Monday, January 16, 2017

IS IT THIS BAD IN THE SCHOOLS?

This is a comment from our last post on the UFT's history:

I am making $85,000 right now. (Been teaching in NYC for 18 years) I would literally take a ten grand pay cut if we could revert to the old "S" and "U" evaluation system with only one announced observation per year. I suffer severe anxiety and insomnia due to the stress of Danielson drive by observations. Every day I go into school wondering if today is "the day" of an unannounced observation. I feel like I am walking on eggshells filled with acid.

My wife Camille is working in a school, Humanities and the Arts Magnet High School, where the conditions for teachers described above are replicated. She has felt the same way since 2015, after being on the receiving end of relentless, brutal attacks from Principals Omard and Ayetiwa as well as AP Stergiopolous.

On the other hand, I have worked under very good conditions since arriving at Middle College High School in 2014. Before that, I taught for many years at Jamaica High School where we had a very strong Chapter so very few people had to deal with an abusive work environment.

How about the rest of you? From meeting some of you, our readership contains a mix of both left, center and right, political and apolitical teachers.

What are conditions like for teachers in most schools these days?

We know how some rotating ATRs have described the many hell-holes. Is that the norm? I'd really like to know what your schools are like since I am still a UFT Delegate and at the Delegate Assembly I hear from the UFT President how wonderful the schools are.

Chancellor Carmen Farina wrote a letter to the NY Post saying that these are the best days ever for the NYC schools. She cites the record graduation rate as proof. Is she right or are the diploma mills known as the NYC schools the mess most of us who read this blog think it is?

Please keep it as clean as possible if you are going to comment.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am the person who you quoted! I do indeed feel that way. I have a cordial relationship with my admin but the stress of the observations is overwhelming. My admin, like all NYC admins are forced to do these horrible drive by observations. Back when we had the "S" and U" system with only one announced observation, I loved my job and going in to teach. Now, it is like we are all treated like newbie teachers. You are only as good as your last observation. Each day is as stressful as the last wondering if today will be the day that an admin walks in with a Danielson list. After 18 years of teaching, this is the most stressful time to teach in my career. I do not, nor ever did really stress out over misbehaving students. That is something I can deal with on my own and is not a problem. However, the fear of somebody holding my entire career, home, and income, in their hands is what sends fear into my heart as well as those of countless other NYC teachers. The irony right now is the UFT had the chance just a few weeks ago to revert back to just two observations and only one of those observations would be unannounced. What did the UFT do? They left us out to hang dry. I am disgusted by this and have been thinking about it every day since before Christmas.

Anonymous said...

This is extremely common place -
http://nypost.com/2017/01/17/teacher-i-was-fired-for-reporting-bad-kids-to-principal/

Farina is full of shit. I know it, you know, and she knows it.

JJ said...

Unfortunately, its true. Diploma mill? Yes. Students doing whatever they want with no retribution? Yes. Constant grade fraud, free grades, credit recovery, online gym, online art, math AP teaching music, principal teaching PE after school. Yes. Didnt Walcott say this was supposed to be limited? Student shows up on Saturday for 3 hours, somehow makes up all 5 days of cutting. Smoking in school? Yes. Constant cursing, threatening, gang talk, gang signs, talk about stealing, credit card scams, bank card scams...Is this what I go to work to hear? A good judge is to look at a couple sentences of writing. If they cant write a simple sentence, I think we know the answer. There is a reason why grad rates are 70 plus percent and college ready rates are 30 percent, as low as 3 percent in some schools. Hardly anybody gets to school anywhere near the start of 1st period, but they all manage to pass 1st period. Many walk out well before the end of the day, this is supposed to be reported on OORS via telephone, you really think any AP is going to sit there and call in 50 students every day? Well, thats fraud and a violation of the discipline code. Every cell phone used without permission is supposed to be put into OORS. You think a school is going to make 300-500-10000 entries per day? Of course not. Thats fraud. Its a numbers game to at the end of the year they can claim so few violations. Its out of control. People with 30 percent attendance passing..Come on. i could go on for hours...And then to be told its our fault, we cant control it...And for the record, never a U in my life, but its really pathetic, really disgusting, and quite frankly, im sorry I got into this profession.

