Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Goodbye, Hello, I Must Be Going

I have not made a written entry on my blog for some time now.  I have been using that XtraNormal program to make my cartoon videos as a vehicle for my opinions and observations.  I think that has worked well for the most part, after all, I am neither a policy wonk nor an investigative reporter.  I have gotten almost all my information about the NYC deform movement in education from the edu-bloggers like Norm, Chaz, and NYC Educator.  They are way smarter and more informed than I and, they have been on the case here for years, while I am a rookie with a one year old blog. I started this blog last year when I was first excessed.  Since then, I was re-hired by my school but now, for the upcoming year, I am again, in the ATR pool.
I can't say that I didn't expect to be released and to be honest I was planning to end my teaching career sooner than later.  I have already taken my final "retirement meeting" and I can see the hazy future.  It's not that drastic a change for me in that I have had a number of "career" changes and I am quite used to remaking myself to suit the circumstances.  The same cannot be said for a number of other people who have chosen teaching as a career.  I have come to the conclusion  that some people are born teachers or at least knew all along that teaching was their calling.  These are people who have been teaching since their college graduation, they have put decades into the classroom and now, many of them find themselves burdened by their experience in that their school can no longer afford them.  Their years of devotion and experience have been trans-valued from a positive to a negative and they find themselves without a school, without a classroom and without students.  They have been excessed, they are in the ATR pool and this is an outrage.  This past year I made an effort to speak to the ATR teachers who found themselves rotating into my school. The conversations were almost universal in content as the ATR's learn that nobody and that certainly includes the teachers union, nobody gives a shit about them.  In fact, you will note that all the teachers with assignments are being directed to attend summer seminars or discussions or whatever so they will be well informed about the new lemon-fresh evaluation system aka ADVANCE (see Game of the Name). Well, I didn't get an invitation to go anywhere and I suspect that other members of  "le club ATR" didn't get an invite either.  So what does that tell me? Not only am I supposed to search for an assignment, I am supposed to do this knowing full well that I will not get a permanent assignment - and their (DOE) knowing this in advance is a good reason not to invite the army of the ATR to these mandatory and, I am sure, illuminating seminars. WHY IS IT A GOOD REASON? BECAUSE THERE IS NO CHANCE IN HELL YOU ARE GOING TO GET HIRED. That said, it is my understanding that the ATR is exempt from the ADVANCE onslaught and instead will be evaluated as in the past with the S/U rating as pointless as it is for the ATR.  I guess there is some comfort in that exemption and, in a way, it will afford an astute observer from the ATR a pretty good overview of how this ADVANCE is being handled in various schools. But, I imagine that can only last so long.  The true purpose of the ATR is to force retirement on experienced teachers.  And this tactic is only a small part of the larger assault on public education.  This is no mystery and anyone who reads the real teacher generated blogs knows full well how this country is being steered to a two tiered education system and how big bucks is drooling over the money making potential of the educational/industrial complex.

I have always felt that the opinions of people who have a stake in the matter are somewhat more relevant than those who just chime in from the outside.  As a teacher I felt I had some stake in the way children are educated and though I do not expect to be in front of a Smartboard in September, I still have an invested interest in education in this country. As Dicken's wrote, " It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...", and any teacher entering the profession will have serious issues to contend with and the repercussions of their decision will determine much of the future for our country.  For me, well, XtraNormal is going off-line at the end of July.  If they come back, then maybe so will I.