Thursday, April 22, 2021

UPDATE!! God's Favorite Teacher Has Me Exiled

 I should've put an update on my blog post of February 11 concerning the dressing down I received from God's Favorite Teacher as well as her mental meltdown on Google Meets. But, with the events of what has transpired the last several weeks and my introducing of The Scheduler in yesterday's post, I think the time is right for that update.

As I mentioned yesterday, I received an email the evening of February 21 from The Scheduler instructing me to cover a 4th teacher who was to be out for bereavement beginning Feb 22. The day we got back from Mid Winter Break.

My spidey sense tingled. I knew something was up. And I was proved correct at a Meets meeting with The Scheduler that morning of the Feb 22. I was told that once the teacher came back from bereavement I would stay with the class and give the teacher "support and to assist in test prep."

Back then I knew there weren't going to be any tests, or at least not testing as we know it. But support? The class I was transferred to has nine students! The class I was being forced out of has over twenty five! Who needed the support? The extra body? There are three teachers (then), and a one to one para. Two of us are general ed. and God's Favorite Teacher is special ed. and the para is there for language. We split the class in three. Easy peasy. That is until God's Favorite Teacher decided that she couldn't handle seven students. God's Favorite Teacher wanted me out. And she wanted the para.

So in the meeting I asked The Scheduler (Sounds like a villain from Batman. "Schedule me this Caped Crusader!) why I was being moved and she kept on returning to the party line that the class needed support. 

I tried a different approach. "But don't the students that I have been working with for several months and have established a good relationship with me deserve continuity?" The same party line was regurgitated. 

I tried yet another approach. "How is it beneficial for students to go from a small group to a much larger group?" Again, the party line.

I tried one more approach. "How does this benefit the student (with the para) being moved to a lesser ability group from the top level group?" Again, the party line.

What lesson do we learn from this? That when we hear "students first, always" and other inane crap like that it's bullshit. It means nothing. It's empty words. 

It also shows that the way to get ahead, the way to get what you want is to shove yourself as far as possible up the rectum of an administrator. Too many live there and die there. How do they look themselves in the mirror?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Wheels of the UFT Bus Go Thump Thump Thump

Boy, do I feel like a schmuck. I tried to thread a needle. It didn't work. The UFT, the union to whom I give $120 of my hard earned money to dropped the ball. And I am about to get screwed for it. 

Now to clear things up, this isn't a blog post against anyone at 52 Broadway or a chapter leader. Let's just say it has more of a local flavor. 

This synchronous vs asynchronous learning is awash in ambiguity. No one really knows it seems what the guidelines are or aren't. We should expect the administrators to be clueless but not the UFT.

Our story begins on February 22 right after this incident (And boy do I have something more to say!!). A teacher was to be out a week, and I was to cover her 4th grade class. OK, no problem. Up to that time I was teaching with two other teachers. We had 27 students or so and we split them up and we went straight from 8:50-Noon. The students had lunch, and we were asynchronous for the rest of the day. Work would be put up on Google Classroom, and we would be available through Dojo, text, email, GC, etc... In fact at a meeting, the principal had no problem with the schedule. 

So on the Feb 22 when my first day with this class I adhered what I knew. I did 179 minutes. I assumed the rest of my day was asynchronous. No, I was told. In the afternoon I was told that I must be sitting in front of the computer with Meets on and to wait for students to come by if they needed help. After 30 minutes of staring at my face and with my thumb up my ass, I decided to give up and plan for the next day.

NO! I was told, and I met with said person to hash out a schedule. I was told that my asynchronous time was to be concurrent whilst on screen whilst the students are doing their independent work on screen. Not only that, after teaching synchronously for 190 minutes that I must meet afterwards in small groups with students. But, I thought, there are only 9 students in the class. Isn't that already a small group?

At this point I decided to contact the local higher up the food chain UFT. I was told that yes, admins can make you do small groups during your asynchronous time. "Wait!" I said. I have already taught 190 minutes. For 4th grade in February it is recommended that synchronous time should be between 150-210 minutes. Aren't I already doing that I ask? No, I am told by the local higher up the food chain UFT. That is recommended only for students. But if it is only recommended for students would not a teachers screen time be equal to the same screen time as the students? Here is the document I get  referred to all the freaking time. Said document appears contradictory to what I was being told. 

While we are at it, I had been under the assumption that remote teachers can set their schedule in consultation with admins. I was told I was incorrect (Someone care to clarify?). But, about 15 minutes ago I came across this.

Working remotely necessitates using time differently from a traditional period by period school day. 