Anonymous said...

Your favorite principal Ayetiwa presided over FDNY jefferson and it was a complete sham. Students doing credit makeups in every class, every year.

Anonymous said...

They have the entitlement thing going, they do whatever they want, which is no work, dont even bother to bring a pen, not even to a regents, then its pass me or else. Then the teacher gets called in and is asked why the scholarship report is so low, because its my fault, right? Yeah, sure. Meanwhile they have their heads in their phones all year. And supervision then wants to throw them parties and buy them birthday cakes, while they walk the halls all day.

Anonymous said...

And smoke weed and act belligerent.

Anonymous said...

By the way, homework is never assigned anymore, because students wont bother to do it. So the teachers cant add another negative against the students since they cant fail them anyway. Inmates run the asylum. If Mulgrew walked into pretty much any school in Brooklyn with Farina, unannounced, they would see hats, phones, chaos, people ignoring the late bell, tons of students in the halls all day, nobody doing any do now, cursing, nigga this, nigga that...

Anonymous said...

Students slapping and fighting in the classroom and the hall ways. students smoking and having sex in the stair well areas as school safety agents sit around looking at their phones all day. Students disrespectful to teachers speaking to them cursing and yelling to side step the fact of doing any work at all. Forget any substitute teachers gaining any respect. I call for mikey bloomberg to cover a class for one day and walk into that classroom as a sub and watch what goes on as students will begin to scatter like cockroaches. The entire system is a sham and better yet the charter schools are using their smoke and mirrors to pretend that the same shit is not going on but really they are teaching the same kids. Fix poverty genius.

Anonymous said...

Send Mikey Mulgrew in also. He does nothing about it.

Anonymous said...

The system is a sham and we have people calling the individuals that state facts racist. How can you not understand what's taking place in August Martin. Van Bruen, Campus Magnet, Far Rock, Beach Channel and on an on. You can't dispute the fact that the kids are mostly black and brown who are acting like this. Not all of course like that really has to be noted because some people who are very sensitive will say your being racists. Sorry to say but they are mostly black and brown. I wish it weren't true but that's reality. Say it over and over. Yes some non black and brown kids are also out of control. Yes some of the non black and brown are horrible. Just stating an observation from an old man with no agenda. Yes yes we all know the city has many good kids yes yes we know that many of them are black and brown. I'm done with this topic if you don't get it by now you never will. Boom! What ever that means

Anonymous said...

Once again, can we please stay on topic? The topic is our horrible evaluation system and how the UFT sold us out on it by not getting us the 2 observations that almost every other NYS school district is getting. I went to a UFT meeting today and NONE of the teachers even knew that the new NYS law mandates only 2 observations. (Or the fact that one of those observations is announced) UFT did a great job agreeing to this 2 days before our Christmas vacation so people would be talking about it.

waitingforsupport said...

Yes yes yes...you are a foolish old man if you are the person who described students as "black shitheads" and who called John Lewis "an idiot". You are beyond ignorant. I don't know how old you are but you should cut your losses and just retire. You are unhappy, bitter, prejudiced and close minded--if you are the person who said the above. Yes yes we know there are white kids who are not popping pills, running meth labs, using heroin, stealing or
lying (just an observation) but that is no excuse for anyone to call them "white shit heads"--if you said it (9:37 poster said it). Don't waste my time with your racist nonsense. You can surround poop with roses but it will still smell like poop.

Anonymous said...

Didn't call students black shitheads. Read the post again my friend and thanks for the advice

Anonymous said...

I know the truth hurts but it's the truth

Anonymous said...

