Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Teacher Absences Increased Significantly Due To City And State Polices That Adds Stress To The Already Hostile Classroom Environment.



























It was no surprise that the DOE reported a !2.3% increase of teachers that took excessive absences, meaning  11 or more days off in the 2013-14 school year over the year before.  That comes out to be an astounding 13.2% of the entire teaching force of 74,000 or almost 10,000 teachers who called in sick that used over the ten sick days allocated for the school year. The New York Post article can be found. Here

Interestingly, the DOE claims this 12.3% increase in excessive teacher absences isn't significant, really?  In addition, our union leadership claimed it was that maternity leave accounted for the increase. However, a union member blamed it on the Common Core. The real reason that there was a 12.3% increase in excessive teacher absences can be associated with the State's Teacher Evaluation System, the Danielson framework, and the failure of many school administrators to properly support their teachers when it comes to misbehaving and disrespectful student behaviors. 

To me, the increased excessive absences is proof positive that the classroom environment has become even more hostile and stressful, when the State and City policies and paperwork are rammed down the teacher's throat. Waiting for the new Mayor and his disappointing Chancellor to make the classroom environment less stressful and more peaceful is simply a pipe dream that our disconnected union leadership tries to sell.  However, the reality is very different and the significant upsurge of excessive teacher absences demonstrates this reality.as many of these teachers are fleeing the hostile classroom for as many days as possible to keep their sanity.

I also believe if one broke down the statistics and look at the individual schools, I bet one would find that the low academically achieving schools and those schools with terrible administrations suffer the greatest teacher absences and yearly turnover.

Finally, when one combines the increased teacher absences with the DOE's recruitment over retention policy, the result is a failure by the DOE to implement workable strategies to improve student academic achievement and to narrow the unacceptably wide income/racial achievement gap in the New York City Schools.

24 comments:

Bronx ATR said...

All very true. Very few appointed teachers are receiving Ineffective ratings for going over 10 days absent. All ATRs who go over 10 days receive an automatic Unsatisfactory rating. Going to a different school every week and dealing with all that it entails is also very stressful.

Anonymous said...

Part of the absentee increase may also be blamed on the rotten winter of 2013-14

Anonymous said...

Only 11 more years to go. Can't wait. These new principals are terrible. I mean I can't even believe these pathetic worms are awarded schools. They are so dumb.

Anonymous said...

The problem is this: administrators seem to have a sixth sense when you are not feeling 100%. So let's think about it: you have a virus and were up half the night, but decided to drag yourself into work. Your AP is making his latest round of informal observations. BAM! Your lesson was not fabulous because you are not feeling well, and next thing you know you have ineffectives and developings on the Danielson rubric. After that happens to you once, what will you do the next time you're not feeling well? Stay home, naturally. That's what happens in my school on a regular basis.

To make matters worse, when you force out an aging staff and hire young girls, maternity leaves are part of reality. Our APs are so despised that the girls can't get pregnant fast enough (we're at 7 this year, out of a staff of 62).

I'm such a wreck already, if we didn't have the next two days off, I would have taken tomorrow. I'm fried.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I gotta chime in here on this. I am a NYC teacher of almost 20 years. Yes, the stress is bigger than ever. However, we all have TEN days to take off. If you or I take more than TEN days without a doctors note, we be written up. Those are the rules. Those rules might suck but they are the law of the land. Taking 11 days off especially without a doctors note is just asking for trouble. On a side note, is there really teachers getting pregnant just to get time off from the DOE? I do not know. I am a male. If that is the case, I just gotta say that the state of the teaching profession in NYC has officially gone to Hell.

Anonymous said...

and its only sept

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:06- If I didn't see for myself all these girls deciding to have their 2nd and 3rd child just to get some time off, I wouldn't believe it either. But then again, I work for some really miserable SOBs.

I really try NOT to take my 10 days a year- to me, it's more trouble and grief sometimes to stay home. I'm going to attempt a new strategy this year: if I know we're in the middle of an observation cycle and I go into work not feeling well, I am going to respectfully say to my AP "I did you all a favor by coming in- please return the favor by NOT observing me today" (well- maybe I'll say it a little nicer than that). I don't like to waste my days- time is money.

Reggie Jackson said...

Cover yourself. E mail that you'll be absent so it's documented, have coverage work submitted, avoid being absent day before or after a holiday, and DO NOT go over 10 or you can almost uarantee a U. As far as the stress, just make a pact with yourself and say "I don't do stress." Kids are acting out, cover yoursejf: by writing up anything that should be, any students disrupting. Talk to them at their desk not publicly. If that doran tv work, write them up and save your copy. Write up every incident. Document in an e mail to yourself that you asked for assistance over and over and none was given. Document that no procedure was given staff of how to remove a disruptive student for the rest of that day's class. Keep a phone log of parents you called. Keep logs on the students. Document the school is breaking regs and doesn't have a S.A.V.E room. Document everything. You might need it. It's your protection that you asked for assistance. Put it on them. You told and wrote a principal the problems in your class. Now you've put it on them to assist you. They won't of course And your e mail to yourself documents it. This is what our job has come to. Don't scream. Don't talk over them. You can't get their attention, wait. Wait as long as it takes. If there a few kids who want to learn, work with them in a group near your desk. If you get written up for not teaching the whole class, you covered yourself when you requested assistance. These educrats know nothing about school discipline. Just focus on the kids who wasn't it. We work for the kids.

