Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Teacher v.Teacher

It seems that  the old adage that knowledge is power may still have some play.  Or at least we can say that the more you know about your situation the better off you are.  Let me be specific.  I have linked to two very informative and well written pieces that all of us in this education battle would do well to read.

The first link is to a letter written by a principal to parents...it is nothing that you would expect.
Principal's letter - YOU GOTTA READ THIS

The other piece I read was about teachers and again, please take a moment.the teacher speaks.

Simon Letgo Lives!
Sometimes we can find relief? or consolation? or camaraderie when we learn that so many teachers are experiencing that same situation - it is as though we are all in the same fight.  Hey, guess what?  We are!  I read, in the various teacher blogs, how some of our brother and sister teachers fail to recognize that those ATR people sitting in the lounge alone and ignored, are your colleagues. It doesn't take but a minor decision by a minor functionary to have your career go up in smoke.  You really have no control over what will happen to you and your career as a public school teacher because if you thought that tenure was your security ticket, you need to heed the serious wake-up call that many of us have heard. Look, once you are excessed, it's like, oh, I dunno, one of those experiences that after which you are never the same, perhaps like getting ...what? (and you will always remember your first).

 I personally think that every teacher in the union should think of themselves as on the edge - let's make it the serrated edge-of the blade and that the ATR fight for representation, transparency and fairness is a fight that must engage us all. However, I must confess, that as I sat with my ATR friend in the closet we now have as a lounge for the PUBLIC SCHOOL teachers, I was annoyed when a few CHARTER people moseyed their way into the lounge to use their cell phones.  They ARE teachers, right? We all have that in common, right? Then why did I get that same itchy skin and evil thoughts as when I am surrounded by people with Romney/Ryan buttons. I guess I am suspicious.  When Charter first invaded our school building I recall that the administrators thought it would be a good idea to have a crummy, certified DOE luncheon to meet and greet the marauding hordes. Now, that went over like West Side Story's "Dance in the Gym". We just happen to co-exist in the same building and there is an inherent resentment built into the relationship: we eat lunch at 10:30 am,  they can dine at noon; we have to share classrooms; they get a yoga studio;  we get a 75% IEP population and they can pick and choose who opens their classroom door. We are two sides of some coin - and these two sides will never meet and I don't know if that is because there are philosophical, political, or simply economic reasons for the two camps.  Don't get me wrong...I wouldn't trade my South Bronx kids for a Greenwich, Ct. middle school ever, and it is every urban school teacher's mission to help these kids to care about their future and have a will to succeed. But when we take a careful look at the school we cannot but see the discrepancy in funding, opportunities, school environment and parental involvement and that discrepancy is by design and for a purpose--and we, unionized, public school teachers are in the cross hairs.