December 25, 2008

The DOE -Where Anything Goes...

In a short time, I have seen many teachers, principals, APs and school aides come and go from the Rubber Room. The funny thing is that when they leave, the chances of hearing from them again are close to none. The last teacher who was returned to her school was given a half a day's notice and then, Poof! She was gone. We never heard from her again.
"I am happy to be going back but I feel so bad for you all." she said.
"It's ok", I say, "Hey, you did your time."
Going back to the school environment can be a mixed blessing. It's like being on parole. All of the same threats are still out there. No teacher is safe. For a teacher bearing the scars of the rubber room, the chances of getting a U rating and being reassigned again are even higher the second time around. Life never goes back to the way it was before. A teacher rarely returns to the school or position from whence they came. In fact, a teacher rarely returns to a teaching 'position'. Their 'position' has either been eliminated or they will be replaced by a younger, newer, low-cost teacher. Although the UFT chaps will never admit it, most experienced teachers will return as ATRs and be thrown into the land of 'Anything goes'.
So here we still are, left to continue staring at each other from 8 to 3...waiting for a ship that hasn't even left the shore...

Blogger Chaz said...

I think for many long term RR's just being back in a school environment is uncomfortable. Furthermore, I believe that many Principals will give you a second chance if they accept you in their school.

December 25, 2008 10:52 AM

December 7, 2008

...there but for the grace of God go I."

As three of my fellow rubber-roommates were making their way out of the building for lunch, one of them had the 'audacity' to innocently chuckle at the other's joke. There was an exchange of silliness and the three broke into laughter in the stairwell. By the time that they reached the front desk, the eyes of a male and female office worker were staring them down. Realizing that they had been heard, the 3 reassigned teachers quietly headed toward the exit smiling.
As the door had just about closed, the female office worker turned to the male and said, "They forget why they're here." Hearing this stopped the three teachers in their tracks. "Excuse me?", asked Teacher 1. I couldn't help overhearing. Since you seem to know so much about WHY WE ARE HERE and how we should behave, perhaps you can tell us WHY WE'RE HERE... After spending the last 4 months away from my classroom in a crowded basement, I still haven't been given a valid reason." Shocked by the teacher's response, the woman who was so quick to pass judgement just shook her head and turned her back toward the teachers. The man uncomfortably averted his eyes to the ground.

Blogger Chaz said...

good for them. Keep fighting back.

December 10, 2008 3:39 PM

December 4, 2008

Meet the Cast: The Angry Young Man..

"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”~ Douglas Adams

As I have stated in previous posts, the players in the rubber room are a very diverse and sometimes strange group of people- often too strange to go without mention. Meet Marley.

"Marley," is on a one man crusade. He is bitter and angry at the world. No matter the topic of conversation, it will always end in a heated dispute about the oppression, deprivation and suffering of those he calls, "his people". No matter what the topic, Marley and 'his people' have had it bigger, badder and far worse. When Marley is not making a point or arguing, Marley is reading and nodding in agreement with his books. Marley acquires his fighting fuel from the books he reads and the ideas that he captures from reading them...After gearing up, bystanders beware of crossing the undefined firing line and setting off a land mine.
Once Marley finds his unknowing victim, he will ignite his mission by quoting a freshly consumed passage and giving it a life of its' own. When his victim takes the bait by entering into an agreeable dialogue, Marley will 'flip' on his own position. This will cause his victim to become confused and vulnerable. His anger will slowly emerge and then spiral into a turbulent windfall disrupting everything within a ten foot radius. There is that one split second where all of his rationale ceases to exist.
Marley can hold a great debate, if he could just control his temper. When he runs low on venom, he will perhaps...throw in the kitchen sink. There is just no winning because he is always right. As a walking encyclopedia of facts and dates, Marley feeds on the ripe newcomer. He will devour his victim with relentless self righteousness and victimhood. I can speak from experience when I say that Marley always has the last word and when he reaches that involuntary conclusion, he is usually standing alone.

Theres a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl,
Hes always at home with his back to the wall.
And hes proud of his scars and the battles hes lost,
And he struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross-
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

Give a moment or two to the angry young man,
With his foot in his mouth and his heart in his hand.
Hes been stabbed in the back, hes been misunderstood,
Its a comfort to know his intentions are good.
And he sits in a room with a lock on the door,
With his maps and his medals laid out on the floor-
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

I believe Ive passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage
I found that just surviving was a noble fight.
I once believed in causes too,
I had my pointless point of view,
And life went on no matter who was wrong or right.

And theres always a place for the angry young man,
With his fist in the air and his head in the sand.
And hes never been able to learn from mistakes,
So he cant understand why his heart always breaks.
But his honor is pure and his courage as well,
And hes fair and hes true and hes boring as hell-
And hell go to the grave as an angry old man.

~Billy Joel

Does it help to 'Know your Rights?'

informed Pictures, Images and PhotosAfter more than a decade of teaching and attendance at hundreds of Union Meetings, keeping informed of my rights as a teacher has always been a priority. "Know your rights," is what my chapter leader always preached, and I agreed. "Attend Union Meetings"... and I did..."Become familiar with the chancellor's Regs,"(Regulations)...I did that too. You too can become informed. You can find the 'Know Your Rights' portion of the UFT website by clicking here... You too can know your rights and stand by powerlessly as they are being violated and no one is doing a damn thing about it.
I knew my rights. I knew my rights so WELL... IN FACT- that when Robo Principal violated three of them, I knew that without a doubt that I had been disabled from correctly performing my duties. Oh yes, I knew my rights- alright. I knew it when they were being violated. I knew it at that very moment when it was happening. I knew it when it wasn't corrected. I knew it when it wasn't treated or handled as an emergency situation. I knew it when I informed my chapter leader and waited faithfully while she did nothing. I knew it when I informed my principal and asked him why no measures were being taken to correct the potential safety hazard that it posed. I knew it when he was making excuses and failing to provide sufficient support. I knew it the entire day leading up to the very moment when it handicapped me from doing my job to the best of my ability. I knew that at that moment that I was SCREWED.

Informed Pictures, Images and PhotosSure it's good to know your rights... that way you can recognize them when they're going down the drain...
Having rights and having them Enforced are meant to go hand in hand. Laws are created to protect THE INNOCENT, but if they are not enforced, who do they protect and what good are they?

Blogger jonathan said...

It's part of my pitch to new teachers: the contract names your rights; the chapter enforces them.

Getting the chapter to fight can be hard. Sometimes it is barely breathing.

In that light, I ask all teachers to attend chapter meetings. I don't even care if you say anything, the act of meeting itself, even if it is to eat birthday cake, is the beginning of gaining or regaining strength. And if there are not meetings, if you could ask, even one time in a year... that would help.

And new folks, untenured, can't really do much more than that. But helping is helping, in whatever way we are individually capable.


December 7, 2008 10:43 AM
Blogger Fidgety said...

Well then you answered the question as I already knew the answer.. I took all of those suggestions and became well informed. I am now more informed than my own chapter leader who knew nothing about the rubber room until I was reassigned. I am now keeping her informed. She has admitted to me that the union is 'powerless in protecting its' teachers.'

December 7, 2008 11:12 AM
Blogger jonathan said...

True, though it depends somewhat on the chapter (only somewhat, of course). The rebuilding needs to start from the ground up.


December 7, 2008 7:47 PM
Blogger Fidgety said...

As a chapter leader you are limited to what happens in the school...except for rallies, protests, etc. Matters of reassignment become the district leader's responsibility.

December 8, 2008 9:10 PM