May 31, 2009

What Do Teachers Make?

An oldie but goody. It's worth repeating.


The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One

man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued,

"What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in

life was to become a teacher?" He reminded the other dinner guests what

they say about teachers: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.

"To stress his point he said to another guest; "You're a teacher,

Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?

"Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, "You

want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began...)

"Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make

a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor. I make kids sit through

40 minutes of class time when their parents can't make them sit for 5

without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental. You want to know what I

make?" (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the

table.). "I make kids wonder. I make them question. . I make them

apologize and mean it. I make them have respect and take responsibility

for their actions. I teach them to write and then I make them write.

Keyboarding isn't everything. I make them read, read, read. I make

them show all their work in math. They use their God given brain, not

the man-made calculator. I make my students from other countries learn

everything they need to know in English while preserving their unique

cultural identity. I make my classroom a place where all my students

feel safe. I make my students stand, placing their hand over their

heart to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, One Nation Under God,

because we live in the United States of America. Finally, I make them

understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and

follow their hearts, they can succeed in life." (Bonnie paused one last

time and then continued.) "Then, when people try to judge me by what I

make, with me knowing money isn't everything, I can hold my head up high

and pay no attention because they are ignorant... You want to know what

I make?


What do you make Mr... CEO? His jaw dropped, he went silent.

May 28, 2009

If not through the door, then through the window! --- Russian proverb

I found this written on a facebook group page. It just goes to show you that sooner or later, the truth with be way or another.
"Mayor Bloomberg and his incompetent chancellor Joel Klein have destroyed education in New York City. With no-bid contracts, they have implemented flawed curriculums, such as Teachers College, and the woeful Everyday Math, which has been rejected by school systems nationwide. (Everyday Math was selected by former deputy chancellor Diana Lam for personal financial gain.)

Bloomberg and Klein have wasted millions on the aforementioned no-bid contracts, a legal squad to circumvent tenure laws, AUSSIE consultants, dummy organizations that praise Bloomberg and Klein and take out full-page ads in the Bloomberg-controlled media, , a "truth squad" to surf the internet and counter postings (like this) negative to Bloomberg and Klein, the ARIS computer program, the Teaching Fellows program and the Leadership Academy, which trains non-educators to be principals.

Veteran teachers are being brought up on trumped-up charges in order to drive them out, to be replaced by New Teacher Project "teachers" who have their masters degrees heavily subsidized with taxpayer dollars.

Test scores are rigged. The publishers making the programs that Klein has chosen also make the tests! The big lie is how schools are improving. National tests, such as the SAT's and NAEP show no gains whatsoever!

It's time to end mayoral control of our schools, as well as Bloomberg's tenure".-`anonymous

Tony Avella For Mayor

There is a God

There is a god and he is watching over Glenn Storman who fought Against Corporal Punishment Charges and a U Rating. Congratulations to Mr. Storman for proving that the charges against him were false and excessive.

Principal From Hell: This is not the first time we are hearing about P.S. 212's Josephine Marsella. She will stop at nothing to hurt her hard working staff. It is not enough that a staff member receives a Letter In their File... Josephine Marsella is out for blood.

Read one parent's review of the school..." I had 2 of my kids go to this school. Now I only have 1. I wish none of my kids go to this school. This school has a lot of problems with teachers and the principal as well. Their safety issues are very questionable. My daughter stills get bullied at this school and I have tried everything to keep her safe. This is sad that the school will not protect our kids from being bullied."

May 24, 2009

Your UFT Dues Hard at Work

The Rubber Room. No one prepares you for this. Most chapter leaders don't know a thing about it. Why should they? The less they know the better. The UFT's ignorance and inaction helps the DOE keep it going. Walking into the rubber room is like nothing you've ever imagined. All I can say is, you're going to need to tap into all of your survival skills. The experience is so surreal that you'll feel like you've entered another dimension.

Since Randy's made your chances of being sent to the rubber room a whole lot likelier in our last contract, the least she could do is to provide some reading material to entertain you during your stay. After all, you will still be paying membership dues. Forget trashy romance novels, the Manual for Reassigned Teachers is where it's at when it comes to garbage. The manual is so vague and inaccurate in comparison to what actually takes place. Instead of negotiating to lessen the odds of being sent, she's created the proverbial bandaid.

After reading the manual, there are several things that the reassignees commented on...
Not one of us received our written charges within the designated six month period.
The DOE does not make good on their handshake agreements or letters concerning the TRCs.
The DOE does not follow time restraints.
Many of the reassignees are NOT placed in a reassignment center in the borough that they teach in.
Not all TRCs are created equal. The rules are different at each TRC. The rules at some TRCs are strictly enforced. Some rules are not enforced at all.
There is no emergency plan or evacuation procedure that we are aware of at our site.
There is no access to a phone or payphone at our site.
We have no access to a copy or fax machine.
Read on below...

Blogger Chaz said...

Do you really believe the union is out to help the reassigned teacher?

