"What is an ATR (Absent Teacher Reserve)?" I get that a lot. Mainly from from newbie teachers. Sad that they don't know but can you blame them?
I try to explain it to them. One analogy that I wanted to try is we are like Clint Eastwood in Pale Rider or like his character the "Man With No Name" from his Spaghetti Westerns. You know going from town to town or school to school to clean up the mess and then leaves. But in this day and age sure enough someone would misinterpret this analogy as being a gunslinger and then automatically think I am advocating violence so it is better to not share that analogy.
But this is what I think being an ATR is akin to. Richard Kimble (played by David Janssen), from the TV series The Fugitive. Think about it.
As Richard Kimble went from town to town on the run so do we go from school to school more or less on the run. On the run from our past, from the school that had forsaken us.
As Richard Kimble arrives in a new town, he like us as we arrive in a new school, do not know anyone. We both have to adjust to the new surroundings. We both try to keep our pasts quiet.
As times goes on in our new school, we as Richard Kimble had, start feeling more comfortable and seek out and become friendly with a teacher or two. Usually a school outlier.
Richard Kimble, since he was a doctor, had to use his medical knowledge to help someone. We as ATR's use our knowledge of years as educators to help students.
Richard Kimble is an innocent man. He was falsely accused of a crime committed by someone else, the One Armed Man and searching for him to prove his innocence. We as ATR's feel we have been given the shaft by many a proverbial One Armed Man. We are hunting for someone to see past our salary, our past, and the years we have in so we can stop being on the run.
And just as Richard Kimble must leave when things are feeling good, when he is making progress because Lt. Gerard is now on his trail, so do we have to leave our schools when we make an attachment be it with a student, a community, or a school when the ATR Assignment people email us and tell us it is time to move on.
And like Richard Kimble we move on and start the whole thing over again.