The DOE, in their attempt to thin out the herd of 1,400+ ATRs, has hired more ATR field supervisors to convince the ATRs that its time to resign, retire, or just leave the system out of frustration and despair. It appears many of the ATR field supervisors are retired administrators, working part-time to make a few extra shekels and with orders to terminate the ATRs.
The ATR supervisors all seem to have the same message. They meet with the ATR and pretend to offer them support. They tell the ATR that their job is to help them land a permanent position and by observing the ATR in the classroom they could offer suggestions on how to improve their pedagogy and make them more attractive to principals. The truth is far different than the message.
The ATR supervisors have little or no influence on principals and cannot help the ATR obtain a permanent position. Moreover, with "Fair student funding" still in effect, principals are looking for young and inexpensive teachers, preferably untenured, and since the average ATR are in their 50s, have an average of sixteen years experience, and make $87,000, few principals would even consider hiring the ATR.
With regard to supporting the ATR in improving their pedagogy? Its laughable. Most are playing the "gotcha system". They will show up numerous times, rip the teacher's lesson to pieces and if the lesson was great, they will claim the lesson plan did not match the lesson, despite the union winning a grievance that administrators cannot evaluate the teacher's lesson plan. I guess the DOE forgot to tell the ATR supervisors that. In one outrageous case an ATR supervisors gave an "unsatisfactory" observation to a Science teacher who was covering a Spanish class.
Many of the ATR supervisors demand "rigor", "differentiation", and "Common Core" in the lessons despite the obvious fact that the ATR has no training in them, or has any knowledge of the student abilities in the classroom with and has no ownership of the students grades to help with discipline. They expect you to have everyone in the classroom engaged and learning and if one student is not on task, the lesson is considered a failure by the ATR field supervisor.
Worse, once the ATR field supervisor's rating is final, it can only be appealed to the DOE's kangaroo court, where only 0.3% of these appeals have been reversed by DOE hearing officers. Therefore, its necessary to be proactive and challenge the ATR field supervisors on what they observed. Question them about every sentence they write, even for the imformals, since they can be used against the ATR in the 3020-a hearings, if it comes to that. Finally, don't let these ATR supervisors browbeat you into submission. If you disagree with the supervisor's observation report, file a grievance and make them realize that they will need to defend their observations, maybe they will look for more compliant ATRs they can bully and leave you alone.
If you're in danger of getting an "unsatisfactory rating" then you must fight "tooth and nail" on the ATR field supervisor's observation because by not objecting to the observation report, you make it easier for them to give you an "unsatisfactory rating" and two consecutive "unsatisfactory ratings" can result in 3020-a termination charges.
The ATR Alliance (ATRA) is having a meeting at 512 Clinton Avenue (the Freedom School) in Brooklyn on February 12th. from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Elections will be held for new representatives. If you are an ATR please attend. All UFT members are welcomed ATRs or not.