"30 Schools In 30 Weeks"

My adventures as a Gypsy going from school To school in a futile search for a real teaching position.

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Adventures As A Traveling ATR - School #7

Well, I just finished another weekly assignment and found this once great school is struggling to survive. This large school is in Eastern Queens and has seen an influx of "academically challenged students". Quite a few of these students were pushed out of the middle schools either due to their age , behavior, or academics, maybe all three. This school bore the brunt of the closing of Springfield Gardens and Jamaica High Schools and the result was that many of the higher achieving students that , in the past would go to this school, have decided too go to other schools farther North in the Borough.

This school, unlike the "Restart/Transformation Schools", have so far avoided that fate However, the teachers at the school have seen a steady worsening of the school environment. Too many students wander the halls, especially in the "Special Education" wing where Deans and School Safety Officers (SSOs) are not to be found. This school Administration gave out the most "unsatisfactory" ratings than any other school in the Borough which further lowered teacher morale.

The discipline in the school is uneven. At times the hallways are clear when the Deans and School Safety Officers occasionally sweep the schools. However, where there are no Deans and SSOs available, especially in the "Special Education" wing, where the students congregate and disrespect teachers who try to disperse them back to class. I heard one student tell a teacher to "suck my d**k" and another student called a female teacher a "white b*tch". This disrespectful group that reminds me of school #5 are thankfully a minority of a reasonably well-behaved student body. However, it is a sizable minority and growing and that is a problem.

Academically, the school has few higher level courses, especially in Math and Science". In those two subjects Advanced Placement courses are no longer offered and Pre-Calculus and Physics are only given to two classes. The school has a Special Education vacancy that is not advertised and a hidden Math vacancy.

The school is not in immediate danger of closing. However, they did receive a poor grade by the DOE and we all know how the DOE feels about large High Schools. There is plenty of parking in the area. The staff is friendly and I did receive a key to the bathroom and classroom (I admit I needed to ask the custodian for it). Finally, like most schools I have been to, many of the teachersand AP's did not leave meaningful work to do and the students tend to misbehave if they are not given meaningful work. This issue is an ongoing problem for many of the ATRs, not just myself. Oh yes, this was another school where the Chapter Leader never came to greet me and I never met him or her. I guess Michael Mulgrew's message haven't reached the Chapter Leaders of the schools I end up in.

If offered a position in my subject area I would probably accept it.



  1. Sounds like your average NYC school and you give it a c-. Yikes, a school where students call teachers white bitch and told to suck their little peepees. The DOE, UFT, Bloomberg, the new chancellery and the admin at the school just shrug their shoulders? Shame on them. How do they sleep at night? We have cowards for leaders. They think the parents would be upset if we threw the bums out. But they would applaud and be thankful. The parents need to occupy the DOE and get rid of top down management. Hire some principals with backbone who do not back down and aren't politically correct. President Mulgrew has to tell teaching staff to not take verbal abuse from children. There must be contractual efforts made to stop this abuse. If a member told him to suck his peepee I'd hope he'd not walk away....or would he?

  2. Discipline is a huge issue in many schools. When Administration is unwilling to establish an appropriate tone in the school, individual teachers are left alone to survive the situations they confront with unruly students. It can be risky to try to establish order unless it is part of the school environment. False allegations are made frequently. An ATR goes into the school for a week and is in no position to begin the process of reforming the school on you own.

    About the C-, it is all relative.

    I was sent to two schools in the same building the last two weeks. Nice places because of the students and the teachers. I was not very impressed with the administration of either school.

    The UFT sent a couple of retired members (the UFT version of F-status) to visit the school and see if members had any complaints. They sat in the a recently moved teacher's lounge which is not used by the teachers in the school, and waited to speak to someone. They ended up talking to two ATR's, a Para, a day-to-day sub, and a couple of privately contracted translators available due to the middle school in the building having open school for parents. This is a complete waste of our dues and maybe attending a chapter meeting will help discover if any real "contractual
    " issues are going on in the school.

  3. My ratings are very subjective and reflect my experience in the school for the week I am assigned to it. However, in talking to the various teachers it is very obvious what the problems are at a school.

  4. Rod is totally right. Our leadership must tell members not to accept being insulted or that it is part of the job etc etc. Once a kid gets away with it once, it becomes epidemic.

  5. They are not my leaders. They are parasites pure and simple. May they get infested with aids carrying bedbugs. And when they willingly spread for the ugly little dwarf, may he and his minions be infested too. Screw the 1%.
    Angry Nog.

  6. You've written great reports of the schools.

    One thing: the school has the highest number of U ratings? why would you want to work there?

    I think I know of the building... kids roaming the halls...administrators don't care.
    You'd get a U for the administration's bad tone management.