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UFT.org Home > News > New York Teacher > New teacher > New teacher Q & A > What is tenure and how do I know when I get it? If I change my teaching assignment and license from kindergarten to 4th grade, will that affect my tenure?
New teacher q & a
What is tenure and how do I know when I get it? If I change my teaching assignment and license from kindergarten to 4th grade, will that affect my tenure?
March 13, 2008 New York Teacher issue
A: Tenure is an important safeguard of academic freedom that protects teachers from being fired for the personal or political objectives of a supervisor or due to outside pressure. That doesn’t mean a tenured teacher has a “guaranteed job for life,” as some opponents of tenure contend. It means that once you have tenure, you cannot be dismissed without being formally charged and having a hearing before an independent tribunal on those charges. In other words, teachers can still be dismissed but with due process, not arbitrarily or vindictively.
To achieve permanent tenured status, you must fulfill certain conditions. You must be appointed, complete all your certification and licensing requirements, and must complete a probationary period with satisfactory service. The normal probationary period is three years, although this can be reduced with credit for prior service or extended if your principal has doubts about recommending you for tenure.
You will know that you have tenure when your principal recommends you for it. If you are not recommended for tenure, you will face termination, unless your probationary period is extended.
If you switch from one license area to another, the status of your tenure depends on whether you make that change before or after you have attained tenure. If you switch before you have tenure in your original license area, you will have to start over with a new probationary period in the new license.
If you switch after you have attained tenure, you keep the tenure in the prior license. If you want to receive tenure in the new license area, you must get appointed in the new license area and then you can apply for “Traveling Tenure.” This means your probationary period will be reduced by one year — from three years to two years.