Monday, October 03, 2005

Pissed off

I didn't start off that way.

I got to sleep in an hour, and spend most of the school day at an orientation meeting for a thing I'm going to be coordinating this year. It was relaxing, an easy day, and it got me excited to start the project.

(Except, can I just say? I cannot STAND ice-breakers, warm-ups, motivations, or any of that childish, stupid, Piagetian (? I'm sure it's rooted in somebody's psych theory) bullshit. We are ADULTS. Just start the goddamn meeting already; no need for soft, hippie, touchy-feely introductions. GRR!)

I arrived at school in plenty of time for last period, which I'd agreed to come back and 'teach.'

Now, on Friday, I stayed after school organizing my room and getting things ready for today, for the people who would be taking over my classes. I cleared the clutter off my desk, wrote out specific directions for the day (to let the students do their daily routines of entering and collecting homework, then have the classes take the language assessment test that I haven't been able to administer yet due to time constraints.), put them in a binder, put a clear sign on the binder saying "Ms C's Sub Folder," and laid that neatly in the center of the pretty desk. Perfect, appropriate, etc, right?


I walked in to Class 1, just in time to see a ball of paper fly from one table to the next. Thus, before I could even say hello to the students, I had to fucking yell at them for misbehaving. Then they were all talky and loud, just to take the test, so I made them get up and re-enter the right way, because apparently they forgot how my classroom works.

When I walked to my desk, I immediately saw the neat pile of tests, just the way I had left them on my desk on Friday. Blank. Turn around: no homework in the bins. No worries, it's only their new drafts of stories that I need to grade for the fucking bulletin board.

Fuck. Are you kidding me?

The three subs couldn't be bothered to read the specific directions I wrote out and left in a SUB FOLDER?? I know that it's a pain to cover classes. I know that teachers only very rarely prepare anything for the class, and that when I go in, I bring something to do.

But hello?! It was ON THE DESK. LABELED. It was so fucking easy, too! All they had to do was READ THE DIRECTIONS, pass out the tests, and chill out while the kids completed them. If there was extra time, I said they could color some bookmarks that I've also been meaning to do for the last six weeks. I made the covering teachers' job as easy as fucking possible, and they outright IGNORED it. THREE different people!

This (obviously) really irritated me. I found it extremely rude and irresponsible. I don't understand how people can be like that.

After a boring/slightly pointless and overlong staff meeting, I came home and watched some tv. I perked up and paid attention to the news--the mayor and the UFT have agreed on a contract. It's clearly not the same one as the fact-finding report, which could be great. And we don't have to worry about a strike and the Taylor Law, which docks us two days' pay for each day struck. So that part is a relief for all of us, since we're poor.

However, here's yet another thing that pissed me off. In the press conference, the mayor insisted that "politics had nothing to do with it. We obviously wanted it done as soon as possible." They showed a couple random comments from New Yorkers, and one woman was like, "Well, that's good because we want teachers to be happy."

Holy fuck, are you kidding? Who said we're happy?

One--"As soon as possible??" Do you REALLY want to go there, Mr Mayor? It's TWO YEARS OVERDUE. Shut the fuck up. 'No politics' my ass.

Two--I'm waiting to hear about Circular 6. That's the thing that, up to now, has protected teachers from having to do lunch duty and hall patrol and other non-teacher things. The fact-finding report would have tossed that out the window.

Also, I'm very anxious to hear about the coverages thing, if they're gonna still make us do a bunch of them for free. The UFT and Edwize have not yet posted details about this new contract on the site, so I guess I'll keep looking til they're up.

Three--The raise is 15% over FOUR years. That's 3.75% per year. BUT! We have the extra ten minutes a day, plus three more DAYS to the school year. If we have to teach in goddamn July, my ass is out of here. I'm assuming the days will be teacher "training" days before Labor Day, like the report offered. (Gee, thanks.) So this is NOT a raise. This is more work. Since teachers don't do anything anyway. We're obviously not worth our salaries.

Mr. Bloomberg estimated that the contract would cost the city $350 million in fiscal year 2006 and $650 million to $750 million in subsequent years. "But remember, you are getting a lot more teaching time for it," he said.

You know what? Fuck you, too, mayor.


Fred said...

My, my. Someone's a little testy about the whole thing. :)

C'mon down to Florida. You won't make much, but we have no state income tax and the weather is great. (Except for those pesky hurricanes.)

your math teacher said...

However, here's yet another thing that pissed me off. In the press conference, the mayor insisted that "politics had nothing to do with it. We obviously wanted it done as soon as possible." They showed a couple random comments from New Yorkers, and one woman was like, "Well, that's good because we want teachers to be happy."

Holy fuck, are you kidding? Who said we're happy?
One--"As soon as possible??" Do you REALLY want to go there, Mr Mayor? It's TWO YEARS OVERDUE. Shut the fuck up. 'No politics' my ass.

Your post cracked me up. Did you see Klein and Weingarten at the press conference on the news? Klein said that Weingarten refused to hug him until teachers got a new contract so during the press conference, he was like I'm here to collect my hug and then he gave Randi a little squeeze. Randi looked so funny, she was like eww...