Anonymous said...

Chaz, a question for you:

A couple of teachers in my school have mild disabilities which require days off from time to time. A new edict from the administration is that teachers are required to walk with their classes when returning from fire drills (as opposed to the teachers taking the elevator and students taking the stairs). Some classes are as high up as the ninth floor. This is of concern to those teachers with the disability, but many others as well. Is it legal to make anyone walk up 9 flights? WHat recourse?

ReadyToRetireNow said...

Wait until it snows on extended days. (Smirk)

Anonymous said...

On another note: How many of these teaches who are constantly out realize that they are going to be in a world of "hurt" if they actually get hurt in an accident and need to take some serious time off? Go as ask your fellow teachers on Monday how many days they have in their CAR and they will probably say less than 20 days. I myself have close to a hundred days in my CAR. My CAR is there for an emergency or I will cash out half of those days as allowed by the contract when I retire. Teaches need to think long term to stay in the game.

Anonymous said...

Chaz,
When a TEACHER is rated ineffective or developing, there are consequences. These consequences can be severe as termination is an option. What about PRINCIPALS? What are the consequences for principals when their schools fail? What happens to them now? In this present day of "no schools closing anymore", what are their consequences?

Bronx ATR said...

If you have to go over 10 days you need FMLA - without it even a doctors note will not suffice. Many of the payroll secretaries balk when asked, but they now put the procedures on line, making it much easier.

Paul V. Hogan said...

>>>>and the failure of many school administrators to properly support their teachers ...>>>>>

Not to mention the failure of many chapter leaders, district reps, UFT VPs, and a certain president of the UFT to do likewise.

Anonymous said...

Several women who could not afford to stay home immediately after birth decided to take maternity as soon as their partners found (second) jobs. The Teach for America crowd was supposed to be out of the system before a family. My place is popping babies like crazy. We also have two families with autistic children who need their days for everything but their own illness. Most younger teachers have a day or two in their banks, many in negative balance. A lot of planned retirees for Jan and June are already using their days to plan their final escape!

ReadyToRetireNow said...

That is a good strategy. Hopefully, the DOEbot observing you is as humane as you are.

Anonymous said...

Last June, my Leadership Academy Principal (from a highly rated Queens HS) called me into his office and asked why I took off nine days that year. I explained that my contract provides 10 self treated days per academic year; he said that teachers don't take days off in his school.

I called from home the next morning to say I was bloated, and couldn't get to work. I thought he was going to have a stroke! What a tool.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it- some teachers are abusing the system. People making this salary- working 10 months of the year, on the clock just 180 days per year and also getting 10 paid sick days- grow up and do your job or get the hell out. There are others who would appreciate the situation.

Bronx ATR said...

To 12:16,
You obviously are not a teacher! We are under tremendous stress and surrounded by kids with every known sickness, in buildings that are overheated with no ventilation. Add to that NY winters and with everything closed BUT schools. Now imagine being an ATR snuffling off to new school every week and having no routine to stabilize your working environment. One week you start at 9, next week 7:30, etc..

ReadyToRetireNow said...

Anon 12:16 ~ I will tell you the same thing that I tell all non~teachers....please so my job for a couple of months. You'll find ts not as cushy as you think. Hey, if its a cushy as you think, how come your not teaching?

Anonymous said...

The extreme stress on an ATR for having a different place to report to, different times, different school cultures, different students, different systems, different expectations, etc. has been discussed in this forum of teacher absences. What has NOT been mentioned is that, by traveling from school to school, ATRs are exposed to many more viruses and bacterial infections than they would by remaining in one place where they could build up some immunity to such pathogens. Also, the great additional stress of being an ATR, living constantly under the Sword of Damocles, lowers the efficiency of the immune system, further laying ATRs wide open to illnesses. I just had to take off 2 days for bronchitis. I simply could not breathe. I faxed a doctor's note to my assigned school AND sent the APO a DOE email with a copy of the Doctor's note attached, and explaining why I would not be in. I HATED taking 2 days so early in the year, but if I can't breathe, I can't breathe. My doctor also wanted me home and resting. What can you do? I just hope the rest of the year does not require all my CAR.

Anonymous said...

received a "u" rating last year. my 1st in 23 years. I saw my supervisor 2 times during the year. once in january then once in may. I was given LESS than 24 hrs to prepare for my observation. the write-up was filled with errors, spelling errors, inaccurate amount of students in class, times were wrong. I complained asked a supervisor 2 times with NO response. NYCDOE a place for professionals HELL NO!!

Highly Effective King Clovis said...

I felt the oncoming of a cold on Wednesday, luckily we had two days off. As a teacher, I rarely take days off, though one year I took 7 because the environment was so abusive. Last year I took about 5 days but went in on those "snow days." I didn't get nailed on observations when I returned from taking off, but others were not so lucky. One teacher I know who injured his leg and had to take time off, was observed the first day he returned! I've known others who were hit the day after being very sick and having to take time off. There is no sense of morality with some of these admin. None whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

stark!!!!!!!!!!!!!! his observations are filled with spelling errors