The New York City Department Of Education (DOE), with the approval of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) have started a 1.5 million dollar program that will pay a $5,000 bonus and up to $400 a month rent subsidy for up to two years for math, science, & special education teachers who join the New York City school system. That is $14,600 to join the "smartest" (the DOE logo for NYC teachers). What a wonderful deal you think? I think not. First, you are placed in the "worst schools" and are committed to teach for a minimum of three years. Second, you will find that the average studio apartment in bad neighbourhoods in NYC is $1,000+ monthly and in the more desirable neighborhoods $2,000+! Third, be prepared to sleep on a friend's couch or on the streets and don't get sick because it can take up to six months to be put on the payroll. Finally, if you quit before the three years are up (and many do), be prepared to reinburse the City of New York for the bonus and housing subsidies. The program doesn't sound as good as you thought huh?
How about the classroom conditions you will encounter in the "worst schools" you will be assigned to? You will be given the most wonderful students. The ones who test well below average academically, who are disruptive, and disrespectful to adults, including teachers, and yes you! How about school discipline you say? Well the DOE does not enforce student discipline, you might hurt their self esteem. However, the DOE will go overboard and charge you with discipline infractions in a moment. You told her she looks nice in that outfit (sexual harrassment/proposition). You told him that was a stupid thing to do when he sent a spitball that just missed your eye (corporal punishment) and you just earned a 90-day unpaid suspension at the "rubber room". Better yet, being untenuried they will most certainly fire you and demand payment of the bonus and housing subsides.
Still interested? Good! how about parent involvement. Maybe they can help you? At the middle school and most certainly at the high school level the parent (if there is one) has long ago given up on the child. It's like spitting into the wind. It will only get you slimed.
How about those wonderful administrators. Won't they help you? Duh, the reason these schools are the "worst" is because they are the dumping ground for bad administrators. They were bad teachers who couldn't or wouldn't deal with the classroom and please don't ask them to help you in the classroom. They can't stand being in the classroom that is why they are administrators!
Maybe if your real lucky you will get one of the DOE Leadership Academy principals. You know the ones with little if any classroom experience, poor interpersonal skills, and clueless of how a school operates. Why are you lucky? Well when the LIS is scheduled to visit the Leadership Acadamy principal is allowed to pay you $37.96 an hour for up to 4 hours to fix up your classroom! What a bonanza!
You still want the job? Congratulations, you will get the maximum amount of students the contract allows (34 for general education classes). You will be required to buy many of your own classroom supplies. Photocopying? Go to Staples or Kinkos for photocopying on your own dime. Air conditioning? You will be lucky to have heat in the winter. Your own classroom? Fat chance, expect to have three or even four different rooms and don't dare be late to class otherwise, a reprimand with a Letter-To-The-File (LIF) that will land in your personnel file for Life. Finally, don't bother to shine by being innovative. You will be micromanaged, told what to teach, how to teach it, and when to teach it. You talked one minute over the time for talking? Your LIS will gently pull you aside and let you know to follow the script "AND DON'T DO IT AGAIN OR ELSE ANOTHER LIF FOR LIFE! Further, make sure your student work is hung up, no matter how bad it is. You don't want to hurt their self esteem do you? Finally, I'm sure you can't wait to pitch in and do cafeteria duty (ducking food thrown at you) or potty patrol (hanging out at the bathroom). What a wonderful job for an adult with a Masters degree!
You changed your mind? Your going to the suburbs where there are 22 students to a classroom, adequate supplies, fair and enforced student discipline codes, your own parking space, good administrators, involved parents, and for more money? I don't understand why your giving up all the advantages the City of New York is offering you? Don't worry, I'm sure their will be some unlucky loser who will take the NYC offer only to leave because of how the DOE treats its teachers.
Good luck and I wish you well.
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