If I hear this again I am going to scream!
The majority of the teachers in the Rubber Rooms don't want their cases expedited?!
They don't want the DOE to hire more arbitrators?!
They don't want to speak about their cases or have their day in court?!!
Most teachers prefer staying in the Rubber Room over returning to their schools... They like where they are and want to stay there. It's frightening to think that this is the overall Rubber Room consensus according to some union sources. Hard to believe -but it's true.
Let me take a minute to vent now. Excuse me, but I wasn't asked!!! I may have been in the "little girl's room" or hallucinating from the smothering lack of oxygen, but I don't recall anyone asking me what I would prefer!!!!
I actually overheard a union representative responding to the question of why the union hasn't pushed for the DOE to hire more arbitrators; "There are a 'vast number of opportunities' available to a reassigned teacher in the RR. -Why, there's Bible Study Class at 9, followed by Aerobics at 10, Crocheting for Beginners, The Book of the Month Club and a Meditation Group before lunch. The teachers are educating each other and having fun. Sounds like a retirement home to me. They are safe from the harrassment of administrators. Why would they want to leave and return to their schools?" Well, when you put it this way- it kinda makes sense.
What this is saying is that while I sit day after day in the Rubber Room staring at a concrete wall, there are other reassigned teachers who actually prefer to be here rather than returning to the classroom. Instead of having their day in court and/or the opportunity to clear themselves, they would rather stay put. Why would a teacher want to waste their talents and years of education to sit all day instead of teach?
Everyday that I must spend in the Rubber Room is another day that I am tormented by a feeling of powerlessness. I find myself in a physical and emotional battle that borderlines insanity. It's not the fact that I have been a very active and energetic teacher in the classroom, but the fact that as a human I am restricted to the perimeter of a small room that allows for very little movement and lack of personal space. Have you ever heard of 'bed sores?'
The mere mention of returning to the classroom or being around children has some teachers shaking in their boots. They have been so abused, misused and terrorized that even the Rubber Room is a palatable choice over the possibility of justice. This year alone, I have learned that 5 of my hardworking, experienced colleagues have received letters informing them that in September they will no longer retain their various positions as "Teacher Trainers, Reading Specialists and Clusters." With tears in their eyes, they have described the feeling of shame and embarrassment among their colleagues, friends and families.
This system is so dysfunctional and destructive that it brings experienced professionals to their knees. It damages their self esteem so badly that they feel they must lie to their friends, families and even their spouses. The fear of being misunderstood and judged as incompetent serves the DOE well in that it keeps the public from knowing about the travesties of the Rubber Room. It is so dysfunctional that these experienced professionals are succumbing to the horrendous conditions of their fate without even a fight.
Ask me what I think. Go on, just ask.
JUSTICE not "just us" said...
Very well put. The responses to the rubber room vary among indivivduals as you pointed out. I was sent to the rubber room by a principal who was fired. I was working in a school that was and is totally dysfuntional. My health was was being adversaly affected. In fact a colleague who was being harassed by the Principal drop dead of a heart attack days before the end of the worst year in education that I have ever had in my 20 year tenure with the DOE.
I have documented my harassment on my blog for all to read and it is my contention that I was already in a rubber room being that my students were being questioned everyday, some of the sicker female co-teachers were attempting to set me up on the instructions of the principal and I was being observed everyday for a week.