We are hearing from teachers in multiple schools for the first time in the COVID-19 era complaining about administrators starting to act in a pre-pandemic abusive way. Before the last week or so, it was rather rare since March for our blog at least to hear about a principal or assistant principal acting in a tyrannical way. We can no longer say that. Crazy letters sent to teachers are again being forwarded our way and we are hearing about ridiculous observations.
The multiple "nonevaluative" remote observations that include post-observation conferences from administrators, some of whom have never taught a remote class in their lives, is concerning enough. But hearing how teachers are receiving one or two "glows" and multiple "grows" (areas in need of improvement), is very disturbing. This is particularly worrisome because it is conscientious teachers who are concerned about these nonevaluative observations and these teachers already have enough to be concerned about while teaching in a pandemic.
A couple of points to keep in mind:
1-There is no evaluation agreement between the UFT and DOE currently so these observations cannot be placed in any personnel file and they shouldn't carry a rating.
2-Teachers are telling me that they are worried that these observations are being used as a set-up and that they will be referred to once the DOE and UFT agree to an evaluation system. Respond to emails if necessary. Keep a record but don't be overly concerned. It's a pandemic. It's more concerning that school buildings are open, teachers are getting infected and passing away. We can keep it all in perspective.
We think teachers should not be intimidated. Call your chapter leader and district rep and file operational complaints if this continues. A supervisor visiting a Meet for a few minutes to see what's going is acceptable but full-scale observations where every communication a teacher has with a student is scrutinized seems more like harassment.
By the way, when will the grievance process start again UFT?
We would recommend that because of the many oversize remote classes, every administrator from the Chancellor on down to principals and assistant principals to UFT officials should contribute by teaching remote classes every day. It helps with two issues as it could reduce class sizes a little and the administrators who are mainly not experienced in remote instruction might learn a little about it and may have some empathy with classroom teachers, most of whom are working their butts off trying to make remote learning succeed.