Also, they interviewed some students at Stuyvesant HS and they were like relieved because they thought that it meant teachers would focus more on teaching and not so much on the contract. I was irritated at the way the student implied that teachers were so preoccupied with the contract that we were not focusing on our jobs. WTF!

Anyway, there are some subs that are really good and some that just suck a$$. I like the ones that leave you detailed notes about what the class did or didn't do. The good ones get the names of all the kids that didn't do their work.

What sucks about the new contract is that we pretty much lost on all issues from the perb report, except for the coverages.

We can't grieve letters to our file, the principal may assign us to potty patrol if need arises (gee wiz, that's very arbitrary), senority transfers are gone, we have to extend our school day by 10 minutes in addition to the 20 from the last contract, and we have 3 extra PD days (2 before Labor Day, and 1 on Brooklyn-Queens Day).

What do we get in return for all this? For newer teachers (those with less than 5 years in the system), we pretty much get a raw deal. If you started in Sept 2002, you'll get a back pay of $2819, which is really only $1900 after taxes. The other 5.5% isn't effective until Nov 2005, and the final 3.25% isn't effective until Oct 2006.

I would rather have had no raise than to have all these givebacks. You're right, this is NOT a raise. I hope this new contract isn't ratified in November. Uggh.

NYC Educator said...

You have every right to be angry, and you have every right to vote no.

I'll be doing that too.

Ms. M said...

That is very frustrating with the sub situation. Especially when you put so much time and effort into making sure that things ran smoothly. You would think that the sub would appreciate the fact that you prepared something.

17 more years said...

Loved the part of your posting about the sub. I have long since given up leaving sub plans, because 9 times out of 10, they screw them up anyway. Hell, when I was subbing, I always brought things for the kids to do- remember, they ARE getting paid.

As for what I'll loosely refer to as a "contract agreement" I hope that everyone doesn't lose the anger they are feeling right now when it comes time to vote. I don't know of ANYONE who wants this (oh wait- I take that back- I do know one guy 2 years from retirement, who has no life- he thinks it's swell).

Please, spread the word that we should remember how we feel today when it comes time to vote- and JUST SAY NO!

NYC Educator said...

Actually, I know a few people on the UFT Executive Board who are planning to retire this year, and thus have no qualms with this new contract.

When I responded to a UFT hack on Edwize extolling the merits of this pact, she accused me of not having compassion for younger teachers, since the UFT, at that time, had chosen not to take raises for senior members at the expense of newbies.

I replied that I advocated no such thing, and that this contract would victimize all union members, regardless of seniority. Interestingly enough, despite their noble pretenses, UFT management has seen fit to limit the increases of new teachers to 9%.

So much for principle.

Anonymous said...

I had to go to the ICE site to learn more about the contract. There was also another blog I visited that gave out Randi's email. She was nice enough to write back to me and insisted that due to the political climate, she came up with the best deal. I didn't want to be mean to her and tell her that her decisions over the past few years led to this contract. (Staff Development Mondays, Backing the control of the Board to the Mayor, Not backing McCall for Governor, Backing the SBO transfer plan over senority rights, etc. etc.

As for your deal with subs, welcome to the club.

PS: What's the deal with the word verification when you post a message? Some of these letters look Greek to me.

Anonymous said...

Randi and I have had several emails back and forth since yesterday...she still insists that its the best deal she could get. Bull! What she never talks about is that its not a raise, merely compensation for extra time. And when they keep talking about equity to surrounding districts, they never talk about the fact that surrounding districts (on long island)all finish the friday before we do in june and that they also get 2 extra days off on memorial day weekend if they don't use all of their snow days. Yes, those snow days that we never get because we're too busy feeding most of the cities kids. Even when Guiliani closed the city back in 2000 (?) he stood there and preached to everyone that "the weather was terrible and noone should go out unless absolutely necessary and the city was closed--however the city schools will be opened!" We've never had equity to the surrounding districts and with the UFT leadership and political leadership currently in play,, we never will. What the public doesn't realize is that we are not getting a raise, nor did we really get 15% the last time. We got a 9% raise and 6% pay for more time. It's the same situation now...we're getting 3% for the extra 10 minutes, probably something in the vicinity of 2-3% for the extra 3 days..which leaves us with a 'raise' of 9-10% for 4.25 years...that relates to 2.25% per year....WE could have gotten that deal without any givebacks. I strongly hope that the membership does not ratify this lousy deal, although they'll probably stuff the ballot boxes as they always do. Then they'll stand up and say how it was overwhelmingly received!!! what bullshit! What we really need is new leadership!!!

Anonymous said...

It looks like I may be returning to the business world. The day is going to be from 8:30 to 3:40. I am in by 8am getting ready and usually leave at 3:15 when I am done with dismissal and the classroom. The Mayor has us working 9-5 jobs and before you know it we will be down to two weeks vacation and no union. Vote NO! with all honesty it doesn't look like it is going to matter. I don't know a single teacher who is for this contract yet watch it pass with 90% approval. It's like magic! What it is, is BULLSHIT!