Monday, December 11, 2017


It has been three years now since I have been working at Middle College High School at LaGuardia Community College. After the bitter phase out of Jamaica High School ended in 2014, I never thought I would ever have any chance to again be content in a NYC teaching job.

However, after working for three years in an enlightened atmosphere featuring wonderful kids, a great staff and a supportive administration, I can say that teaching in NYC can be enjoyable. It is not perfect at Middle College by any means but teachers can apply our craft in a friendly environment.

We work on a trimester model so today I met different groups of students. I saw familiar faces and some new ones.

Believe it or not, after 31 years of teaching I still get that adrenaline rush on the first day of a new school term. Only the DOE-UFT nonsense has me jaded.

The House I coteach decorated our classroom door for the holiday season.

I write about Middle College not to boast that I landed on my feet but to say that this kind of educational setting should be a model that schools should strive to achieve.


Anonymous said...

I'm happy for you James, but you realize it's not by accident. With your fearless writing and speaking skills the last thing the DOE/UFT wanted was you being rotated into one disfunctional hellhole after another.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. Imagine James in campus magnet, far rock or all the other great learning institutions we are forced into. The stories he would write would blow the lid off the entire corrupt atr system. But that will never happen. Enjoy the great school your in and congrats on your 3yr anniversary. I'm just disappointed that you weren't able to fully share the atr experience. It would have made a difference but we will never know. The doe is corrupt but not that stupid to allow you to roam throughout queens. I would have loved to read your first hand account of your time at August martin or beach channel. Would have been Pulitzer worthy.

Anonymous said...

They looking for a music teacher over there?

Anonymous said...

I graduated from Beach Channel in the early 80's. It was a nice comprehensive neighborhood school. There were shop classes and honors classes. The art rooms on the top floor were terrific. I also subbed there much later, a couple of my former teachers were still there. I have a lot of good memories from there-as a student and a teacher.

James Eterno said...

I'm glad you folks think this blog has so much influence. I was told the opposite that principals were warned to stay away from me. Don't know what is true there.

Highly Effective King Clovis said...

I follow your blog and a few others like Chaz and NYCEDUCATOR. I like that you keep us informed, while having to teach. This is my fourth year as an ATR. So I rely on these blogs to stay in the loop. That's great to hear, sounds like you have a nice spot there.

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear that your school isn't annualized and you still get to enjoy the thrill of the first day of class a few times a year. It seems like more and more high schools are getting rid of semesters/trimesters/cycles and annualizing their entire program (often to make it easier for the administration to do programming).

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blogs because it is informative and sometimes comical. Your blogs are often one sided. Never once have I ever read that a teacher was in the wrong. The premise of your site is , whenever there is conflict in a school, teachers are always right and principals are always wrong. Yes there are principals that are in the wrong but some teachers are crazy too.

If 3 teachers get removed, its not because they may have done something wrong, the only conclusion you draw is that the principal is harassing staff. But I guess since this is a blog, giving accurate and complete details is optional. Basically If I don't like my principal, just complain to James and vilify the principal online.

FYI, you only boost the reputation of the principal in the DOE's eyes, because the DOE hates the UFT. Some principals print out blog pages from sites like yours and put it in their portfolio to prove their "impact." How do I know? I am a NJEA union representative and I sit on hiring committee boards and my wife is a Principal.

Either way, I enjoy your site and getting a good laugh from time to time.

James Eterno said...

Plenty of places to read criticisms of teachers. Very few where people stand up for our profession. I have seen so many unjustified attacks against teachers over the years. I have no problem defending my profession. If you are an NJEA official, that is your job.

Even someone who may have done something wrong deserves due process with union support. We pay dues for this.

As for attacks on various principals here, please be specific on where we were wrong. Hard to respond to general statements.

I have nothing but respect for the Middle College Principal. This post is about Middle College. The comment above is quite out of place here.

Anonymous said...

Just reading the above comments. As a neutral person, if you only hear one side of a story how can you be sure you have the complete story or truth. To imply that your blogs on principals are accurate seems presumptuous. You did not reach out to the principal to hear their side of the story; you only write what the UFT members tells you. Honestly, how many teachers tell you they did something wrong that might merit discipline from their principal. Probably never.

Just saying. You should take a much fairer approach when writing about situations that occurs in other school.

James Eterno said...

I advocate for teachers. Call me biased all you like in the same way Pat Lynch is biased for police officers.

Our original stories involve more than one source. We are acting responsibly. Very few in media tell these stories from our point of view.