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.