September 29, 2008

It's Just Another Day...

Another day, another teacher reassigned. 'Cee' arrived this morning in a sport jacket and tie holding a notebook and pen. Appearing somewhat tired and disoriented, Warden brought him to the door and introduced him in the usual way. Barely looking up, the inmates showed little interest in the new arrival. I watched as he chose the 'right' chair, one that wasn't already spoken for. I introduced myself and a few other inmates followed. After the ice was broken, we all knew the school, the district and the reason he was reassigned. Cee displayed the typical behavior of a newbie. Within 45 minutes, Cee was fast asleep with his head in his arms on the table.

The room remained quiet until I heard a high pitched squeal and Princess showed her face at the door. Amazing how just the sight of her causes people to push in their chairs and secure their bags. Anything and everything that could be knocked over was quickly cleared out of the way. Surprisingly, Princess managed to walk to her chair without hitting anyone with one of her many shopping bags. "Woo-woo, it's hot in here..Uh hum, it sure is hot." Before even sitting down, her shopping bags were ripped open and brand new, packaged & tagged blue jeans were being passed around the room. I guess the kids at the shelter won't be getting new jeans this year.

Moocher, like the class clown, is always busy trying to get attention. This time by telling self deprecating, tasteless jewish jokes to a table of mixed company. By 11:30, he had 3 elderly african women saying "schmuck" in unison. "Shhh", he advised. "What's the matter? Why can't I say schmuck?" asked one of the women. "Because it's the jewish word for penis. You can't go around saying penis."
There is no limit to what he will do just to fit in. I never understood the purpose of putting down a religion just to get a laugh and then justifying it by saying that it's "your" religion. So, does that make it okay? In these bare 4 walls, I say not.

September 21, 2008

The Truth and Nothing But the Truth...

As my fellow bloggers and many others have confirmed, the OSI interview procedure is not designed to uncover the truth when allegations are made against a teacher. (Chaz's article on OSI Double Standards) It is designed to serve its' employer(the DOE), by twisting the truth and conjuring up a slanted version of whatever statements are made by the teacher during the investigation. Thus, serving up a horrendous one sided 'transcript' that barely resembles any of what was said. (Exactly the type of transcript that I have received this week.) Paid by the DOE, it is the investigators job to go to any length-no matter how dishonest, to substantiate the accuser's allegations against teachers.

Prior to my interview, my Union Rep advised me to make eye contact, be clear and consistent. The Investigator will be looking for statements that reveal your 'intent' as to how and when the alledged acts occurred. Now if this were a fair and honest investigation, done by a real investigator (not a DOE Puppet) she may have actually observed some revealing behaviors that would affect her final conclusion. Whether she observed them or not, it is obvious that she chose to ignore them.

Just out of curiosity, I looked up some of the methods that Professional investigators are trained to look for in criminal cases. Body language, speech patterns and consistency in the statements can be very telling during questioning.

"Generally people who are lying will not look you in the eye, although very practiced liars may be able to tell lies and do it with eye contact. People who are lying will usually be very stiff. They may have a stiff body or neck. When someone tells a lie it raises the blood pressure. Their face, chest or neck may become red.
The liar usually keeps their arms and legs closer to themselves. They will wrap their arms and legs to cover their body as if protecting themselves.
Liars will usually touch their face or neck when fibbing. The higher they go up on the face the bigger the lie.
Liars might fake an emotion like happiness or sadness. The expression may be limited to their mouth, but will not reach their eyes. Look for twitches. When someone is lying they may have a physiological reaction such as an eye, lip or cheek twitch.
Other physiological reactions include sweating or fidgeting.
They will not react in the correct emotional way. For instance if they tell you they are sorry, but their lips are turned up."
from eHow Article: How to Detect a Liar Using Body Language

Check out the variety of support resources available to principals who want to get a teacher in trouble...
DOE's corporal punishment reporting form A-421


ATU-Administrative Trials Unit

TPU-Teacher Performance Unit

September 19, 2008


I was interrogated by the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) 6 months ago by one female investigator. Actually, I don't really know what her position was because she never formally introduced herself to me. All that I know is, my Union Rep was not pleased to learn that this particular person was handling my case. He made it clear that the two have never gotten along as compared to other OSI investigators that he's had to deal with in the past. Strike One on my side. Ms.OSI was extremely belligerent toward him and he didn't seem to have a real problem with it...but I did. After all, it is not his future on the line here. This is just a routine part of his job and doesn't affect him either way.