In consultation with school administration, school staff must use professional discretion to determine how to work remotely.

My scheduler foisted my schedule upon me. My schedule gave me periods. One, two, three, and so on. What gives?

So off I go to my local upper echelon UFT. Yes, I am told, asynchronous means working live with small groups. I go to my CL. Nothing against CL, but the CL was getting bad information.

I go way up the food chain. I'm told something completely different. In fact the opposite. That asynchronous means you don't have to be on screen that you just be available. Oh, and that the UFT has been successful in complaints regarding this. 

A light bulb moment!! I go back to the local upper echelon UFT. "Let's file an operational complaint!" I was told to go back to my CL. But the tone I got was less than enthusiastic. I put it off.

But in the meantime, the teacher I was covering came back. She had a routine and I guess a schedule and I followed her lead. She did the reading and the math and I covered the writing. But, we had different schedules. I assumed, because my scheduler never said the schedule was for the remainder of the year that the original was null and void. I must work with my co-teachers schedule.

It made sense. The scheduler had me working in small groups from Noon-1:30, however the students had lunch at Noon. That wouldn't work.

So back to the UFT.

I even went as far as having an exec board member ask Mulgrew to clarify synchronous and asynchronous at the March 22 exec board meeting. No dice. Got a twelve word answer.

Finally Saturday night I got the answer I was looking for. But it was too late. Had a meeting with the scheduler and my CL today (I will get into more details about this another time). If the UFT wish to be proactive this could have been taken care of in February or early March.

Or it could have been taken care of if I was one of the callers picked by Rashard during a DA or town hall. I don't have that kind of juice.

I always say I would rather have a dysfunctional union than no union, and I still stand by that. I still stand by paying dues. But the UFT is still acts in a reactive manor instead of grabbing the bull by the balls and not letting go. I am sure I am not the only teacher looking for clarification about synch and asynch. 

The  UFT works for the rank and file not the other way around. We are the customer. Treat as if we are important. It's amazingly simple.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Stephanie Edmonds and I Find Some Common Ground


I have a history on these pages of disrupting (pardon the pun) of Class Disruption's and openschools advocate Stephanie Edmonds.

Last night I was warmly welcomed by Stephanie on her video podcast I guess to clear the air, find common ground if possible, and any disagreements at least remain civil.

I started the podcast by apologizing to her for a post I wrote in January of basically accusing her of being a raging anti-Semite. Stephanie graciously accepted and I deleted the post. However,I shared with her that I think it was not right to compare students staying home from school to the Holocaust.

So anyway, I am linking to the video below (for some reason the embedding code is not working properly). I enjoyed myself and look forward to doing this again . 

Just to give viewers a heads up. There were some technical glitches last night. Be patient. 


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Upper West Side Mommies Sue to Reopen Schools

Those "open the schools" folks are starting to bore me. 

According to today's New York Post, three Upper West Side mommies (Allison Weinger, Natalya Murakhver, and Stephanie Kokinos ) put word through Go Fund me to raise $20k for a
lawyer to take the DOE to court to force schools to go 100% in person. As of yesterday, April 9, the mommies have raised the money and hired a lawyer. They go to court on Monday, April 12. 

Sadly, these mommies haven't a clue. 

It seems they have become frustrated at the fact that they have become frustrated "after striking out with rallies and other measures to return kids to school full time."

That is simple. Because no one cares what they think. They think there is some kind of movement out there to reopen schools. Yes, it would be great for schools to reopen, but many don't trust the NYC DOE and many parents are still fearful of a complete return to in person learning. They've been led astray by a small, but vocal cabal on social media that believes it has the wind at its back. Let's not forget that these mommies truly do not represent the majority of the demographic of the NYC DOE's population. 

“What’s been horrifying to me is to realize that this city is not putting its children first,” Murakhver said. “The union is the only one at the table with the mayor. The mayor almost seeks approval from the union to make any changes.”

The city has never ever put the children first. This is a surprise? And yes, the mayor must get an agreement from the UFT. It's called collective bargaining. But the UFT did agree to the new rules. The UFT didn't want any more teacher deaths. Is that OK?

Murakhver said teachers — who were eligible for vaccines earlier than most — should be fully vaccinated by now and belonged back in classrooms.

They should? Yeah, they should, but Ms Murakhver how do you know for sure? Is it possible that there are teachers that are afraid? Is it possible that some teachers won't receive the vaccination based on religious grounds? Maybe some who have not yet been able to make an appointment? And remember, it is not just teachers. There are plenty of other non pedagogues in a school as well.   

