Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chaz Travels No More This School Year. However, The Real Work Is Just Begining.


I have been offered a provisional position in a high school for the rest of the school year and approach it with some trepidation. Taking over five Regents classes halfway through the school year is a problem and more so since these classes have been without a regular teacher for two months! When a teacher takes over a class that has been without a teacher for two months, it is going to take some time to get the students into academic shape.

First, and most importantly, I must impress upon my students that I am here to stay for the school year and I will be giving them a grade. If the students fail to grasp that reality, the class is destined to fail. Remember. if the students believe that there are no consequences to their failure to follow orders, you are in for a terrible time. Just ask all the weekly ATRs about their classroom experiences in the many NYC schools. Phillip Nobile described an experience he has had at a couple of the Brooklyn High Schools. The mere fact that you do not control their grade makes it almost impossible to control a class in the many low income and poverty-ridden community schools in the City.

Second, you must quickly evaluate each and every student in your classes. Some schools allow you access to their school records, many do not. I try to talk to both teachers who had the student previously and the deans about the student's academic and behavioral issues, if any.

Third, you must show your classroom management skills if you are to have any chance of getting the classes to pass the Regents. That means clear and consistent rules that apply to all. This is a real problem for many teachers, especially the "newbies" since classroom management skills are learned over a multi-year period.

Fourth, you need to have a complete understanding of the curriculum and be able to clearly present the topic so that the students understand what they are reading and doing. If the more academically challenged students are still having problems, then slow down and try to simplify the lesson by going back. The rest of the class will also benefit from this "look back" approach.

Fifth, you must connect with the students. They really need to respect you, not fear or disrespect you. Sure, there will always be a student or two who will not like you but if the majority of the class thinks you care about their academics, they will respond in a positive manner.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask for help from other teachers. Remember, you are new to the school and their culture and it is very important to rely on the senior teachers to enlighten you on the policies and procedures associated with the school environment.

The bottom line is that for me to succeed, I must show my classes that I am a "quality teacher" and that means demonstrating to my students that I have good curriculum knowledge, posses effective teaching skills, care about their academic well-being, and have appropriate classroom management. Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Walcott, and E4E are you reading this?

10 comments:

NYC ATR said...

Congratulations, Chaz! I'm thrilled to read that you are no longer an ATR. I'm also thrilled to read the last line of your post, in which you take yet another stab at the Mayor, the Chancellor, and E4E. Don't ever retire from that gig!

Pissed Off said...

Chaz--you are a quality teacher. The kids will pick this up immediately and I know how well you connect with them. Congrats!!!! I hope the admins of this new school are bright enough to realize how lucky they are to have you on staff.

Invictus said...

You will do an outstanding job, regardless....and better the kids have a regular teacher rather than a different, aimless ATR just as a baby sitter for them.

NYC Educator said...

Good luck Chaz. It's tough to get them back this late in the year, but if anyone is up to this challenge, it's you.

veteran teacher said...

God bless you! good luck b/c it definitely will be challenging

zulma said...

This is great news! Let's hope that the school becomes a very long term position where retirement would be the only reason to leave. I know that everyone in the school will see what an awesome teacher you are and a great person, too.

Buena Suerte!

Sweet Girl Tracie said...

Congrats Chaz. I am glad you are no longer in the ATR pool. I hope this new school will be a great fit and the admin will do their jobs appropriately and with dignity.

Theorem Ox said...

Congratulations Chaz and I wish you the very best!

Anonymous said...

I hope it gets around through your administrators talking to other administrators that ATRs are not what Klein and Walcott pegged you at. My school just had a Kinder teacher retire, and the sub is not an ATR. The principal has publicly stated she will not hire an ATR. Yet she was given the name of an ATR who impressed the 2 principals he served under when he had a 2-week position. Unfortunately they couldn't offer him anything. But she refused to hire him because his wife works at her school. I would think she would care more about the recommendations than the relationship. She did call one ATR--but this teacher is an ATR because of her. She was the Reading Specialist until this principal decided to lose the position in a school that really needs it. This teacher is 2 years from retirement and does not want a classroom position but a reading position. That is her certification and license area.

DoE making schools pay for teachers was one of the worst decisions ever because principals must now decide between a reading teacher or a TAG teacher. And they always go for TAG.

Anonymous said...

Urgent.... I suspected this a few months back....
The ATR's are restarting the rotation in Queens. So it seems we all got our assignments today- back to the first school from September.
I suspected this months ago...that the DOE was never going to keep working at finding us new weekly locations. I would also like to say that I thought the "algorythm" was for all of us to be placed in schools that needed our subject area. Clearly, not the case. So I'm being sent back to the same schools that didn't post any vacancies in most subject areas including mine!!!!!!!