Sunday, September 15, 2019

Oversized Classes, Free Donuts and Prostitutes

Every year I report oversized classes to the union. We do this in September and February. There's a process, and it's been slightly revised for schools like ours that are chronically in violation. As a matter of course, we report class sizes days 1, 6, and 10. Under the new agreement, if they aren't resolved by day 10 it goes to the superintendent days 14 and 19. I suppose this gives principals some incentive to actually do what's necessary to fix things. At least I hope so.

Last February, for the first time in my memory, we came into compliance and had no oversized classes. However, there's still the possibility of not doing so. In that case, we're asked what we want in lieu of reasonable class sizes. In the past, we've gotten things like relief from C6 assignments one day a week. Other schools got relief from C6 one day for each class that was oversized, or relief from C6 the entire week. The logic of arbitrators eludes me, and consistency doesn't appear to be a concern.

Summer 2018 during contract negotiations, I told the DOE that I'd taught classes of 50 and over. The DOE reps didn't care. I told them that the "action plans" they devised were ridiculous, and that if I had an oversized class, I needed support right there in the classroom. The only thing one free period could be good for was possibly going to therapy to deal with the stress the oversized classes caused me.

Last week, when my district rep. asked me what I wanted if we couldn't solve the issue of oversized classes, I told him I wanted $50 per extra student per day per oversized class, and also free donuts and prostitutes in the teacher lounges. He said he'd rather not ask for free prostitutes. Now I understand that we are union, and that we support working people. I never suggested anything about the DOE not paying them. This notwithstanding, he seemed to have other objections as well.

I brought my proposal to my department. At first they asked whether there would be both male and female prostitutes, and I said yes, of course. Though I'd answered that question to their satisfaction, they too seemed to have other objections. You just can't please everyone. Still, they seemed to agree with the district rep. for some reason, and began proposing alternate demands.

One said it would be really nice to have a licensed massage therapist or two in the office between classes. After a tough period dealing with the relatively impossible task of trying to teach over 34 teenagers at a time, it would be nice to stretch out and have someone sooth your highly stressed body. Put everything out of your mind and just feel those magic fingers. Of course we'd need space to lie down, so there's a memo to school construction. I'm not sure how viable that is.

Another asked for bubble baths and spa treatments. Now, as a guy, I'm not really familiar with what a spa treatment is. We hyper-macho type guys don't usually go in for that stuff. But all the women seem to think they are pretty cool, so I have to respect their experience. Again, there is that space issue, so I'm not sure how viable it is.

One of my colleagues suggested we install chocolate fountains in the department offices, to be stocked with fresh fruit. Personally I'm not eating sugar lately, but I'd respect that if it makes everyone happy. They also demanded marshmallows, and not those little ones either. However, our building is teeming with mice and having a lot of chocolate in the offices could exacerbate that issue. On the positive side, it might not take up a lot of space.

Another colleague chimed in and said we could adjust the plumbing to reflect hot, cold, and a nice Chianti. After all, if it's good enough for Hannibal Lecter, why not provide it for hardworking school teachers? Of course this would only be for staff. Students would have to rough it and buy Boone's Farm to drink in the woods, like we had to do when we were teenagers. We can't just hand them everything, you know.

Sure, you'll say, the district rep. and my colleagues are right. It's distasteful for working teachers to run around demanding that prostitutes be provided in public schools. Maybe I should be written up on page six of the tabloids for making such insane demands. To that I say you're absolutely right. Who the hell do I think I am, making such demands? They are ridiculous.

In my meager defense, all I can say is my demands are no more ridiculous than those of the DOE. 34 is already the highest class size in the state. There's been a successful lawsuit demanding they be reduced, which the geniuses in Albany, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to simply ignore.

Do you also deem my demands ridiculous? Would you like me to be more reasonable? Fine. Then tell DOE to stop demanding that my colleagues and I teach classes of over 34. Demand they do their jobs and fix the frigging class sizes. Stop kowtowing to Eva Moskowitz and start helping the overwhelming majority of New York City's children. That's what we pay them for, whether or not they know or care.
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