About 70 percent of New York City’s public school kids had been enrolled in remote instruction and, those in blended learning may only go in a few days a week.

Here's the thing. Seventy percent is almost three quarters of the students are remote. That means three quarters of families have decided that they want remote learning for their children. This is known as a super-duper majority. This past week families had until April 7 to opt back in. The deadline was extended to April 9. What does that tell you? From what I have heard only 40,000 students are coming back. That comes to 5.33%. Again, what is it these mommies do not understand? There is no groundswell. There is no hankering.

Now, as far in person/hybrid. Some schools are 5 days a week. Some aren't. A lot of it is based on how much space there is. Some classrooms are really teeny tiny.

 “It’s alienating and depressing,” Murakhver said. “Our kids are suffering.”

She said her two kids clamor to be back full time in their Upper West Side elementary school rather than the typical two days a week they go in now under the blended learning model.

Yeah, it sucks. But I know of students first hand that are THRIVING in remote learning. An SBSB groupie who is a remote teacher has told me of a student from a fractured background that has had trouble in school in the past is her star pupil this year. But blame the NYC DOE and not the UFT nor the teachers. It was the DOE that failed to plan. It was the mayor that failed to plan. 

Want to reopen 100% this year, right now? Do you realize the logistics of that? What a bigger mess it will cause? This isn't Bronxville with 800 students. This is New York City with over 1 million students. Think about it. 

Mom Stephanie Kokinos said, “It’s just impossible to make their little minds focus on something from a screen,” she said. “They just cannot learn efficiently through that route.” 

So work with your children. Be a parent! Sacrifice. Do you have any idea how some of our parents and/or grandparents sacrificed and what they gave up during WW II? 

But while we are on the subject of how their little minds can't focus Ms Kokinos, why not think of the children who at the age of 8 are in the role of parent to their younger siblings and have to still learn? Or the child who witnessed mommy getting beaten by her latest boyfriend? Or the apartment with only one light? Or the overcrowded apartment? These are what A LOT of the students have to deal with every day at home and have in person learning. Or the student that is bullied in school is now remote and doesn't have to worry about bullying. 

Gosh darn it! Think of others before you spew off ignorantly. 

Allison Weinger chortled in, “the kids are doing great at keeping masks on. Teachers are now vaccinated,” 

Read above.  

Does the world exist elsewhere for these mommies except in their own zip codes? Why are they so focused on themselves and not the parents of the South Bronx? East Harlem? Washington Heights? What do the MAJORITY of the parents wish for? I can guess, and it is nothing the mommies of the Upper West Side wish for. They are saying that their way is not only the right way, but the only way.

These mommies are saying, "what happens to our kids is only what matters. Damn all other opinions or viewpoints. That only they and they alone, take their children's education seriously. Well, it's time to they get out of the Upper West Side world and look around and meet reality. 

One more thing. I was told this by the SBSB consigliare. This virus is now going after the young ones. Why? Because all the old folk and the medically weak have been vaccinated. What left? The young ones. This is why I have been pushing my 19 year old son to get vaccinated. 

Want to be taken seriously. Get people of color on board and to be the voice. Not hard to find in New York City.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

The 2021 District 7 Follies: "ATR Treated Like Horses**t by Colleague"

According to what God's Favorite Teacher says and how what she believes, the children scholars always come first. Except when when God is speaking through God's Favorite Teacher and then all bets are off. 

First, some background.

I am teaching remotely. It's myself with two other teachers and a darn good para. We split the class into three groups. I have the highest, and there is a middle, and the lowest. The lowest group are students with lowest reading levels with a few having IEP's. One student went from the middle group to my group. Now, God's Favorite Teacher wants to put student in her group because in her mind (As well as the Daily News in 2018) God proclaimed her the only human being on Earth with the ability to teach special ed. 

I texted unto her, "Just a  minute there God's Favorite Teacher! On whose authority is this being done? Should we not check with the parent and the administration?" I was met with silence. 

Now I am a firm believer that the cream rises to the top.Yeah, this student's reading level was a bit off, but gosh darn it, look what the frig has been happening the last year!

You play to the level of your competition. I do believe that if you put a weaker student with other strong students that weaker student will improve and equal the strong students. But it works in reverse. I saw this with my son when he played baseball. Most of time when he and team played weaker teams they looked like the 1962 Mets. When they played stronger teams they looked like the Yankees of any era. 

So God's Favorite Teacher asked summoned me to meet with her the next day at 8:20 AM. Fine I said. I was in for a rude awakening. 