Although I can't openly discuss the nature of my case, I do want to say that the events leading up to my reassignment were caused by the administration's failure to follow specific chancellor's regulations. Had these regulations been followed, I would not be in my present position and having to defend myself. I was reassigned without an opportunity to explain what had occurred or caused the incident in question. Given the difficult working conditions that were delivered to me via "El Principal", the events that followed were a challenge that proved to be a recipe for failure.

The scene was not very different from something one sees on television. '''CSI or La Law', to be more accurate. The tiny room had a table and two chairs. No windows. No pictures. Just bare walls. Ms.OSI was cold, standoffish, and very rude. After asking me to explain my case, she repeatedly cut in and tried to finish my sentences for me. She dismissed several of my statements with rude comments such as, "Well, why do I need to know that?, "I can't see how this is important", "Cut to the chase," and "This is irrelevant." She twisted my statements and tried to trip me up. When I insisted that my statements were truthful and accurate, she rolled her eyes and impatiently tapped her fingers on the table. That this behavior is unprofessional goes without saying. The entire scenario was degrading and frustrating. After I was through being questioned, UFT Rep and Ms. OSI shared a few private moments alone in the room while I waited outside. UFT Rep had very little to say, least of all, anything encouraging. I was instructed not to call him, that he would call me when he had received a response. Mr.UFT rudely dismissed me by letting me know that he had to meet with another reassigned teacher shortly.

Yes, Chaz I agree...Having since been told that my case was SUBSTANTIATED by OSI. The minor infraction that they have judged substantial barely qualifies for a LETTER IN FILE.

September 15, 2008

Make Way For the Princess!

She makes her grand entrance at 11 am everyday. Physically, she is not pleasant to look at. Her skin is oily and terribly blemished. Her hair is fake. She is very large and smells of way too much cheap cologne. Guaranteed that when she walks by, she will either knock into your chair or knock something of yours over. Instead of, "I'm sorry," you will hear, "Ooh, That shouldn't be theeeere!" or "Who put this here?" or "Why does this have to be here?" Everyone best clear the way for the Princess.
Princess believes that she not like the rest of us. She is convinced that she was sent here because, "Someone is probably jealous of me". And, "They should be watching themselves instead of looking at me!" She is sure that her students and their parents will fight for her return. In her sing-sing voice, she will tell you that "they loooove meeee!".
Princess,(not her real name) is a school aide. She works in the school for three hours a day. She claims that she is very close with the Principal and when he went down, they took her with him. It has been seven months and still no word from all of her fans at her school. She is certain that her students and coworkers are silently plotting her defense at this very moment.
Princess says it doesn't matter if she gets fired because this job means nothing to her. She can get another one just like it anywhere. However, she shows up here everyday with her 'mightier than thou attitude' and collects her full paycheck. If that doesn't annoy you, the awful screeching sounds she makes while listening to her Ipod will. Anyone brave enough to call it to her attention will surely wish they hadn't. Though she will swear that she was not singing, the minute she turns it back on, the howling will begin again.
Princess is a bad actress/drama queen. She can "ooh and ahh" at the drop of a pin. At 87 degrees, Princess puts on a performance that would have 'Oscar' running for the hills. "Ooh-Ooh, it is fa-reeezing in heeere! she squeals upon arrival. I don't know how you people can sit in this icebox. "I should not have to be exposed to this temperature." She claims that she is allergic to air conditioning and that it makes her sick. Princess spends more time out of the room than in. She sweet talks the attention starved Warden into letting her go outside. Heck, she even has her own chair. Hey, that is fine with me. The longer she stays out of this room, the better.

JUSTICE not "just us" said...

"it is the same cast of characters in every building only the names change." me

September 20, 2008 5:38 AM

Fidgety said...
Yes isn't it? But I have to vent anyway. I am glad that someone reads my blog. Thanks, obviously you know the deal. Earplugs help tremendously.

