May 10, 2010

Teacher Bashing

There is so much negative banter about teacher performance, teacher evaluation, grading the teachers, good teachers, bad teachers, firing teachers, teachers wasting taxpayers money, teachers in general, blah, blah, blah. Is there anyone who isn't teacher bashing these days? Suddenly, everyone who has an opinion and anyone who has money is an 'education expert'. (Thanks SBST!) Is there anyone in this teacher bashing bunch that has ever taught in a classroom?

Since most senior teachers of the pre'BloomKlein' era earned their education degrees the conventional, time honored way, one can safely believe that their credentials have been met, but is it safe to make the same assumptions of our new, overly empowered Principals?
How many of of our new Principals have earned their counterfeit credentials through the quick and condensed 'Evelyn Wood' Speedy Leadership Academy?' Do you think that they have spent at least 3-5 years in the classroom- excluding their own experience as a student in the NYC DOE? How many have shown an initiative to stand in front of a classroom and model a lesson in the caliber that they expect from their staff? Would it be unreasonable to ask that principals also be held responsible and accountable to the same professional standards as teachers?
("Pissed Off" has the right idea.)How about the teachers observing the Principals and Assistant Principals for a change? Why not rate the Principals on how well they can be in two places at once, juggle lunch duty or how well they can discipline one child while praising another all in one breath? We are not talking about balancing budgets here. We are talking about 8:00-3:00, don't be late, get your hands dirty, hold your bladder, full fledged teaching.

Take a look at the results of the biased 3020a hearings and you will find that in most hearings a Principal is unable to prove the incompetence, neglect or corporal punishment that they have charged a teacher with. The fact that so few teachers are actually fired as a result of the 3020a process is proof that most teachers have been reassigned on dubious or cooked up charges. There is no evidence that the 3020a process is a reliable method of ridding the system of 'bad' teachers. What is does prove however, is that most principals are good liars and poor judges of what a bad teacher looks like.
For every teacher sent to the RR, there is a principal who put them there. Perhaps these ignorant, unethical and self serving administrators should spend more time in the classroom and less time witch hunting. Once the 3020a hearing is complete and an arbitrator rules in the favor of the teacher, shouldn't a mandatory investigation of the Principal follow? How many times it is the Principal's ego, ignorance, lack of communication and paranoia that condemns an innocent teacher? Shouldn't it be the Principal who is held accountable for wasting the tax payer's money?
Instead, NYC DOE principals get a free ride on the tails of Bloom-Klein's "Some are more equal than others policy." 'It's Okay", they say to a principal's disregard for regulations. "It's okay", they say to the harassment of senior teachers. It's okay to rate teachers unfairly, just as long as the principal gets good grades on school surveys from the teachers and parents. "It's okay" to make a mistake, just as long as some unsuspecting senior teacher takes the blame.
Is this teacher abuse "okay" with the UFT? Sure it is. Just as long as the abused are paying their membership dues and remaining passively quiet. As long as the UFT stands idly by and accepts the "It's okay" policy for administrators, the corruption will continue...


Anonymous said...

As usual, you write intelligently and persuasively.

It is clear to me that many, if not most, of the newer principals have been hired because they will satisfy the cravings of those who hire them.

I have been exposed, for many years, to principals who are are: just plain incredibly stupid and inadequate; struggling with the English language and higher level thinking; clinically narcissistic and self-absorbed; unstable, volatile, definitely suffering from serious mental and emotional defects.

I have been told story after story by fellow teachers from all boroughs and grades of principals with identical characteristics.

Those who hire principals are focused upon issues of the control of other humans, the destruction of public education, the elimination of all reasoning capacities by students who will become compliant citizens, even more eager than the current average citizen to give up their rights and freedoms and dignity.

As for the UFT: teachers and others of us in NYC public education pay the UFT suits to indulge themselves and to actively injure us, sometimes irreparably.

They are particularly vicious and malevolent parasites who live off of us and do their best to harm us.

I am not sure why, except to speculate that they identify themselves as "management," as "white collar," as the privileged, superior class (read: parasite class) on the order of administrators, lawyers, politicians, et al . . . all of those who occupy themselves in devising ways to do us and the students horrific injury.


dsrt16 said...

This made me cry because it happened to me. Thanks so much for posting it. I have been teaching for three years, and I am very dedicated to my job. I spend hours reading professional development books and reflecting on my lesson plans to make them better. I am still new, so I am not an amazing, incredible, master teacher; but I am not bad by any means. I have always received good marks on my evaluations, until this past school year.

It seems they picked me and a few other teachers to get rid of due to budget, and they found a reason to do it. I got written up for breaking rules I didn't even know existed; not only that, but I had had no verbal warning first, which is the law. At the end of the year, they told me I had to resign or they would fire me because I had too many letters of reprimands. Suddenly, I understood why I had been written up right and left. Interestingly enough many of my colleagues had broken these unknown rules too, but only I was written up for them.

I talked to other teachers who got "fired" at my school, and it all came down to this: we were a threat to them because they couldn't control us. I had the "audacity" at the beginning of the year to ask my principal what training I would be given on teaching the new way, and why this way was better. Yes, three weeks into the school year, they told all English teachers they had to started teaching a different way. I guess they thought I was bashing their ideas, but I only nicely asked how and why. I was willing to do it; I just didn't know how.

Now I have the worst human resources file ever, and if anyone looks at it, I will never find a job. I look like a rule breaker.

Luckily, I had a band of teachers and parents, who have seen me teach or have heard from their children, write me glowing letters of recommendation, so here is hoping.

Your article helped me realize I am not alone. The pain of being fired is still there, especially when I don't think I qualify as a bad teacher, but I do feel better. Thanks!