Friday, November 11, 2011

The Dignity Gap

Who thought it was a good idea to send ATR teachers from school to school from week to week? How does that help anyone? The stories I'm hearing and seeing would be beyond belief it it weren't for the fact that, under such an agreement, they were virtually inevitable.

A female ATR was instructed to do secretarial duties.  For those unfamiliar with the concept of contract (for example, the administrators who issued this instruction) secretarial duties are to be performed by secretaries. The teacher declined, saying she was a teacher and wanted to teach. The administrator's conclusion?

"This is why none of you guys are able to get a job."

How outrageous that a teacher would want to do her job. Another ATR was instructed to do hallway duty. He was upset, but the administrators insisted that the halls were a mess, and that they needed patrolling. The school looked to be in pretty bad shape. "Don't you have any kids who need tutoring?" asked the teacher.

Apparently not. Helping kids with academics was not the way this school wished to use teachers.

In my own school, an ATR teacher who cried to me the other day came to visit me. She actually thanked me for speaking to her, strongly suggesting there were people in other schools who did or would not.

Tell your colleagues, but for a whim of fate or a stroke of a pen, we are all ATRs. Should the UFT ever give up their contractual employment protections, you'd better believe that the DOE will make tens of thousands of ATRs, causing teacher jobs to be no more worthwhile than those in McDonald's or Walmart. That's the long-cherished goal of the "reformers" who monopolize our news media, and they will stop at nothing and leave no billion dollars behind to achieve it.

If you meet them, offer them the support they should be getting from everyone else. There, but for the grace of God and our own determination to prevail, goes each and every one of us.
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