At our Meets meeting, she undid the shackles of believing that she was God's Favorite Teacher, but came to believe she was God herself. Exhorting me from an imaginary pulpit from on high. When I said to her that she is not God and only God himself, or Moses, can talk to me that way she; LOST HER SHIT! Seriously! Lost. Her. Fucking. Shit.

But soon the meeting somehow returned to normal. And I was being showered with the Fontes and Parnell reading scores and everything of every students except for one students. I kept asking why, why, am I seeing others other than the one student.

But then she stopped holding back and reminded me of what she actually thinks of me. 

"You are an ATR. Your job is only to support what myself and the other teacher want!!!"

I said, "Exceese me? Says, who?"

She blabbered, "Sayeth the administration!!!"

I proclaimed, "Let's hear it from them."

She called for back up to the really cool AP who I was able to tell didn't give a shit about her insane inanity. 

She returned.

"We are here in this school for good. We have to get rated. You don't!!!" she wailed from on high. 

"I do get rated."

"We have to be here next year, you won't be here next year. We care about the students!!!"

"So do I. And who says I won't be here next year?" 

"I know!!!!"

So good to know how a colleague of mine feels about ATRs. Guess what? She was thisclose to being one once. 

I have been an ATR since December 2015. I have been called the sub, the ATR, other things, more of ignorance than insensitivity. I have had maybe one teacher give me the proverbial middle finger in the last five years. 

I know of one SBSB groupie that goes out of her way to treat ATRs well. She has always welcomed ATRs into her classroom and offers them a place for their stuff. She does what she can. I can attest personally to others who have gone out of their way to assist and make me feel at home. 

We are in this together. No teacher outranks another teacher (though some might think they do). As for as I am concerned, you don't rat out another teacher, you don't treat others like shit, you're good. 

Some teachers need to say,"there but for the grace of God go I." Think about it. We're all one step away from losing our job or becoming an ATR. Even if you think you were put on this Earth to teach by God.

How dare God's Favorite Teacher treat me, or any teacher like this? How dare God's Favorite Teacher not truly put the best interests of a students over her own? How dare God's Favorite Teacher walk around as if her fecal matter doesn't give off an odor? 

Times are tough. We are in this together. It's worse on the students. God's Favorite Teacher doesn't need to have a complete meltdown on Meets. 

God's Favorite Teacher needs to learn humility.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Crack Team at SBSB Solves the Teacher Evaluation Problem

Yay! There was a delegate assembly yesterday. I was smart. I didn't try to ask any questions. But the pattern persists. Most, if not all, of those asking the questions tend to be chapter leaders.

But during Mulgrew's opening remarks he briefly touched on the state of the evaluation negotiations. Same as last month and nothing new.

"We have to have an evaluation system done by this month, but we are getting nowhere with the DOE. People with the DOE we are negotiating with are in la-la land. We need a scientifically tested system to work with. DOE asking for ridiculous things. Our committee has met. There has to be a MOSL. We have to figure that out."

The Crack Team has gone ahead and figured out a way to solve this problem. If the UFT decides to use what is known as The Crack Team Official Evaluation and Pro-Am© Teacher Evaluation Method. We here at SBSB ask for a small honorarium and the promise, to sponsor a golf outing this coming on a Monday in August at Winged Foot. 

Yes, we understand that in complicated times that deciding on an evaluation that must include MOSL can be complicated. So many factors are factored in.

Should teachers of remote learning be evaluated the same as in person teachers and vice versa? 

Is there an impact on students in schools that are closed, then opened, then closed, then opened, then closed? Does this not inhibit student learning?

What of remote students? Would a remote teacher get extra points for students having to learn on this piece of shit iPad minis vs students that have a laptop or a desktop? Does this not inhibit student learning?

Whilst on the subject of remote teachers, what of students with crappy internet connections? Does this not inhibit student learning?

For in person teachers, the lack of any real human contact and students sitting at their desks all gosh darn long day, how does that affect student learning?

What about fear? The fear that a loved one or themselves can come down with COVID does this not inhibit student learning?

I mean I can go on and on but I shan't. There are just too many ways that student learning is inhibited this school year.

And how once a system is in place would admins that are supposed to evaluate us be trained and properly competent to evaluate us? 

And since this evaluation system be in place by the end of January, observations will not start until March at the earliest. Is that fair?

Here is The Crack Team's plan. Simple and very inexpensive.

If on the day the administrator comes to observe, if every student in class, be it in person or remote, has a heartbeat, the teacher gets an S and a happy face sticker. This is the fairest method. 

