February 28, 2010

The Untold Story...


There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.
~ Maya Angelou ~


After a 5 month retreat, I am back and bursting with mental overload. The brutal honesty coming from the many blogs that I follow has incited me to pick up where I left off...wherever that was...
I am not about to divulge the details of my personal 'untold story', but to tell of the pain I've endured in having to remain silent for so long. I am referring to the untold story, the events that resulted in my reassignment. The story that still eludes me and haunts me in my sleep. The same story that I have relived each and everyday for the past two years. It is like waiting in a doctor's office for an appointment and they never call your name...

It is a story about teaching in a school whose veteran principal is suddenly replaced with an inexperienced amateur- fresh from the "Leadership Academy". Sound familiar?? A rookie principal so "unacquainted" with the chancellor's rules, regulations and articles of the teacher's contract that he couldn't recognize them even when they coincided with simple common sense. A principal who believes that the rules only apply to his staff and not to himself; That 'ignorance' is an acceptable excuse for his own negligence. A principal whose extreme passivity risked the well being and safety of an entire class. A story that has estranged me from my colleagues who live in fear that the principal will retaliate against them. As the CEO of the school, Mr. Principal can do whatever he wants. In an attempt to cover the mistakes of his barely ripe, untenured Academy graduate ass, I was instantly made to 'disappear'.
This is the untold story that the "useless" UFT still has no regard for. The story that the Office of Special Investigations twisted and mangled so badly that it is unrecognizable. The one that the UFT chap still can't recall..."What happened again?"... each and every time he reluctantly drops in to the reassignment center. The story that my principal denies any responsibility for. Not being able to tell my story is like holding my breath under water...

While the media criminalizes and exploits the "Rubber Room Teachers" every chance they get, the UFT exploits them with silence. On a personal level, the UFT reps that I have dealt with are unresponsive and lack any form of empathy for the trauma endured by the reassigned teacher. They are even more insensitive when it comes to acknowledging the conditions in the rubber room. It is obvious that the reassigned teachers are pretty low on the totem pole of importance in the eyes of the UFT.
Yes I know, everyone in the Rubber Room has a story and mine is not unique. It is a story of truth that if ever told would result in most of America homeschooling their own children.

Did you hear about the teacher who saw what no one was supposed to see & heard what no one was supposed to hear? You probably haven't. He is in the rubber room. And, somewhere in the school where that teacher worked is an administrator who is resting easy because that teacher and what that teacher knows is no longer a threat to him.
Have you heard about the social worker who called a parent whose child was failing math and in turn was accused of threatening the parent's life? She is here in the rubber room too.
Or... the school aide who brought in a cake and lit a birthday candle for a homeless child who would otherwise have nothing to celebrate? The odds are high that you probably haven't heard because she has 'disappeared' to the rubber room for almost three years, along with her untold story. Not being able to tell my story feels like being trapped on a subway car to nowhere...

When one is 'disappeared' to the rubber room, their voice is disappeared too. Instead of advocating for the reassigned teacher, the UFT intimidates the teacher into silence by advising them not to trust or share their story with anyone, including the people whom they meet in the RR. This silence adds to the oppression and pain of the already traumatized teacher who has been banished from their school. Not being able to tell my story is like being permanently stuck in an elevator...

There is a room full of untold stories from seasoned teachers who actually worked with children and liked their jobs. A room full of talented, dedicated people who somehow believed that their administration shared their vision of what it meant to educate. People who, in spite of working in schools with moldy ceilings, asbestos, broken windows, no air conditioning and faulty loudspeakers came in to work everyday to be there for the kids. They spent their own paychecks to buy the basic essentials for their classrooms while the administration hoarded the chalk and copy paper under lock and key.

In the rubber room, the teachers and their 'inconvenient' truths have been temporarily silenced and buried. There is nowhere for them to turn, no support for the truth. It is no accident that they are kept to wait so long. Meanwhile, the UFT continues to patronize the Mayor for the sake of 'contract' negotiations. Regardless, Chancellor Klein and Mayor Bloombucks aren't playing as nice. They still blame the Union for everything that is wrong with public education. They are free to generate more lies about how tenure is the main problem, how bad the teachers are and how well the public school system is doing under their reign of terror.

8 comments:

NYC Educator said...

I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I know it's not much, but I wish you strength and courage to see you through.

marry said...

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!
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Chaz said...

Glad to see you blogging again. The union wants to keep the RR teachers clueless and quiet until they are finished with their reassignment.

It is people like you who will expose the truth of the DOE lies and the UFT inaction when it comes to the reassigned teachers.

A Teacher In The Bronx said...

Great! Good to have you back. You really get to the emotional heart. Don't be a stranger. You have a lot to say.

Pissed Off said...

I wish I had known sooner that you were back. YOu have never left my thoughts and prayers.

Fidgety said...

Thank you all for your support. I need it more than you can imagine.

Liberty Rose said...

And we call this America, Land of Free Speech and Fair Representation.

My chest hurts on your behalf.

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