Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Last Sabbatical

Sabbaticals will soon be a thing of the past.  The last group of teachers eligible to take them are doing so now, as I write.   The city, in its infinite wisdom, had micromanaged every step of the way.

I've been told teachers could only get approved for courses at one of three colleges.  Two are on Long Island and Queens.  These are expensive, private schools.  Tuition is undesirable for all and location is awful for many.  The other, a city college is located in the most inconvenient borough of all--Staten Island. 

In addition to the restrictive locations, course study was also severely restricted.  Instead of courses in mathematics, English literature, history or anything remotely connected to the areas people teach, everyone is taking a course in data analysis and writing across the curriculum.  Taking courses that would actually improve teaching were not permitted.

It seems the city did everything possible to make sabbaticals as difficult as possible.  No consideration of people or children was even considered.  Taking the sabbatical to improve teacher quality is non existent with these courses that will not help anyone in the classroom.

On the plus side, these courses only meet one day a week so the teachers have plenty of free time to play.   This is how the city will justify doing away with sabbaticals.  Sabbaticals like these will not help education at all.

I've just been told that there are sabbatical people in other locations, taking real courses.  I hope the friend who told me this is wrong.  Maybe she was just scared into believing it and followed protocol in hope of not being denied.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where did you get these ideas? I have a friend who was approved for a sabbatical this term (who chose not to take it so he can retire next January), and it was for history/social studies courses at SUNY-Old Westbury (not private).

Pissed Off said...

From a friend on sabbatical. She was told this was the only way her sabbatical would be guaranteed. I'm glad I am wrong.

burntoutteacher said...

I applied for and took a sabbatical in 2010. My first two applications were denied because they did not approve of the classes I wanted to take, even though I provided a list of about 15 choices. As a high school English teacher, I wanted to take some American literature classes (my college coursework years ago was more English than American), history classes related to the literature I taught, art history classes so I could supplement my literature classes with enrichment in the other arts, etc. I tried twice to get my sabbatical approved, with course offerings from Brooklyn College. The principal approved my application both times but the superintendent did not. Finally, I was only approved when I changed the application for the sabbatical program at the College of Staten Island. I didn't want to go to Staten Island, but more importantly, the courses in the program there were of little interest to me and I felt that could probably teach them better myself. But in order to take the sabbatical, I had no choice -- so what you have been told is true, at least so far as the BASIS superintendency is concerned. As it turned out, the courses I was forced to take were useless and the teacher running the methodologies course was new to New York City and had only run a small charter school in Boston. He was a really nice guy but wasting hours in that class really hurt, not to mention the bridge tolls. I wanted to learn, to expand my teaching, and was willing to take classes several days a week in order to sign up for classes to would do both me and my students a world of good. But no, the DoE would not allow it.

Anonymous said...

I am a visual arts teacher in an elementary school. My principal approved my art history/studio art coursework application when I applied for sabbatical this year but was denied by my superintendent who claimed the coursework wasn't rigorous enough. She recommended that I take "graduate" courses... however, most grad coursework is offered in the evening. I had to reapply using the CUNY Sabbatical for Teachers and was approved. Unfortunately, so did every other teacher applying for a sabbatical because I was put on a waiting list.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately times have not changed in this regard. Frustration cycles continue during the approval process. Surely, being a resident of New Jersey, I am further punished because of out-of-state status (and double the tuition rates). Anyone responding to this have any input on the independent study research project? I can't believe the hope of personal growth and creative opportunity is marred by all this red tape.