Friday, June 08, 2012

Destroying The Will To Teach


Gina has been an ATR since the beginning of ATRS. She was a highly respected teacher at a school that was closed down. The school wasn't closed because of its failure rate. It was closed because the city decided the services offered to students there were no longer necessary. Needless to say, something very valuable to the students of NYC was lost. Gina felt sad as she packed her books and lessons and left the place she called home. She knew she would miss this population and she knew they would miss her, a caring adult who filled both an educational and an emotional void in their lives. She didn't think she would have any problem finding a new position. She had impeccable references. She was 40 years old and had been teaching for 14 years.

The first school Gina was assigned to had an opening in her license area. The AP of the department offered her the job. Before she had a chance to accept the Principal pulled back the offer. She spent the year there as a highly paid sub and spent many hours in the cafeteria reading and playing on the school's computer. Although Gina was a sub, she developed a strong relationship with many of the students and was able to help many navigate through difficult situations.

Year 2 had a similar start. Several months into the semester she got an offer to teach at another school in the district. She jumped at the chance to be a real teacher again. Unfortunately the Principal didn't see her as a permanent member of the department and requested she sign a provisional employee statement. At first she refused. This act of defiance put her on the shit list. In June she got a letter stating there would be no job for her in September. The Principal also sent her off with a U rating although the AP of the department wrote excellent observations every time he saw her teach.

Year 3 began in a brand new school where everyone, even the Principal was under 30. She was assigned one regular class and subbed other periods. She got to know the kids and developed strong attachments to them. A month into the semester she moved to another school in hope of getting a permanent job. The new school turned out to be more difficult than she anticipated. It was a school slated for closure. The Principal was a Leadership Academy graduate with no experience and the kids ran rampant. In spite of all this, she loved her students and made a difference in their lives. She was not hired back for year 4.

Year 4 has Gina going to a different school every two weeks. At first she enthusiastically went on interviews, determined still to find a permanent position. School after school let her know they didn't want her, some after a three minute interview. She has now given up all hope of ever being in the classroom.  She has changed her mindset and no longer frets about not teaching.  She happily accepts the bimonthly checks while doing little.  The system destroyed a good teacher.  The kids took a major hit because no one would give her a chance.

3 comments:

Cara Boutkids said...

This is heartbreaking. Similar situation in Chicago where teachers become "permanent subs." My girlfriend's son, who is 25 & started out as an eager high school English Teacher (just like Mom)had his job taken after the 2nd year, & now subs in his high school. He is so discouraged, he won't even discuss work with his mom or anyone else. Another good teacher wasted.

ChiTown Girl said...

Are you sure you weren't writing about me? ;-)

Every passing day makes me feel more and more sure of my decision to leave.

Pissed Off said...

Too many teachers fit the description of the one written about here.