SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Helping Teachers That Need Help

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Helping Teachers That Need Help

My friend who I have written about recently (here and here) is now fighting for his career. His 3020-a hearing started recently and I hope and I pray that he comes out of the process keeping his job.

I have spent a lot of time with him on the phone, and in person, sharing the process, being another set of eyes with his paperwork, talking him off the ceiling, and helping in whatever he needs at that moment.

I have done this and will for anyone who asks.

But I am careful, as should anyone, that gives advice to any teacher in trouble. I have had to catch myself.

I am fighter. Not everyone is, can or will, fight back like me.

My friend was ready to quit. He set up a pension consultation and was going to retire. For a brief moment I was angry. How can you give up? "Fight back!" I was saying in my head. "Don't give into these fuckers!" 

But logic prevailed. It is not my fight it is his. I know exactly how he felt. I had my moments as well.

Yes, you can give advice about recording, FOIL, going to the press, screaming from the mountain top, but not everyone can or wants to do that. The best you can do when giving advice to a teacher in trouble is be there to listen, to give that teacher all their options available to them, and whatever that teacher chooses, be there to give your unconditional support.

I have seen first hand one teacher in particular that has gotten the wrong advice and basically has turned into a, well for lack of a better phrase, a certifiable basket case. He got caught completely radicalized and has dug himself deeper and deeper into the abyss where frankly, there is no escape.It's sad what has happened, very sad.

When helping that teacher in trouble we have to stay away from "should," "you must," and "you have to." This is not the fight of the person giving the advice but rather that of the teacher's.

When I went through the same not one person I spoke with told me what I must or have to do. I never heard the word should. I was given support. I had someone to listen to me. For that I am eternally grateful. These people are the true champions of teachers in trouble.

But it is not for me, nor anyone else, to project my belief system unto another teacher. I am nothing more than another system of support.