Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Message To A Supervisor

Some of those miserable, disgusting administrators who push senior teachers out actually do them a favor.

 I had a hard time letting go of the job I did for over 30 years.  Teaching was my identity, it was who I was.  I loved the excitement of the first day of school, meeting new students and reconnecting with old ones.  The warm greetings and the hugs were something I thought I couldn't live without.  I was wrong.  If my hand hadn't been forced, I would have been in the school today, waiting on line for a cold bagel and a cup of coffee and listening to endless PD.

There are lots of ways administrators get teachers they don't want to leave.  When they are teachers who are well liked, get good results and don't do things wrong, they have to use more subtle techniques.  Programs are one of the things they use.  They can, within the contract, give teachers multiple rooms, three preps they have never taught and sessions that are not convenient.  They will do this even when it means other teachers will be hurt.  They talk in innuendos about certain teachers but do it so well everyone in the room knows who is being discussed.  When all else fails, they use the cold shoulder approach.  No one likes being frozen out and marginalized.

There has been a lot of hype in the news lately about retaining irreplaceable teachers.  While no teacher is irreplaceable, experience matters.  Teaching is something learned on the job and I know I learned quite a bit from the educators I worked with.  Today's young teachers won't have that opportunity.

I spent my second year of not having to report the first day:
1.  Staying in bed late, listening to Z100 phone tap and checking e-mail.
2.  Having a leisurely cup of coffee on patio with plenty of time to read the newspaper.
3.  Visiting a museum and having lunch with friends.
4.  Relaxing at home, on patio with a glass of wine and husband,  blogging and watching tv.
5.  Not being aggravated by Mr. AP's memos and words and a program I don't like.

Thank you, for making me so unhappy.  Thank you for giving me the push I needed to get on with my life.  Thank you for pushing me to see the benefits of my pension, the fruits of my labor for all those years.

1 comment:

burntoutteacher said...

Amen to all you wrote! Although I was pushed out about 2 years earlier than I had hoped, it has proven to be the best thing that has happened to me. I remember too many mornings, sitting at this computer in tears, way before dawn, getting ready for the awful day ahead and wondering what had happened to that wonderful career I used to have, I used to love. The push started when my school was tagged for closing and none of us were able to snag a position in one of the new "replacement" schools in spite of the union contract. The push continued when I took a job at a big school with an insane principal who targeted older teachers and I got a U rating after 23 years based on a single observation in which he disagreed with how I interpreted a single line in a Shakespeare play (even though my Masters degree focused on Shakspearean comedy!) The push continued stronger when, even though the arbitrator ruled in my favor (she was so shocked at the basis for the U that she uncharacteristically told me what she felt after the tape recorder was turned off), the U rating was upheld. No surprise there. Finally the push was almost out the door when I took a job at a tiny school with a principal with no teaching experience who thought that raising reading scores with my 10th graders -- most of whom read at a 5th grade reading level -- should not be accomplished by letting them read. "That's not active teaching," he insisted. He then changed my program so that I wasn't even teaching in my license area. In a mere three years I went from respected and appreciated to devalued and frustrated. So Bloomberg's policies also pushed me out the door. And now I am finally at peace with it, happy as a pig in that proverbial muck, reading for pleasure, visiting with friends, having more time and energy to appreciate my wonderful kids, reenergizing my marriage, etc. And I have those two horrible principals who didn't know what they had with a teacher like me. Their loss but my gain.