Usually, the last couple of weeks in August are spent casually getting ready for a new year in the classroom. As a computer teacher my curriculum and projects were pretty much up to me as long as I was in alignment with the goals of the core subjects. Granted, this afforded me a degree of freedom currently not offered in most other subject areas and as such, I have been "allowed" to follow the progressive development of my skills as a teacher. I have taken advantage of the professional development (P) courses mandated (but now totally irrelevant) and have implemented what I considered the best practices into my classroom. I know I have grown as an educator and even some of my third-round 7th graders would agree. I am not blowing my own horn, every teacher worthy of that title, has to grow by being critical of their own skills and practices. We, as teachers, do learn from our mistakes and by doing so increase the value of our pedagogy. One would think that such a statement was a reasonable assessment but...not. Classify this under the heading of DEVALUATION OF EXPERIENCE because the majority of excessed teachers are experienced, and somehow and for some reason beyond our understanding, experience has become a liability in the DOE.
And so, here we are, and I am sure the pool will be filled with hundreds of teachers with five plus years of hard work, loyalty and purpose, wading and waiting for the pointless ending of their career. It is not going to be easy to switch from your classroom (I was going to say assignment but that's their speak), ...the one you have been preparing for as long as you've been teaching, to a series of unconnected classrooms none of them at all familiar. Forget what you have learned and the hands-on projects you've developed for students that show how simple machines work as you'll very likely not even step into a science lab nor would you even know what is being taught in that class. It is a sad time for teachers in the ATR. However, we need to keep in mind that this is indeed a fight and though the current is dragging us out to sea, we need to stand tall and tough it out even though the sand is shifting beneath our feet.. Perhaps we will also need to change ATR to Angry Teachers Revolt.
Well, anyway it seems that being a teacher in NYC is kind of like being in the Twilight Zone...the more you learn and work and are bold enough to think you are increasing your value as a teacher, the less you are valued in your endeavor because you have become more expensive and now, despite all good efforts and sacrifice, you find yourself, quite frankly, expendable.