August 30, 2008

It's PASS-OVER for the Reassigned...

Now that summer vacation is over, we dues paying members of the UFT are about to embark on the start of a new school year filled with anticipation and underrated ambition. So, why is this September different from all other Septembers? Perhaps it's because as a reassigned teacher, I've been "PASSedOVER"- (some pun intended).
On all other Septembers there were schedules to be triplicated, supplies to scavenge for, PDs to withstand, copy machines to battle with, parent meetings to schedule and several costly trips to 'Staples'. There were student record cards to decipher, teacher's manuals to dig up and lesson plans to formulate.

On this September, there's no shiny new crayons and no colorful border paper to hang... Absent is the sound of noisy kids and arrogant principals over the loudspeaker. There is just a list of the same old ridiculous rules and an empty room filled with tables and uncomfortable chairs. Time stands still in the Rubber Room. Passover comes early. Some reassigned teachers have been returned to their schools... others-like myself, have been ignored. There is no rhyme or reason to the methods used by the DOE. As a reassigned teacher who has still not received charges, there were no reassuring or concerned calls from my chapter leader this summer. Those stopped months ago No calls from the 'all powerful' Union. No one to say, "Rest easy, everything will work out fine".

For a reassigned teacher, the summer doesn't count in a big way; The timetable for receiving charges from a principal is 'supposed to be' six months from the date of reassignment. However, the clock stops ticking in the summer and resumes its' ticking process in September.
The DOE will conveniently use any excuse to extend ones' time spent in the Rubber Room. For some, the Rubber Room is an all too familiar place. In fact, many I have met are returning for their 2nd or 3rd year without any hope of ever returning to the classroom. Some who have already been 'exonerated' of all charges are deemed 'unhireable' by Human Resources and will reluctantly be sent from one failing school to another.

Didn't I loathe those useless PDs anyway? And- Weren't the lines in STAPLES always much too long to combat? By a show of hands, how many tenured teachers along with myself thought that when and if the dreaded day came that a child or parent accused you of the unthinkable, your union would have your back? We can all put our hands down now.

How does one spend months in the Rubber Room, enjoy a beautiful summer of freedom and then prepare themselves to once again sit and do nothing?
I am not about to give advice because the truth is, nothing can make this situation okay...The only moments that are pleasant for me is when I stop beating myself up. Bring your comfy chair from home, soft fleece blanket and neck support pillow. And that book you swore you were going to read over the summer? Bring that one. Heck, bring the other one too. Bring your DVD player, your Ipod and your laptop. And- don't forget your extension cords and adapters. Think LONGEVITY. Being comfortable doesn't hurt either. Sweatpants,running shoes, flip flops and clean white socks. We're talking "long run" here. Think COMFORT. It may sound crazy, but this place ultimately defines "boredom". Without a survival plan, expect to slowly deteriorate. After all, That is the DOE's plan. Fall apart and quit...No, no, no. Not me.

Certainly this is not something I have ever thought about before. Having always been a "good little teacher" who did as I was told, who knew? I was the one who thought it could never happen to me. Hey, at least someone is happy... -the 22 year old who is filling my position.

August 28, 2008

We Just Got Here.

With a smile, Captain Smile announced: "First I want to welcome you all here today and...Please don't take this personally men but this is about the boys bathroom, so you ladies are off the hook. 'So & So' from upstairs (Gestapo Suit Man) inquired if those teachers (we,the reassigned) downstairs are back yet...
You know, some people just don't understand who you are. I tried to explain to him that you aren't here to make any trouble so please keep it clean. He was complaining about some paper he saw on the floor. So, I assured him that you'd keep the bathroom clean."
It took all of one half hour before the Gestapo Suit Man blamed the 'mess' in the "Boys" bathroom on the men in the Rubber Room.