Can anybody tell me when the union actually stopped a Principal from filing charges against a teacher they are targeting? Moreover, when was the last time (if ever) that the DOE dropped 3020-a charges against a teacher?The truth is that the union hacks really believe that the reassigned teachers are guilty and will never pressure the DOE to do the right thing.

May 24, 2009 6:32 PM

Dear Chaz, Absolutely not. The Union is there to make sure that the Reassigned teacher stays quiet. Instills a little fear in them so they won't go to the papers...You can't make this sh-- up! Sincerely, Fidgety

Temporary Reassignment Center Manual

May 18, 2009

It's Really Happening...

In my last post, I never got to the part where I describe what's actually 'happening' to the prevailing reassigned teachers in the Rubber Room. Since I've got the insider's view, it is always a challenge not to say anything that may incriminate myself or others and in cases like this- being so careful, totally missing the point altogether.

Today was not much different than any other day. Teachers arrive sporadically in the morning, many arriving much earlier than they would for their regularly appointed/former classroom assignments. No, their eagerness to be here is not what gets them to arrive earlier, but they subscribe to the theory that, "The early birds gets to go home early". The concept is definitely becoming popular. Since this is not an instructional sight and there are no children here, there is no concern about covering classes and keeping anyone waiting. No one is ever looking or waiting for us, except if you include the Site Supervisor who tries to micro manage and control our every move. Aside from 1:00 lunch, and the requirement of fulfilling an 8 hour workday, there are no other time restrictions except to get out of the building by 4 pm. Getting in early to leave early is all the motivation most of us need!

The latest character to be reassigned to our room has got all of us seeing red, even the Site Supervisor. "Raven" (her name definitely fits her personality) is one nasty, vicious, spiteful and paranoid woman. It's only been two weeks and she's just about lashed out at everyone around her. This woman not only has a big mouth, but she is big all around and requires a lot of space. She has already managed to clear her table to the point where she's got the corner three seats all to herself. Her former table mates are all now squeezing in at other tables just to stay out of her firing line. This is insane when we are dealing with an already tight space. The resentment towards this woman is growing by the minute. The latest stunt she has pulled is snapping pictures of other reassigned teachers with her cell phone in which she vehemently denies. When she is not taking pictures, she is pounding away at her laptop, blasting music through her inoperable earphones, unconsciously humming nervously and stomping back and forth intimidating anyone who crosses her path. Thank goodness this woman has never had any children.

Mr. Supervisor has been making many trips up to the main floor to visit our time cards. What he does is compare his illegally kept documentation with the times we have punched in and out for the work day. Some of the drivers find it so hard to get parking that they must run into the building, punch their cards in and then drive around searching for a space to leave their car. Not having a car himself, Mr. Supervisor is not very apathetic to this task. Mr. Supervisor still believes that he will manage to catch someone stealing 'Dept. of Ed. Time' and be responsible for having their pay docked. He swears that the reassignees have been punching in and out for each other but has no actual evidence of his claims. His new harassment technique is clocking out anyone who has been standing outside of the building for longer that five minutes. He has recruited his one and only willing friend,the custodian(aka Self Appointed Executor) to keep a watch on us and report back to him our every move.
There is a never ending battle between our 'evil' Site Supervisor and the Building Security Guard(s). The conflict is that Evil Supervisor is always trying to tell Security Guard how to do his job. Site Supervisor doesn't feel that Security is being evil enough to us and the two of them are constantly writing each other up!!! The sad part again is, nobody cares! Not the head of Security nor the Rubber Room head. The other sad part is, it's only Monday.

May 12, 2009

It's Happening...

While the DOE publicly abuses its' classroom teachers with disrespect, blame, oppressive working conditions, overcrowded classrooms, unnecessary paperwork, constant threats of 'Letter in File', U Ratings, random observations and zero support, it is nothing compared to the secret insanity of what goes on in the Rubber Room.

Twenty five of the approximately 1,100 Department of Education's reassigned teachers report daily to a tiny basement in an obscure location as punishment for alleged and unproven reports of wrongdoing. There was a time when teachers were removed from their school only if they seemed to pose a threat to the well being of their students. One might have heard of a burnt out teacher or of one whom after years of excellence overstepped his bounds. There was maybe one teacher every two years in my district who's time had come to retire and they just needed a nudge out the door. The teacher would spend the next few weeks or months reporting to the district office where they'd help out until the superintendent could figure out what to do with them. By the next school year, these teachers would retire, take a long sabbatical, transfer schools or return to their classrooms.

It is understandable that the DOE would choose to remove a teacher who has been accused of some form of corporal punishment until a competent investigation can be done, but to remove every teacher every time a claim is made is simply ludicrous. Have you noticed that suddenly everyone knows someone who's been sent to the Rubber Room?

If the 'room's' purpose were just to contain teachers who are waiting to work out their cases, then the RR would not be filled with mostly tenured forty somethings and it would not resemble the characteristics of it's nickname, 'Rubber Room'. The location, size and conditions of the room speak for themselves. The RR and its' dreadful conditions are no oversight. It is used to intimidate teachers into silence, detain and isolate tenured teachers/UFT members from their schools, colleagues and possible contact with witnesses. This isolation disables the accused teacher from seeking support from their colleagues, contacting witnesses and building a strong defense.