September 20, 2008 9:37 AM

ms-teacher said...
I've been reading this blog and it makes me sad. The people in the rubber room should not be treated in such a way, even the "princess" (despite the fact she's not a very likable character).

I wish that more people knew about this.

September 20, 2008 1:21 PM

Fidgety said...
It is up to US to tell more people. In a democracy under the constitution, we are Innocent until Proven guilty. This does not coincide with how we are being treated.

proofoflife said...

Fidgety said...Yes, Aides are also sent to the rubber room. We have 2 at the present time that I know of. I know that one is definitely DC37.

September 14, 2008

"Musical Cars"

Mornings are usually quiet here in the Rubber Room. Most teachers trickle in somewhere between 8am and 8:30. Coffee is made, newpapers are read and passed around the room.
At 9:30, the "Moving Of The Cars" begins. There is great comradery in this useless ritual as we drivers politely remind each other of what time it is. "Time to move the car, do you have your car today? Time to move your car." "Oh, is it that time already?" "Nope, I don't have to move my car today...just turned the corner and there was a spot with my name on it." "Don't forget to wake up EZ, I know he has his car up the block. He'll be pissed if you don't wake him." "Should I wake Moocher?" "Do you really think that Moocher would spend the money to drive his car here? He's got his bike chained to the pole".
The "Moving of the Cars" requires half of the people in the room to use(waste) their official 15 minutes of allotted break-time to avoid the expensive threat of a parking ticket. For those who don't drive to work, this ritual is foreign, but for the rest of us it's nerve racking!...
"Car, car- do you have to move your car?" Keys are jingling, cell phone alarms are ringing, everyone's clearing their throats, stretching- gearing up for the main event. Time to perform the nonsensical task of moving our cars from the perfectly good parking spots we are in to 'double parked' status on the other side of the street. Now we all sit in our cars, waiting for the clock to strike exactly 9:30. Marley gets out to smoke a cigarette. He calls to Newbie for a light. Newbie gets out and the two converse between their cars. 3 Seater is on the phone. EZ takes orders to make a quick run to McDonald's. This is comradery in the Rubber Room.
All of this to make way for the City's Sanitation trucks that spend all of 3 minutes noisily riding up the street. Here come their revolving brushes that do nothing more than upset the dust and spread the debris over to the other side of the street. Does it ever really look any cleaner after they have passed?
We retreat back to room. At 11am, musical cars begins again.

September 10, 2008


"Excuse me everyone, Can I have your attention? We have a new 'staff' member here. This is Mr. So and So," Warden announces in his usual demeaning tone. Never without his tacky smirk, Warden humiliates another new DOE prisoner. After reading him the riot act and having him sign it, Warden then calls the entire rooms' attention to this unfortunate being. He then leaves him standing awkwardly at the door while the group sizes him up. Like a 'Fish Out of Water,' this teacher is left to navigate the rigid politics of the Rubber Room. Obviously at this point, So and So is feeling pretty bad. EZ walks over and shakes his hand. "Nice to meet you," he says. 3 Seater barely looks up from her laptop. Instead she casually places her shopping bag on to the chair beside her. (Translation- "Don't even think of sitting your butt down over here!") The only thing 3 Seater has been generous with has been her germs. Not only does she have a persistent hacking cough, but someone failed to teach her how to keep them to herself. Ironically, she'd be the first one to raise hell if someone else were coughing. Lucy, a school aide from Chapel Street takes her feet down from a chair, and then offers it to the newbie- thus sacrificing her only foot rest. Newbie passes on the offer and scans the room for a spot less congested. He finally opts for a chair near the doorway.
Remember what the realtor always stressed? Location, location, location. She was definitely on to something. With the room quickly filling up, the goal here is to position yourself where you are not in the way of traffic, not in earshot of the 'Warden', quiet enough to take a siesta and far away from anyone who does not meet up daily with a bar of soap. I am always amazed by the amount of educated people who fail to recognize the value of a shower and a shave...
In his button down shirt and tie, Newbie is now seated at his table in a state of shock. He is definitely not going to settle in anytime today. He hasn't made eye contact with anyone. He is tapping his fingers on the desk and well as shaking his knee up and down. He is not ready to talk. Moocher offers him the newsapaper which he politely declines with a waving gesture. He is definitely not ready to read. Finally, after about an hour, he lies his head on the table and falls into a deep, much needed sleep.