Just an analogy, a poor one. Can Trevor Bauer be properly judged and warrant a $36 million a year contract off of his 2020 season of 11 starts? No. 

The Crack Team and myself will be awaiting word from the UFT.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Stephanie Edmonds of Bronx Law High School Agrees With Tweet Slamming Remote Teachers

About this remote teacher vs in person teacher thing happening, we need to be careful. Being home teaching is not all that it is cracked up to be. 

There are other people home, there are babies, there are other children, and pets that need attending. You don't get a real connection with your students. You really can't work one on one. I can go on. But remember this. There wouldn't be remote teachers if there weren't
remote students. Parents have made the choice that they don't feel the schools are safe for their students. That is their right. And it is our right as teachers that are susceptible to COVID to take the DOE up on its offer to teach from home. Heck, there might be even less remote teachers if the DOE had a real plan back in September. 

We don't need the New York Post to fan the flames. We don't need the ignorant politicians and neo-liberals to create shit storms. Worse, we don't need one of our own to knife teachers in the back.

 We don't need a 4th year non tenured teacher with a fake Bronx accent throwing teachers under the bus.

The Crack Team found this tweet by Stephanie Edmonds (@classdisrupti0n) of Bronx Law High School at the Theodore Roosevelt Campus in the Bronx. Let's have a look see.I believe this tweet was on or around December 12.

Wow! So Stephanie agrees that we, I would assume the rank and file of the UFT, are privileged? Privileged how Stephanie? Privileged like having everything handed to us? Privileged having grown up in one of the toniest areas of Fairfield County? Privileged to go to an exclusive boarding school for high school? Please, explain. We don't understand. Most of us were only born with a plastic spork in our mouths. We don't have yachts on Long Island Sound.

As for as I know, I, and every single remote teacher is doing their ACTUAL job. You're doing your ACTUAL job too. You are remote. Are you better than us? Know more than us? We're in the same boat. But I am sure you're still looking down your nose at "the remote teachers." 

Denial? Excuses? What am I in denial of? What are other remote teachers in denial of? I'm not denying that this situation is rough for all involved. That it would have been better to have had a plan had its genesis back in March. I, nor my union brothers and sisters, are unable to control the incompetency of Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Carranza.

Are we (and again to be sure we are talking about remote teachers) making excuses for remote teaching? Stephanie, answer this question. I spoke to a colleague over the weekend I had taught with back in 2003. Our children used to play together. She is remote. Why? Her daughter, the same age as my son, has cancer. When one has cancer the immune system tends to get messed up. My friend sought, and received, an accommodation (thanks to UFT Solidarity and Bryan Glass) so she would not have to worry about being in a school or the Bronx. Avoiding a situation in which she could catch COVID and, God forbid, infect her daughter. 

Speaking for myself, I am type 2 diabetic. My BMI is where it should be as is my A1C. But I am 56, and for some weird reason don't wish to die due to COVID. Maybe if I was 30 years old I might think differently. But I am not.

Deflection and blame? Again Stephanie, (check your scorecard, we are still talking about remote teachers) what is it we are deflecting? Explain yourself. Who are we blaming? I've been with the DOE 25 years. There is incompetency all around. I'll blame De Blasio and Carranza. Try your know it all energy on these two dunces.

Yeah, the UFT has been wishy washy and inconsistent, but the mayor and the chancellor are the ultimate fartheads. 

You know Stephanie, when I started teaching I was told to keep my mouth shut and my ears open. Sadly, it's been the opposite for you. Perhaps you should concentrate on teaching instead of what you think is a quasi-media empire on You Tube.

Want to curse the union all you want? Go right ahead I'll be there supporting you. But attacking teachers, your union brothers and sisters, your colleagues, on social media that's just wrong. Do it privately. 

But what's most disturbing is this attitude you have of knowing it all. You know jack. You are in a situation you never were in before. You think you are "down" with your students? Think about what they are saying about you in Spanish. 

Don't think you have cred because you believe you teach in the South Bronx and are the reincarnation of Mr Kotter. You're not. Remember this from September...?

You do not teach in the Boggie Down Bronx unless you teach in the South Bronx. But Damn! There it goes again!! People coming in and changing things!

You're on Fordham Rd. That is not the Boogie Down Bronx. 

Lastly, Stephanie, get rid of the phony Bronx accent. You're from the country club set of Connecticut, you should sound like William Buckley

Would love to hear from remote teachers in the comments section. Please keep it unprofane and professional.