Wednesday, November 02, 2011
My Interview With Students "Alex and Andrea" In a Class That Has No Teacher But Is Not Listed As A "Vacancy".
I found myself covering a group of classes that has not had a stable teacher since school started. What is bad is that this class ends with a Regents in June and the students are starting to realize that time is running out on them. They complained to me that they have rotating teachers, probably ATRs, and two of the classes have subject teachers who are given coverages and don't seem to care about them. What is worse is that this class and the others in the group are not considered a vacancy according to the school!
I sat down with two students "Alex & Andrea", not their real names, and asked them how they felt about the situation of having no stable teacher for their classes. Alex spoke first and said that when the school year started the Principal came in and told the class that the teacher who will be guiding you will be leaving the school in October (probably an ATR) and I am hiring a teacher who will be the permanent teacher for the year. During October the teacher disappeared and we were given teachers weekly (definitely ATRs). During this time four people were brought into our class to do a demonstration lesson. The first was a middle aged man who really knew how to teach, he got us involved in the lesson and the class really liked him but alas, he never came back. The next two were women and both did not connect with us. The class found both women boring and they also never came back. The final teacher was a young man who did a poor job with the class. He tried to get us to participate and we would have if we understood what he was talking about. He spoke above us and his demonstration was the poorest of the four. However, we were desperate for a teacher and were happy when rumors spread that they hired the teacher. Unfortunately, he also never came back. Someone said the Principal could not hire him. My guess either he was not certified or the Principal could not get the DOE to waive the hiring freeze.
At this point "Andrea" spoke and said that her mother came to the school to talk to the Principal about her daughter's class not having a teacher. The Principal assured Andrea's mother that the class has certified teachers giving instruction and that the school was working on assigning a teacher permanently to the class. Andrea told her mother that the Principal is lying. that most of the teachers require them to read a few pages and do the questions. The teachers offer no actual instruction. Their homework is never collected and some teachers give them dittos that have little academic merit. She also said that they have not had even one test yet! She seemed very upset as she told me her story and wanted to know who should her mother talk to since talking to the Principal is not the answer. My response was that she should email and call the Chancellor and ask him what is being done for her daughter's class?
Let's hope that "Alex and Andrea" actually gets a teacher and all other "Alexs and Andreas" who are student victims of principals who refuse to fill their vacancies. Shame on these principals and shame on the DOE and UFT for knowing about these secret vacancies and not acting to correct the problem.
Children first. Always is just a sick joke.