Monday, December 26, 2011
How Santa Claus Survived The DOE Termination Process Only To Became An ATR In The New York City School System.
In my rounds of going from school to school as a weekly ATR, the one common theme was that all the ATRs I meet were 40 years old or older. However, the oldest ATR I encountered was none other than old Saint Nick himself. Yes, Santa Claus is an ATR. After surviving a biased Special Commissioner of Investigation report requesting his termination and an Arbitrator who believed every word the DOE lawyer said, a State Appeals judge reversed the termination and reinstated him to the schools. However, because his school was closing , Santa Claus found himself as an ATR. Santa Claus thought no problem, I am a "quality teacher" and with a world of experience with children and beloved by all (except by the non-educators at the DOE and SCI). Therefore, it should be no problem to obtain another classroom teaching position. Alas, how wrong he was. Poor Santa went to four "job fairs" and applied to fifteen vacancies on the Open Market Transfer System and did not receive one interview, not one! One sympathetic Administrator at a job fair whispered in his ear that maybe he should shave off his beard dye his hair brown and loss some weight to look younger.
Poor Santa, he could not understand why he wasn't getting interviews. Was it his age as many of the ATRs claim? How about the budget? Was it the red suit and cap he likes to wear or was it that the principals were discriminating against him for being "reassigned"? Don't the principals want to hire the "best teachers"? What was the union doing for him? He spoke to his District Representative, "the non-swimmer in deep water" and he was of course, no help. He then spoke to the union's Special Representative known as the "General" because if he really was a General during the Revolutionary War , we would still be British subjects. No help there either. He even tried to contact Cleo Lacy but he was called a "punk" on the phone by Cleo who hung up on poor Santa. Finally, Santa tried to talk to the union leadership but nobody will talk to him since he is an ATR and the ATRs are treated as second class citizens by both the DOE and UFT.
For Santa, traveling weekly to schools is a piece of cake since he is used to traveling the globe and making 3.6 billion house calls. What upsets him the most is that he is treated as an unwanted appendage to the schools he is assigned to. Instead of milk and cookies, what awaits Santa is bathroom duty, cafeteria patrol, and manning the SAVE room. He also has been shocked that the students treat him as a substitute teacher and refuse to do their assigned work or behave. Even when he tells them that they will get coal in their Christmas stockings instead of presents. Some schools don't even give him a bathroom key and the Chapter Leaders never introduced themselves!
For Santa Claus, this Christmas is not the ho, ho, ho, it should be but a "bah humbug"as being a weekly ATR is not what Santa Claus expected to be in the New York City Public Schools. It is a sad time for Santa Claus and the children who cannot benefit from his presence in the classroom.