One of the more baffling aspects of dealing with the Department of Education is how sometimes rank and file members who try to fight back against abuse from administrators are put in no win situations.
A principal and/or assistant principal makes life miserable for a teacher by writing lousy observation reports, making up incidents or twisting them into knots to put letters in the teacher's file and then giving the teacher the worst possible classes to teach that the teacher did not request.
If the teacher grieves everything including the rotten program and files APPR complaints, then the DOE may tell them to cool it with so many complaints. The teacher is accused of being crazy because they fight everything and don't give the principal a chance.
On the other hand, if the teacher tries to work things out with the principal and does not grieve everything, the UFT will immediately ask the teacher why they did not grieve.
See the dilemma.
My advice for tenured teachers*, for what it is worth, is to try to have a conversation with administration to work out any issues but if that fails, then grieve, grieve and grieve some more if there are contractual violations.
File APPR complaints on any adverse observation. (Do not hesitate as we only have five school days from when an observation is issued to file an APPR complaint.)
Grieve programs that do not meet contractual guidelines. (Be really fast here as there is a two school day time limit to file.)
Don't wait for harassment to get out of control before fighting back.
Even if the initual grievances are lost at the school and Chancellor's level, do not be discouraged. The powers that be expect teachers to give up. Be persistent and scream retaliation if there is pushback from administration because of filing grievances.
Don't worry about appearing grievance crazy. By fighting back, a teacher creates a record and a paper trail.
Final word: Save everything and be organized.
*There are ways for non-tenured teachers to fight back but it is not easy and often times requires a different approach.