Wednesday, August 29, 2007

You Have Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

I was talking to a neighbor today about teaching, retirement, what the future holds for us. She can leave any time she wants (tier 1 and over 55) but she is not ready to go yet. She spent the last two days getting her classroom ready for next week. I told her that there was no way I would set one foot in the building until tomorrow. She answered, "We have one of those new, young principals. She is always writing everyone up. I don't want to get written up."

I don't know what a tenured teacher, one year from retirement is worried about. It is teachers like this one that permit the system to keep abusing us and to force us to work all these extra days. I don't have a classroom to set up, but if I did, it would get set up on school time, not my vacation time. If an administrator expects me to get something done, they better give me free time during the day to do it. (Of course this does not apply to doing extra for my kids--I am always around to tutor or to talk to them.)

Last year, College Board started requiring teachers of advanced placement courses to submit curriculum. This took hours and hours of work. When we were first told about this, I asked, "When will we be given time to get this done?" After hemming and hawing, we were relieved of regents proctoring to write the curriculum. (I am proud to say that mine was one of the few approved on its first submission.)

The abuse of teachers will continue as long as teachers allow it to continue. I understand the newbies--they have no tenure and must go in extra and work extra. I did the same when I first started out. I don't understand how the old timers, like me, can still be intimidated. Two years ago I had a disagreement with my Principal. He told me that since I don't "share his vision", I should transfer. I told him "Good school, near home, easy to park, I'm not going anywhere. Learn to deal with it." I haven't spoken more than a few words to him since (except when he handed me my Heart Award in June).



jonathan said...

What courses had to be rewritten? We had most accepted, first pass, but not all. The strangest was the AP English Lit, where the teacher was approved for grading the exams, but not for teaching the course!

Me? Other people can teach calc. No outlines for algebra!

Pissed Off said...

AP stat and English, that I know of. And, from the lsit serve, lots of AP calculus teachers submitted multiple times.

beth said...

Our custodians make it easy... They won't let us in the building! :) I had a great advantage in that I have my same classroom and was there over the summer, so I had very little to do.

I've gotten a few things today (Barclay was scarily un-busy! At least compared to the same day last year.) and will do a little planning for the first day tonight and tomorrow, but other than that...I'm feeling very zen about it.

Anonymous said...

I agree that teachers should speak up and stand up for their rights. I was, and am, very much like you in believing that teachers need to be vocal about the stupidity that reigns in the DOE. However, I also know first hand that principals nowadays have free reign to terrorize tenured and non-tenured teachers alike if you don't "share their vision". Once you're written up or get a U rating, there is NO fighting it. You can have an air-tight defense and it will be shot down at the hearings. I'd love to speak up more, but I've seen too many tenured teachers have their otherwise perfect careers ruined last year. You can have years of enthusiastic, meaningful instruction behind you and all of a sudden become a "U" teacher. I'm so sick of it all.

Pissed Off said...

I know it is hard, but when you are close to the end, you have to make a statement or they will walk all over you. Besides, by not fighting, we are hurting the kids and the newcomers to the profession.

I do understand where you are coming from.

Catherine Johnson said...

Don't get me started on the vision thing.

I realize urban schools are structured differently, but in a small town the principal isn't supposed to be the one with the vision.

The elected school board sets the vision; administrators executive the vision.

Needless to say, this happens nowhere that I know of.

Catherine Johnson said...

Our superintendent is exercising far too much power over teachers, including 30-year veterans.