SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: How To Succeed In Teaching For The NYC DOE

Friday, May 27, 2011

How To Succeed In Teaching For The NYC DOE

Oh wow. I have had a rough week. But, during this week I did quite a bit of thinking. One thing I have thought about is giving up the fight. I really take it to heart, and to my gut when I see what is becoming of education. Every time I read something, or see something about how students are being used, how teachers are being mistreated just gets to me and actually gets me down. I want so out of working for the DOE at times I called a friend of mine that is opening a charter and told him if he can offer me what I am making now I am his.

I am also still shook up about my friend Stu Schmelz passing away. I am not, will not die for this job. I have a son, who will be 10 next month to be there for. Stu had so much more living to do, so much more life to enjoy and as far as I am concerned this job, this dysfunction that is the NYC DOE will not kill me, will not tear my family apart.

So I gave it a lot of thought. I looked inward. What can I, or anyone do to improve as a teacher? But, more importantly, how can I, or anyone improve my lot with the DOE? I even consulted with the crack team here at SBSB and we brainstormed over many a night this week. Since, the crack team and myself are in the elementary branch of education, we have come up with a primer on, "How to Succeed in Elementary Education in the NYC DOE."

Pucker Up

Yep, kiss ass. Kiss lots of it. Hitch your lips to an administrators of your choice buttocks and keep it there. This will entail going to Costco and buying a years supply of Chapstick, but what the hell. The money spent on the lip balm will surely soothe those pucked up lips. Do whatever demeaning task you are asked to do, allow your administrator to willfully ignore the contract. Become a drone. This will help lead to success.

Think Like A Chef

So much of what a chef does is not just making great food, but it is all about the presentation. Kids aren't learning? Hell, who cares? Have a beautiful bulletin board, have pretty and nice charts hanging from all over your room. Have a nice word wall, a carpet, a chair that says "Author's Chair." When those guests walk in from the network, all they will see is all this pageantry and say nice things about you. To hell if your kids are learning, everything looks nice.

Just an aside from the above. In my first school we had a teacher who could not teach. Her kids made no progress, she shouted and berated the students constantly, she grabbed and pulled. But guess what? Her bulletin board was exquisite. So exquisite her class was moved to the ground floor next to the office so the big shots would notice it first when they arrived.

Tuck It Under

Nothing says, "I want to succeed in elementary education" if you happen to be a male, like actually tucking it under. Yes, it might be uncomfortable at first, but I am sure one can get used to it. Once it is tucked under than that anti-male bias will subside and that male elementary teacher will be more accepted by the rest of the staff.


Become a card carrying member of the Liberal Party. Stop insisting that families and students have some form of personal responsibility. Blame the "ills of society," instead of the student for the thrice weekly tantrum and chair throwing.

Be An Ostrich

When you see a problem in your school, take your head and hide it. Don't let it become your problem, let it be someone else's problem. If you a student smearing his doody on the bathroom wall, ignore it and wish the problem, and the doody goes away. Don't intercede with any student confrontation. Don't help out a teacher in need with lessons, or classroom management. Do it alone. Hide from the issues. Always use these words; "It's not my problem."

Carry A Serrated Knife

This will help with the backstabbing. A serrated knife will leave more collateral damage to the victim's back.

The School Yenta

A teacher just got a U on an observation and you found out? Broadcast it through the school. Get your bell out and go up and down the halls during your prep and let everyone know. A teacher is being investigated for corporal punishment? Send out a newsletter. In fact, broadcast and share all your knowledge of each teacher's foibles in your school while forgetting your own.

While you are at it, don't forget to run to your favorite administrator and report any and all teachers are not following protocol, Chancellor's Regulations, or anything else that you can conjure up in  your head. In fact creativity is a must! Make something up if it is not there.

If these seven steps are followed you will find success and gratitude in the NYC DOE.


Anonymous said...

These tips are the story of my life and exactly how I was treated (or mistreated) in my former school. Spies ratting on teachers left and right, all the administration cared about was decorating a 'classroom door' (for the lower grades only) and have fun-PR parties for certain national holidays to bring in the parents for the lower grades.
As I have said already, its the story of my life.

harvey said...

So true. I've actually had to retrain myself (25 years in the system) in the last 10 years to be an ostrich. 'Back in the day' in the Bronx our mantra was "Security is everyone's concern". Now it's don't report anything b/c then an admin might have to do something about the situation! P.S. if you really want to have fun report a violation on DOE e-mail Big brother is watching and admin freaks when it's in writing.

David Greene said...

Great piece. The irony is that this could have been written in 1970, when I started. Why is it that some things, and people, stay the same? There's a reason lots of teachers in NYC then and now get ragged on: those all too common traits.

Pissedoffteacher said...

The best advice was that of becoming an ostrich. It is the best way to survive.

Anonymous said...

If you want your stated goal of becoming a better teacher to be taken seriously, you might try mastering some grammar basics, eg how to form the possessive case, then concentrate on including more actual content than just generalized, puerile hand-wringing.

Pete Zucker said...

^^^^I love it when you post here Ruben. Thank you so much. Isn't it ironic that I allow not only anonymous comments, but attacks on me as well? You really are pushing your luck little man, aren't you?

Marian the 20 Year Veteran in Brooklyn said...

This is so, so true, and as sad as it is wryly funny.

abused teacher said...

Great Piece!!! LMAO!!! But can we add act as court stenographer in UFT meetings and report immediately back to administration. Also, do not ever mention that you have a right to something, like a duty free lunch.