Blogger JUSTICE not "just us" said...

Look, your rubber room has to stop this! By allowing Warden to do this you give him the upper hand. Let them know you, the inmates, control the institution not the other way around. Form a greeting committee to make every newbie welcomed. I know my people were political prisoners(the real deal) and I have learned that in "prison" it is the prisoners who rule.

They can control so far as you let them control you. You have be united!

Political Prisoner on sabbatical

September 14, 2008 3:07 AM

September 2, 2008

Custodian -aka "Self Appointed Executor"

Mr. Custodian used to be just a plain old 'building Custodian'. His only job was to clean and maintain the small, forgotten, rundown building that was once a district office. On any given day, one would find him sweeping the floor, replacing a lightbulb or tending to the lawn. But ever since his building began to house reassigned teachers, Mr. Custodian became 'Mr. Bad',"Self Appointed Executor".
As one might expect, the arrival and presence of the Rubber Room teachers(who are Innocent until proven Guilty) confused the existing DOE employees of the building. In justifying the need to house them, the DOE often referred to the reassigned teachers as "disruptive, dangerous, incompetent, pedophiles, trouble makers and thieves who are a danger to children". It is no wonder that their presence might make the average office supply stealer uneasy. Inevitably, as the days passed by uneventfully, the vulnerability, questions and novelty of these teachers also passed.
However, this was not the case for Mr. Custodian who befriended Mr. Warden, hired supervisor of the reassigned and 'keeper of the notebook'. The two grumpy old men were like two peas in a pod, sharing a common trait of making those around them as miserable as they were. Mr. Warden ( reassigned assistant principal with friends in high places) enjoyed inflicting additional discomfort onto the reassigned teachers who inhabited the Rubber Room. Soon enough, Mr. Bad (and obviously bored) Custodian began to practice his own brand of torture on these people.
"Jeeze, it's hot in here," comments Sketcher.
"Yes, Isn't it hot?" agrees Marley. "Who's going to ask the custodian to turn on the air?" Sketcher inquires.
"You ask him. He likes you," Marley answers, remembering the harsh response he received the last time he had asked.
"Uh-uh, I ain't askin' him. First it's hot, then he turns it on and 20 minutes later it's freezing in here. I don't want to be asking him all day long to turn it off and on. He sees one of us outside and he runs to the corner like he's seen the plague."
"We can't help it if it only runs on two temperatures, sweltering and below icebox," EZ chimes in. "He could adjust it a tiny notch, but no, he just wants to freeze us out. Make us sorry we asked for the air in the first place."
"You guys are scared of the big, bad custodian," Ms. Del teases. This comment drives Sketcher right into the hallway and on a custodian hunt. "Sketcher can't resist a dare."
Mr. Bad Custodian(self appointed executor) shuffles his feet in the hall before coming in. He then takes a look around the room and smiles at us as if he's amused. There he stands with his 'all powerful key" in hand as if he's granting us our last breath. "Are you sure you want the air on?" He asks condescendingly.
"Well it is going to be about 90 degrees today. It's already 85 degrees now," EZ answers. All the while I am thinking, of course we want the air on- you big jerk. We didn't go and get you because we like to watch you smirk at us. It is not your job to decide if and when we are allowed to breath. Just put the damn air on and leave.
Mr. Bad slowly fumbles with his keys, opens up the thermostat box and flips the switch. Then, 1-2-3- he slams the metal box cover down and locks it- as if on spite. He looks up, looks around and shakes his head. Well, that took a lot of effort, I think. It won't be long before 3 Seater wakes up and wants it shut off again. Let the games begin.

JUSTICE not "just us" said...
Mr. C is nothing bu a wannabe insect."He's got the Power."

But you know I have met these characters in the schools as well.

September 7, 2008 2:35 AM

Pissed Off said...

If this weren't true, it would be funny.

And, if it was on tv, no one would believe it.

September 7, 2008 7:25 AM

Fidgety said...

Pissed Off, Thank you... Your comment made me laugh:) Yes, it's definitely sitcom worthy!

September 7, 2008 12:41 PM