August 20, 2008

"They Don't Own Your Soul"

I called the UFT today to inquire about the status of my Reassignment. I want to know if anyone at the DOE has looked at my file as of yet. I want to know if there are any decent, civil human(e) beings working for the DOE who might care that I have been sent to the rubber room due to events that the principal of my school could have easily prevented. I know I should be doing something to help myself in addition to just staring at 4 cement walls, but what? I was reassigned in March of 2007. To say that my life has 'changed' since then would be an understatement. Let's just say it's been an 'eye opener'.

After one month in the rubber room, I was called to report to OSI (the Office of Special Investigations) and told my story to an investigator. I was confident that after hearing the events that led to my reassignment, (which were beyond my control) I would be cleared of all charges and returned to my school immediately. Surely, any person with half a brain would recognize that with good management, these events would have never occurred. I was told that the UFT would be contacted when the investigator has a response. A response? -Should I expect a response? -When?

"Nothing yet", I was told in April. "Don't call us, we'll call you when we know something. All you can do now is wait to hear from us", I was told by the UFT in May. "If you don't hear from us, it's because there is nothing to tell you". That was in June. I'm thinking that maybe they lost my file. It is now the end of August and the idea of returning to the rubber room is haunting me in my sleep.

Sooo, I called the UFT today and after being put on hold and passed around a few times, this nice lady, aka "B" got on the phone. "Sorry, so and so is on vacation. What is this about? Oh, so you had one of Bloomberg's principals. I'm so sorry to hear that. Yes, I understand it's been four months and noone has contacted you. No. Sorry, he is not here either. Let me find out when he is coming in....(silence).... Oh, he should be returning on the 25th of August. Let me see if anyone has heard anything....(silence).... Sorry, I cannot tell you anything about your case. No, I don't have access to those files. So and so is handling it and he is the only one who has access to those records. He is the only one who knows the status. I can give you his voicemail if you'd like."
"Are you referring to the new agreement between the UFT and the DOE? Well, that will take some time to begin and because there is a backlog of people whose cases need to be heard, it will take some time before we will see its' positive effects. Yes, I understand that you want to get back to your school. You know, not everyone does. You're one of the few. Yes, I know, but the UFT is protecting you. You're getting paid aren't you?"
At this point of my frustration, I went on to tell her about the lack of space in the Rubber room and my concerns about rubbing shoulders with some of the questionable characters that I must cohabitate with. "Yes, they should separate the outside arrests from the in-school incidents. Well in the meantime, you can read, study, write. Listen to music. Do whatever you like. They may be able to keep you there, but remember, They Don't Own Your Soul. "No", I said. "They can't take that". Teary eyed, I thanked "B" for her time - and when I hung up, I sat down and had a good cry.

Eric said...
I'm sorry your having problems with your reassignment. However, you are doing exactly what the DOE wants you to feel. Like shit!

Your blog is an example how to fight back. Complain, challenge, and put the DOE on the defensive by showing how they are abusing you.

Be strong and continue blogging. The DOE does not like teachers bloggers because they expose the DOE for what it really is. A self-interest group that cares little of education.

Eventually, the truth will come out and the DOE will be the one having to do the explaining to do.

August 21, 2008 4:08 PM

Fidgety said...
Thanks for your encouragement. Hopefully that day will come.

August 22, 2008 12:30 AM

JUSTICE not "just us" said... "Don't mourn--Organize!!!"

Fight with every fiber of your being. Write or e-mail every pig politician you can. Contact every stinkin rag that calls itself a newspaper in this heartless city. Keep on blogging. Get in the best shape of your life--physically and mentally.

Tell everyone that you know that you are "a political prisoner" in the Rubber Room with the emphasis that you done nothing illegal or immoral. Tell everyone that you know that you do not even have an outstanding parking ticket to your name. Mention that while you sit in the rubber room your students don't have a permanent and stable teacher in front of them.

Remember that in other parts of this sorry planet they imprision and kill educators and that you still live in a country where you can fight back. I AM WITH YOU!

