SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: The Wheels of the UFT Bus Go Thump Thump Thump

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.


Anonymous said...

Peter, you and all UFT members work for the union, not the other way around. Your only purpose is to handover your hard earned cash. Also never complain and never ask for anything. I stopped paying dues the moment I legally could and I really felt it was an ethical, moral duty to do so. I know that that answer doesn’t make sense collectively, but on an individual level it does. I’m not sacrificing anything for Mulgrew and his lackeys, not even a dollar. I don’t really believe the Uft is a union. They are a doppelgänger of a union. It looks like a union, it smells like a union, but it’s not a union. Maybe it’s a duck and I no longer give a fuck. Don’t trust them with anything, especially promises. Maybe you’ll get an ERI and once you take it you’ll be worrying about how they’re going to trade away your healthcare or endanger your pension. They’re using classic business tactics under a classic business model and no one seems to have caught on. They are streamlining their operation to facilitate more income and less expenses. It’s going to get much uglier in the near future.

Anonymous said...

As long as we’re talking about taking your healthcare away, take a look at this petition and please sign. One day you may be the retiree who wants original Medicare, not the Medicare Advantage plan that the UFT and NYC forced on you after you’ve paid for real Medicare your whole working life.

Pete Zucker said...

@10:50 I already have age and years I doubt ERI is for me and besides I have kid in college.

@11:08 explain to me what exactly is Medicare Advantage

Anonymous said...

@Peter Zucker
Here you go, read all about it - what’s up next for Medicare eligible retirees. The UFT is not forthcoming about this. To think that they have resolutions opposing privatization of Medicare. Hope that you will sign the petition and forward it.