Anyone working in such deplorable conditions as described above should just have some self-respect and resign. Go get a job as a bagger in Waldbaums. Or find another line of work. You will feel better about yourself, have less stress, and be better off in the long run. Think about it – the very fact that there are adults who are willing to shovel shit all day long in these type of schools is the very reason that they exist. If no one was willing to accept this duty, believe me there would be BIG changes. Which brings us back to the fact that we have a TOOTHLESS TIGER as a union. Because isn't this exactly the type of militancy we need from our union to get our point across? Not this UFT, they are in bed with NYC.

Anonymous said...

Topic is schools, not whether a commenter is racist.

waitingforsupport said...

Read my initial response to 937...if that's not you, why are you becoming defensive? I didn't introduce race into the discussion---937 did. However, I will continue to defend a bully who thinks it's okay to call students "black shitheads" and John Lewis "loser". 937 has freedom of speech and so do I. And you're welcome (for the advice). The truth doesn't hurt, your ignorance is embarrassing.

waitingforsupport said...

I agree 717

Anonymous said...

717 says we should go get a job as a bagger at Waldbaums? Really? Just take a massive pay cut, toss my pension and TDA in the trash? I don't think so. I love teaching my students. What I despise is the DOE and UFT and the bullshit they have been tossing on us. Most recently, it is the bullshit evaluation deal. The majority of school districts now have 2 observations. The UFT got us 4. The stress level of this job would be diminished massively if the UFT just pushed for 2 observations. For many, many, teachers the stress of the job is more from adults than it is from kids. Give me crazy kids all day and I can take it as I can find a way to deal and cope. Give me crazy adults where I have no say and my stress level goes through the roof. Kids are not evaluating me or keeping my job on the line, adults are. Back when we had the U and S system, things were sane and fair. Nobody was out to get you.

Anonymous said...

http://www.wafb.com/story/25556879/iteam-classrooms-of-fear-ptsd-for-teachers
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2012/01/suic-j09.html
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2010/10/teac-o01.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/10/education/10teacher.html?_r=0
http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2011/05/can_a_class_of_7th_graders_giv.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+InsideSchoolResearch+%28Education+Week%3A+Inside+School+Research%29
http://withabrooklynaccent.blogspot.com/2013/01/teachers-and-ptsd.html
http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2014/04/a-kipp-teacher-speaks-of-her-nervous.html
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2008/aug/31/teaching.teachersworkload

Anonymous said...

I have to surmise, James, that yes it is that bad in schools. The UFT and DOE can try to defend it. but won't be able to. One unannounced visit into these warehouse high schools will prove everything that Farina and Mulgrew say is wrong. Intentionally wrong. It's hurting students and society the most. The DOE and UFT don't deserve to exisit. As part of both entities, many of us may have to go as well. Part of the price of rampant apathy, of which I am also guilty of. I always figured if I paid my dues, literally and figuratively, that the UFT would do the right thing. Then we got Bloomberg and Weingarten.

waitingforsupport said...

Agreed 758.

Anonymous said...

The UFT is a disgrace, they will not do anything to stop the age discrimination taking place and the abuse of ATRs.

Anonymous said...

Hey, did anybody see the MTA new contract? Guess what, they beat our raises, easily..

Anonymous said...

Why don't the tax payers care that the schools are such a mess? Will NYC DOE ever make education a priority? Will the UFT ever make its members a priority?

Anonymous said...


"Your favorite principal Ayetiwa presided over FDNY jefferson and it was a complete sham. Students doing credit makeups in every class, every year."

Is this true? He depicts himself as a flawless principal and FDNY as a model school. I do question his analytical and judgement skills.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor, Chancellor & UFT should have cleaned house because it is unacceptable how many people are being abused. People are asked to complete task during duty-free lunch periods and If they refuse they are blatantly retaliated against. As a teacher we all know data can be skewed. And the union will only react if they are embarrassed. It is Shameful and there are far too many clowns running schools. If you added a unicycle many if us woukd literally be working in a 3 ring circus.