiveness of the cultural and pedagogical action, looks confused at this mysterious solitaire.

A competent leader knows who good teachers are, but still has no influence on choices.

Who writes, for example, in his own school, has met many young people with the right characteristics, yet almost all have been rejected through recent competitions: is all this fair?

Really humiliating for these young people (and not so young) to continue working on the “license” for failure printed on their foreheads, what an anachronistic mortification, what a shame for their students who appreciated their preparation but who did not will find them in the chair next year.

We find more effective selection methods. This is a national emergency priority. Foreign models and proposals received from masters promoted to the development of school management offer a wide range of selection models, also on this occasion, neglected. We repeat it once again: the good teacher is first and foremost those who want to use their professionalism with and for young people, children or young people.

The good teacher is in love with the disciplines he teaches, he wants to deepen them, he wants to suggest them to the youngest, because he is convinced that through them, reality in its complexity can be more understandable and fascinating.

The good teacher knows how to choose the essential content of the subject, he knows how to put them in contact with the other subjects, but he also wants to continuously compare them with reality.

The good teacher knows how to evaluate with transparency and justice, the good teacher is constantly updated, not only for bureaucratic obligations, but because he, like any good researcher, maintains an infinite desire for knowledge.

The good teacher knows that culture constantly needs relationships, contacts, therefore he does not shut himself in his own knowledge, but is available to work passionately with colleagues.

The good teacher lives his present with responsibility and is therefore available to deal with the new needs, with the intercultural dimension, with the difficulties of learning, with the new fragility, without being scandalized by his own and others’ limitations, but eager to guide their daily efforts to get the young people to meet the path of knowledge and at the same time explain their work.

These are refined qualities, some acquired but mostly innate, years And genius Cicero would say, gifts for an exciting but also very demanding profession that should be looked at at least with the same esteem as other “high” professionals and with sufficient resources.

It is unlikely that the best candidates (especially in the scientific and technical disciplines) under the current conditions will undergo tests with such random results, without any career opportunities and with such a hostile social and media context.

Faced with the attempt, albeit imperfect, to build a more convincing model for recruitment and professional development, which does not value e.g. only career seniority, scandal was once again shouted out, there are fears that the main leader will take on censorship roles, echoes the chorus of total self-referential freedom of teaching. But what professional does not take into account the outcome of their engagement with superiors and users of their services?

In fact, we hope that the best candidates who have the distinctive traits, and who above all can meet, as in any profession with self-respect, will approach this extraordinary profession with masters, mentors, seniors who can seriously contribute to their education. Numbers of professionals who come from school and not from university, very far from the daily emergency one encounters in the classrooms.

We are not sure that the recently approved decree is the best solution. But that may be the best thing possible at the moment. Lets hope so.

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