Monday, March 06, 2006

The New Contract: One Month of Hell & Counting!!!

 
How much more can we take?
 
By Camille Johnson
Humanities and the Arts High School
 
Randi is not a real teacher, so she would not understand the enormous impact of what she gave away in our current contract. Because she accepted  an  extra 37 1/2 minutes small group instruction period and a plethora of other givebacks for mere pennies,  we are now suffering the ill effects of it in the classroom on a daily basis. 
 
In my single session high school, teachers are doing the mandated tutoring during period 1 which means that we start work at 8:05 A.M.

For the professional activity period, many teachers have still another small group instruction period. This then means that the teachers now have to teach their 5 regular periods per day  with up to 34 students in each class plus the mandated 37.5 minute period and the professional assignment, thus making it an interminable 7 period instructional day when it was five under the expired agreement.

To add insult to injury after teaching an arduous 7 periods, teachers still have to stay twice per month after school for an 8th assigned period in the form of Faculty and Departmental conferences.
 
The law of diminishing returns is totally in full effect, because there is no energy left for teachers to reflect on their practice or even to check homework, quizzes, projects or tests.  Consequently, a trailer-load of paper work lags behind which is a perfect recipe for hostility and burn out.  A hard working, conscientious teacher who cares deeply about students no longer has sufficient energy left nor the time to devote to do necessary outreach.
 
Therefore, there is less of an opportunity for teachers to conference with students, correspond with parents or to plan innovative and more creative lessons because we are simply over exhausted.  In addition, it will only get worse with the extended year as the 2006-07 school year will commence on the last day of August.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Camille. You said what most of us are feeling.

Anonymous said...

I am so tired and it is only March. I think Camille speaks for thousands of teachers.

Anonymous said...

I am an elementary school teacher and now our professional period (which is common planning time with your grade) must be held in the assistant principal's office. Every week it is turning into a grade conference. The principal says this is legal and my idiot CL takes this as gospel.

Is my principal correct? Can she dictate the location and have grade conferences in lieu of planning time?

jameseterno said...

To Anon Above-

The question to ask is do they also have an after school grade conference in addition to the professional period conference? If so, then they I think there is a problem.

Anonymous said...

James,

We have grade conferences during the professional period or lunch period, but once a month. We do not meet after school. However, can a principal call 4 weeks of grade conferences in one month.

Then the menu selection should have read "weekly grade conference" instead of "common planning time". Common planning has to do with coordinating lessons or other programs that we are involved with. This time is taken from us each and every time the principal meets with us.

jameseterno said...

To Anon Above-

They get one professional period a week in elementary schools. I think you are right that they are taking advantage of this to add extra department meetings that are clearly not contractual, but they may respond by changing it to the way you want it (common planning time once a week) and then forcing you to stay after school twice a month for the grade/faculty conferences.

Impeach Randi said...

Personally, I felt like walking out today. As far as August, what would stop us from all calling in sick?

Anonymous said...

A sickout would be a Taylor Law violation. It would take real guts to do.

Anonymous said...

. . . or real stupidity. Let us all be sited a Taylor Law violation (and making all aspects of our contract null & void, including no forced transfering, excessing, and the right to union representation - and of course salary) because a few inconsiderate and unorganized malcontents decide to drag everyone's rights down the tube.

Anonymous said...

Let us organize ourselves so that we will really be prepared for the next contract batlle.

Anonymous said...

The next battle is not our contract. The next battle is electing someone who will represent the hardworking teachers of NYC and negotiate a fair and respectable contract on OUR behalf. We should start an organized campaign on getting rid of Randi.

NYC Educator said...

That is indeed the next battle. Until we win it our dues only go to enrich the Unity propaganda machine. I think as more and more teachers see what this contract means our chances increase.

Remember the Unity mantra--the sixth class is not a sixth class.

For me, that's enough to send them packing, along with their various undeserved pensions.

Joe Mudgett said...

Here's the timeline as best as I can figure it:

Spring 2006 elections for delegates and chapter leaders (for a new 3-year term).

May/June 2007 election for UFT officers (for a new 3-year term).

October 2007 the contract expires.

Wildcat actions sound good, but concerted action to clean house at the DA and executive level is more sound. Let's take it one battle at a time. Make your voice and vote count!

Anonymous said...

James,

A question about the policy (consultation) committee meetings in a school. Does the principal have control over this meeting or should the chapter leader and team?

Does the principal have to approve the minutes of these meetings before they are distributed to the staff?

jameseterno said...

It's the chapter committee that controls the monthly consultation meetings.

As for minutes, it's up to the chapter committee as to how to distribute them.

We show them to the principal as a courtesy and ask for his ok. However, the one time we couldn't agree on the minutes, we sent them out anyway and said there was a disagreement over one issue. I think we put both of our positions out to the staff.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that Randi is renegotiating the contract?

If so, just what items are being discussed?

Anonymous said...

According to an article at careerbuilders.com, the 2nd most popular job in the country is being a cashier: $17,000 a year. That is sad and that is where all of our efforts should be across the country.

