November 8, 2008

What's it like in the Rubber Room? I guess it depends on where you're coming from. For those who didn't really like teaching, were tired of writing lesson plans or never wrote them to begin with, pull up a chair, the rubber room is just the place to put your feet up. For some, it is a great relief from being pushed around by bullying administration and obnoxious students. Working on hobbies, crossword puzzles, reading newspapers and magazines, talking on the phone, catching up on sleep, socializing, eating and getting paid isn't so much of a burden compared to being in a school with an imbalanced, out of control, power crazed leadership Principal. For some teachers, there is little talk about "getting out" and returning to teaching. For many, there is an underlying hope that they never will have to return to teaching- EVER. Not only is it a dream job for the lazy, but it pays well too. Some would prefer to sit out their retirement quietly rather than face the jungle like environment that they left behind. There is a temporary feeling of relief for anyone who has been harrassed, falsely accused, injured on site or U Rated. While others are losing their jobs in this failing economy, getting paid to do nothing seems like a crime in itself.
As I have mentioned in older posts, some of the employees that one must contend with are worse than the students...There is no real way of knowing just who is sitting next to you. Lack of privacy, close quarters, bad manners, poor hygiene, bad habits and a high school mentality are commonplace. It can feel like a bad dream. Many teachers are depressed and scared. While they are going through what seems to be the worst time in their lives, there are others in the room who make the situation worse with their insensitive and callous behavior. Like most office settings, gossip runs cruel and rampant. Some teachers are just plain petty, abusive and narcissistic. There is nowhere to go when one needs refuge. There are wall to wall teachers. Because of the overwhelming atmosphere, many teachers cope by sleeping for hours on end. Others get angry, moody -or withdraw completely. The situation is so emotionally paralyzing that it spills over to their personal lives. Getting up in the morning is hard. Leaving the house, even harder. Many teachers don't even tell their spouses of the absurd situation they have been placed in. Would they even understand it?
I hear that the UFT is considering providing some type of 'stress management' for the reassigned...anyone care to comment?

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