In the DOE's never ending quest to bring in "newbie teachers", many of them the two year wonders from "Teach For America" and the "Teaching Fellows" programs. Here is a story about one "Teaching Fellow", a jolly old man named Santa Claus. Santa Claus wanted to make a difference with the children year round, not just Christmas. After carefully reviewing all the possible jobs he felt he could make a difference in, he settled on teaching where he can interact with the children year round (including summer school). However, there was a slight problem, Santa was not certified and the normal certification process takes years. Lucky for Santa, this was Chancellor Joel Klein's DOE and Santa could apply to teach as a "Teaching Fellow" and get his certification while actually teaching, what a deal! Since Santa had no educational experience, he was considered a "newbie teacher" and received $45,530 annually. Santa thought this was great, he could spend his salary on making more and better toys for the children of the world and if he lasts long enough a pension and retiree health benefits for him and his reindeer crew. What a deal!
Unfortunately, for poor old Santa this is Joel Klein's DOE where any student's accusation or administrator's claim is believed and soon poor old Santa was jettisoned out of the classroom and found himself in the Teacher Reassignment Center (TRC), known as the "rubber room". Santa did not know why he was removed from the classroom since the administrator refused to tell him why, despite violating last year's negotiated "rubber room" agreement, his reassignment letter only said he was under investigation for "misconduct". However, there was no specifics to the misconduct accusation.
Santa found himself surrounded by teachers, most his age, who were squeezed into a room that was to handle half the amount of people and when poor Santa tried to sit down, the site supervisor called the "Warden" summoned him in and read him the "riot act" and placed him at a different table with a broken plastic chair. Eventually, some teachers befriended him and told him to handle it the best he can. He was told by the teachers to call the union representative, known as the "General". Santa Claus called the "General" who told him to keep quiet and don't tell anybody about your case. Santa said how can I tell them about my case when I don't even know my case? The "General" also told him that do not listen to the teachers at the TRC. They give you bad advice and I will see you in my monthly visit to the TRC. Santa was now bewildered, the union representative told him to be quiet and Santa was still clueless on why he was reassigned.
Two months later two men in suits showed up at the TRC and wanted to question poor old Saint Nick about the alleged incidents at his school. The liaison at the TRC told him that he shouldn't speak to these two men because they are from the Special Commissioner of Investigations (SCI) and their job is to "get the teacher" and not to determine the truth. The liaison further told Santa that if you say the wrong thing, they have the power to arrested you and lock you up. However, Santa decided to ignore the liaison and spoke to the two men without union representation. Santa was reassured by the two investigators that if he cooperated fully with them he would be out of the TRC in no time and get back to his career. The lead investigator asked Santa why he called the girls Hoes in his classes. Santa said "I did not call them Hoes, I said ho, ho, ho, when I laugh"The investigator writes Santa's response and the lead investigator ask the next question. Why did you put students on your lap? Santa responded "to find out what they wanted for Christmas. I am Santa Claus and this is what I do". The next question was do you ask the students about their personal lives? Santa responded "of course I need to know if they are naughty or nice". Many students complained that you were stalking them since you seemed to know about their families when no other teacher did that. Santa responded by saying "it is my business to know everything about the children". The SCI investigators thanked Santa for meeting with them and for his candor in explaining the misunderstandings with the students and that he will be out of the TRC quickly.
Santa left the interview room and told the liaison that everything was resolved and I will be back at my school soon. The liaison told him he hoped he was right but very few people who cooperate with SCI are found innocent. Two months later Santa was summoned to a disciplinary meeting at the Superintendent's office where the DOE "Grinch" gave the SCI report to Santa Claus and his union representative. The SCI report found Santa Claus guilty of sexual misconduct and recommended his termination. The SCI report findings were as follows:
- Verbal sexual abuse - calling female students Hoes
- Sexual harassment - asking them about their personal lives (naughty or nice).
- Sexual touching - putting children on his lap.
- Stalking - following the students around and looking into their families.
To twist the knife even further, SCI is sending their investigation report to the District Attorney for possible criminal prosecution.
Two weeks later the "Warden" called in Santa Claus and handed him a one page letter that said the DOE "Grinch" has terminated Santa Claus for inappropriate behavior as a teacher and since you are not tenured, the DOE has the right to fire you. Have better success in your next career. SCI did keep their promise and Santa Claus is no longer at the TRC. Yes, even Santa Claus could never survive in today's DOE under the true "Grinch", Chancellor Joel Klein and his non educator cronies who impose rules on teachers that don't seem to apply to them.
Last year I wrote about how the DOE was able to get rid of a tenured Santa Claus Here.