August 23, 2008 9:48 AM

Worst Nightmare said...
Don't expect any sense from either the DoE or the UFT. Both are colluding to put you in this situation.
Both are sadists. Both will do their utmost to take away your method of earning a living.

Because OSI is investigating you they have 6 months to charge under 3020a laws. The minute your six months expires you must act by filing a grievance and a complaint against both the Union and the DoE in court.
They will be in violation of the law.
Since the arbitrators are biased and corrupt and the union is complicit in this torture, don't expect anything remotely approaching justice in a hearing designed to relieve you of your teaching license.

They don't care whether your guilty or innocent. They want you gone for two novice teachers for your salary.
The union gets two newbies who will pay twice your dues. Since they won't be tenured they won't have to do anything to help them should they end up falsely imprisoned and tortured as you have.

Don't expect anyone with reasonable intelligence or compassion to be helping or adjudicating your case.
This is the same as the nazi show trials. It is a corrupt kangaroo court and a total abuse of your 1,5th,and 14th ammendment rights.
The fact that the union asshole didn't throw in
" your getting your benefits" is a total departure from their usual crap that they mouthe with all of the other meaningless platitudes.
When you really get screwed, such as terminated, suspended without pay, or fined, they will say " I wouldn't want to be in your shoes."
That must be page 256, subsection C in their play book. Another perennial favorite of mine is "this is the climate."
You have entered a surreal kafkesque twighlight zone. Nobody but fellow inmates in the DoE concentration camps will identify with and understand you.
As for the real marginal and criminal types that you are forcibly incarcerated with, this just shows what the UFT and DoE think of you.

Nothing you did for these bastards ever will come to mean anything to them. The countless lives you touched and kids you helped don't mean a thing to them.

You, as I, are anachronisms, dinosaurs to this youth worship culture. The only thing they do is what the eskimo's would do to their elders and infirm. Coldly and callously set them adrift on ice flows.
The only way to go out is swinging. If you settle for nothing now, then you will settle for nothing later!
Your only option is to pick up your axe and fight like a warrior.
Kick the living shit out of them. Let them pay attention after a resounding shot across the bows.
SUE THEM!! Sue anyone who has caused this catastrophe. Make them eat, sleep and breathe this nightmare.

Force them to put down $7,500 initial retainers to attempt to protect themselves and their assets from your onslaught.
They will shrink in the face of you taking their houses and bank accounts. In this era of "accountability" let them hold the bag.
Take heart, you are not the only good human being involved in this war. Show them who you are and why its stupid to mess with you!
The UFT and DoE's worst nightmare:
And To Reich Fuhrer Klein and Randi' horseface Swinegarten, I say
Fuck you very much! Something Wicked This Way Comes!

August 23, 2008 6:45 PM

Pissed Off said...
Good luck. I really feel for you. I know from reading blogs like yours that no one is safe anymore. I pity all the young kids starting out. I'm glad I can leave whenever I want.

August 23, 2008 7:17 PM

windhover said...
I agree with worst nightmare--get a lawyer and SUE!!! Then contact your local politicians--many of them hate Bloomberg, and even though most of them are useless, you must make as much noise as possible--something is bound to happen when enough of us complain! Good luck to you--I feel your pain!


August 24, 2008 2:07 PM

August 8, 2008

What if principals acted like leaders?

A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops.
- General of the Armies John J. Pershing

Leaders encourage others to continue the quest and inspire others through courage and hope. Leaders give heart by visibly recognizing others' contributions to the common vision. With a thank you note, a smile, an award, and public praise, the leader lets others know how much they mean to the organization.
-Kouzes & Posner, The Leadership Challenge

The boss drives people; the leader coaches them. The boss depends on authority; the leader on good will. The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm. The boss says I; The leader says WE. The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown. The boss says, GO; the leader says Lets GO!
-H. Gordon Selfridge