Anonymous said...

Would you care to elaborate?

fedupspeechteacher said...

Would you believe that now, the UFT reps, the same ones who came out in force to ram this contract down our throats in October, have decided that each D 75 school needs to be visited, so they can tell us how bad this contract is, and what Randi is planning to do for us next year. Jim Morris is coming to my school on Monday at 7:25. I can't wait to tell him what's on my mind.

Is the opposition going to run a candidate against Randi who has a chance of winning?

Anonymous said...

We'l have to sleep with the enemy in order to get rid of Randi. What I mean in the News and the Post. Why? Because Randi controls the New York Teacher. The only way to get publicity for the other candidate is to have a good relationship with these two papers. Remember, they hate Weingarten. It would be like the US and the USSR during WWII.

Anonymous said...

The News and the Post hates teachers! Forget about these 3rd grade rag sheets!. We can develop our own newspaper.

I think wildcat job actions are great! I don't care about the Taylor Law. I would feel prouder to spend a night in jail than to live with this contract.

Anonymous said...

So is it true that the contract is being renegotiated?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed what we are facing?

Employers Sharply Criticize Shift in Unionizing Method to Cards From Elections
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/11/national/11labor.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Where is our call for action?

Anonymous said...

Chapter Leaders were told that Randi is renegotiating.

Will that mean we will now work even longer hours, can be beaten by a supervisor, have to serve the food during lunch and give up more vacation time?

I hope ICE is on top of this one and doesn't let it fall under the radar as it did with Unity's raises.

NYC Educator said...

Please pardon the shameless self-promotion, but some of you might appreciate this post.


Comments are welcome.

jameseterno said...

I haven't heard anything on renegotiating. If I hear any details, I would have a reaction at that point.

Anonymous said...

I STRONGLY urge ICE, TJC, UTP and all other opposition parties to field ONE viable candidate, so as not to split the anti-Randi vote. And I agree with the poster who said we should enlist the help of the anti-Randi media. The end justifies the means.

Anonymous said...

Ends justifies the means? Good, Stalin, Pol Pot, and a few others would agree with you.

Anonymous said...

NYC Educator-"Shameless SELF-promotion" is right! Are you that lonely that no one will visit you that you must go to other blogs to promote yourself?

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll bite...

Can some of these other anonymous (Unity) people tell me what good things have happened since the implementation of this contract????

Would really appreciate it.

jameseterno said...

To Anon 9:01 and 9:11-

You knock us for personal attacks but I don't think I have ever compared Unity to Pol Pot or Stalin. I think that's a bit much.

I have no problem with NYC Educator linking us to his blog. Many people who are interested in what ICE has to say are also looking to hear other points of view. We are not afraid of defending our positions in open debate.

Anonymous said...

Anyone willing to write about One Month of Heaven & Counting!!!
Maybe Edwize can do that post because I would love to hear what good things are happening.

My CL wrote a letter to Randi telling her how much we liked the extended day. Of course when the staff heard about it, my CL was lucky enough to come out of that union meeting alive. Poor thing. She was just showing the Unity spirit.

Anonymous said...

Because someone doesn't agree with your point of view doens't mean they are of any political party or another.
Thanks for giving us credit to think for ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Hey James, Are you saying you were posting as "anonymous March 11, 2006 9:06:06 PM"? And of course as "offical policy of ICE" you never demonized Randi or anyone else in the union but certainly promoted otehrs to act. I wouldn't be surprised if those who did demonize others attended you ICE meetings.

Anonymous said...

Hey for positives since the contract ratification, besides the incease in pay, we have set the the bottom line for the next round of negotiations and are now gearing up for our turn. The question is what are you doing besides comlpaining. I'm going to be around for a long time and need to look a head to the future. Why aren't you on the new negotiating committee?

jameseterno said...

To Anon 12:00-

I am on the negotiating committee and so are Jeff and Barbara Kaplan-Halper, the three ICE representatives on the Executive Board.

To Anon March 15 11:57-

I was not the person who posted at 9:06 p.m. on March 11. As you can see, I don't have a problem saying who I am.

As for demonizing Randi, I have nothing against her personally. Our differences are over union policy. I can't remember ever comparing her to Pol Pot or Stalin.

UTP snakehead said...

When it comes to representing and protecting the rank and file members of this union I think Unity's long record of weakness, failures and sell-outs speaks for itself! The deteriorating working conditions, and the loss of professionalism this contract have brought are evidence of Unity's unwillingness or inability to advocate for us. Either way the message is clear the Unity caucus has become so self-serving, and so manipulative when it comes to the membership of this union theres only one thing to do: demand new leadership! They are under the delusion that Unity is the UFT, well they are wrong... I think its time that we remind them that this union belongs to all of us.

Anonymous said...

Anyone thinking of the kids. It sounds like me me me. Use the time to improve the school and students or move where you are appreciated by more cash. The real reward is improving education and helping students. Find another job before you burn out.