After months. which turn into years, the cramped basement with tiny unreachable windows and cement bare walls slowly seduces its' daily occupants into a sluggish, dull, state of dementia. The unproductive monotony of staring, sleeping, eating and breathing can sadly reduce one's mental state to mush. While some teachers can find temporary solace in listening to music, reading, watching DVDs, playing cards, surfing the Internet, knitting, drawing and sewing, others are sucked into the porous cinder block walls of nothingness.

Teachers are never the same as they go through a myriad of emotions while navigating through the DOE's maze of injustice. It is a never ending, drawn out process where rules do not apply. While the DOE is a stickler in upholding deadlines and time lines for teacher certification, form submittal and testing, they have no problem ignoring the chancellor's rules and regulations to accommodate their plan to ruin a teacher's career. 'Waiting Lists' are rampant in the world of the DOE as they conveniently create 'Waiting Lists' for every deadline that is not met. There are waiting lists for OSI, grievances, expedited arbitration, pre hearings and hearings, etc. While the DOE creates 'Waiting Lists', teachers are kept from receiving their due process. I have seen firsthand how the DOE continues to ignore timelines and deadlines in the reassignment process, further adding to the reign of abuse in the RR's.

May 10, 2009

Read my lips:"No New Teachers"

There you go again Chancellor K, talking trash as usual...

Are we supposed to jump for joy that you are saving the city money with your sudden curve ball idea of a "New teacher hiring freeze' until all ATRs are placed in positions?
Should we award you the blue ribbon for finally tapping into the valuable 1,400 highly qualified resources you have kept out of positions to serve your selfish political scheme?
Should we praise you for coming to the city's rescue as you suddenly require the inexperienced principal monsrosities that you've created to fill their school's teaching vacancies with the teachers who entered the system long before these principals could walk and talk?

You are just about as believable as George H.W. Bush's 1988 campaign promises. "No new taxes", remember? "No new taxes" if he were elected. It was only 2 years later when taxes were raised to meet the national budget deficit. One thing you can count on Chancellor is that your conscious and selective ignorance is not going to be forgotten anytime soon.

Check out ICE UFT's article on the hiring freeze, click here.

May 5, 2009

The Rubber Room is Harmful to Teachers and Other Living Things.

I am sorry for the lack of posts. It is hard to write about something that it is way too painful to even think about. I started this blog as an outlet for my idle frustration and sometimes the frustration comes from the subject itself.

The thought of the Rubber Room makes me sick. I am unable to sleep on Sunday nights. The situation here is truly abominable. The reassignment process is acutely paralyzing to one's career and thought process. Everyday as I sit in my chair, I watch some defenseless, overly educated soul as they open up their their packet of charges sent from their Bully of a principal. More often than not, the charges usually arrive just days after the six month deadline, just around the time when the teacher thinks that there may be some hope that they are of the dark.(Just another abuse of power that the principals use.) It is possible for a principal to have a change of heart and eventually drop the allegations. Somewhere between the date of the actual reassignment to the time they receive formal charges, most teachers have lost all of their drive to fight. Once the charges arrive, their 'umph' is pretty much gone.

The newly reassigned teacher can often be identified by their level of 'spunk'. Some spend their time writing. Writing to the Mayor, the Chancellor, Randi Weingarten and anyone else whom they think will listen. The newly reassigned teacher is sure that he will be able to 'shake things up'. Lawyers are called and thoughts of suing the DOE, the UFT and the principal are entertained. WAKING UP the sleeping public actually seems do-able at this point. There seems to be no retreat in sight for this newly reassigned teacher. He is on a mission. Weeks pass in the Rubber Room and responses are few and far between. He refuses to accept that the public is asleep. Months pass and still... the public is snoring. Lacking acknowledgment, the newly reassigned teacher comes to realize the disturbing imminent truth.


Blogger Chaz said...


You must fight on! This is what Tweed wants for you to give up. Yes, they think of us as bugs. I think of myself as a wasp who will sting anybody who goes after me. Once stung, twice shy about squishing me.

We can only win by staying together and continue to expose the abuse that the dOE does to us.

May 5, 2009 12:59 PM

Blogger Mamacita (Mamacita) said...

It's awful, isn't it. But, you know, people who have been there care. There's nothing we can do, but we can care.

Caring is something, I guess.

It's something we refuse to think about because it could never happen to us, and then it does, and we're in a state of disbelieving shock. Finding out that nobody except those who KNOW, really care, is part of the shock.

Just to let you know: I care.

May 5, 2009 1:21 PM

Blogger Fidgety said...

No guys, I have not given up and as of now I don't plan to. It is just disheartening to watch the spirit of a person die while sitting and waiting to be further condemned.
I and all of the others appreciate your encouraging words.
Yes, caring is something. Thank you.

May 5, 2009 2:11 PM

Blogger A Teacher In The Bronx said...

Don't give up. The squeaky wheel gets oiled every single time. Get on a mountain top and don't stop until you get what you want!!

Email me please.

May 5, 2009 8:03 PM