Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Letter To A Field Supervisor From A Disrespected ATR.


















I was fortunate enough to have received in my email a letter that an ATR wrote to his field supervisor and I decided to publish it, with some editing for content, for all educators to see and what ATRs in rotation goes through on a daily basis. More importantly, this letter should put to rest that an ATRs job does not have the same stress as regularly appointed teachers.

Dear field supervisor,

Several days ago in one of the schools I was assigned to, these events occurred inside and outside the classroom I was covering.


  1. Loud noise and screaming everywhere in the hallway, outside my classroom, for ten minutes into the period. Nobody seemed to care.
  2. Many of the students in the class ignore my instruction and refuse to do the assignment.
  3. Several students, joke, laugh, play cards, and scream at each other and ignore my commands to behave and do the assigned work.
  4. Some students don't even bother to sit down but walk around the room making a commotion.
  5. One student screams "F--k you" to another who curses back.
  6. A bunch (5-6) of unknown students suddenly enter the room and since they didn't bother to tell me who they were, I quickly realize they were not part of the class.  I ask the group to leave but was met with indifference, I called the Dean for intervention.
  7. Almost a dozen students took out their cellphones, put on their headphones, and hoodies and ignored my commands to follow the school rules.
  8. Two female students show up twenty minutes late without a late pass and when asked why they were late, they exhibited a nasty response to my question.
  9. Two other students leave the room without permission, I called the Dean.
  10. Several students engaged in a group project by drawing the middle finger with blood at the tip, on a poster and glued it on the back locker in the room. I asked them not to do that but was ignored.
 Please  advise me how would you feel and act if you are a teacher and being observed in such circumstances?  How would I use the Danielson rubric as a tool for good teaching?

Sincerely, 
ATR

I can only say to teachers, administrators, our disconnected union leadership, and the DOE, this is an almost daily occurrence by ATRs in many of the low performing and undisciplined schools that ATRs are subject to and yet far too many of you close your collective eyes to this terrible situation.  Without giving ATRs real support and demanding consequences for the student's bad behavior, the above situation written to the field supervisor is the rule and not the exception for many ATRs in rotation.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

This happens everyday, every period in the schools I'm assigned as an ATR. In the school I'm currently assigned kids roam the halls in packs with cell phones out recording as they walk down the hall. This happens almost in every school. Van Buren, Far Rock, August Martin, on of course Campus Maggot. We all know it's our fault the students act this way. It can't possibly be the bad parenting skills and school admin who can only blame the teachers. 21 yrs in 4 more to go. What a profession we have chosen. Help us Amy, help us UFT. We are your brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. We are your friends, neighbors, husbands and wives. One more thing, the disrespect we receive from our fellow uft teachers is disgusting. People ignore you in almost every f-in school. Those horrible teachers who don't even say hi and welcome you into the school. F all of them who slave to teach disrespectful students and know how is it to be abused. Shame on all of them and all of us who put up with this shit. 18 more hours until I'm ignored and disrespected again. Only 18 more months until our next retro check. F to our Union!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I second that emotion. Seems this year I've been deliberately placed in the worst schools for observations, quite on purpose. I have not had pre-observation LESSON SPECIFIC meetings, only very general ones. And, the field supervisor always brings a second field supervisor for observations and picks classes with no assigned teacher so I have no witnesses. Only she does. The last observation was DICTATED to me--she forced me to sign a paper that I would be observed on a certain day, a certain period. Usually one gets to pick the class and period. She also makes me waste 5 minutes or more handing out and explaining a sheet with "my class rules" on it. The last observation, she grabbed completed student worksheets out of my hand at the end of the period---a confiscation, you could call it.

Anonymous said...

The problems are not just experienced by ATRs. I work in a school that is 100% minority (majority now, of course). Kids are pulling out phones all the time. They talk non-stop and it is nearly impossible to give more than 1-2 minutes of 'instruction,' and this is NOT an exaggeration.

Our admins come in with their Danielson's clipboards and mean faces, and we all just pray silently that this or that kid puts the chips away, puts the phone down or stops walking around the class so we can 'look effective.'

I have less than ten years in the DOE, and every year it gets worse and worse, and I'm a teacher the students like! Doesn't really matter anyhow, given that our experience as a staff is that the Admins circle whatever boxes on the 'rubric' they want depending on their mood and how much they like you or not. None of us respect Danielson's for this reason.

The micro-managing from all our 'coaches' is insane. They would do no better than any of us in the classroom, and some would do far worse, yet they nit-pick the stupidest little things. "Oh, that question is not a higher order thinking question! How can they grapple with that text and have deep rich discussions unless you scaffold it more?'

Please! Get me out of this insanity!

Anonymous said...

There are schools in Newark with kids running around the third floors with little supervision.

Abigail Shure

Anonymous said...

Most principals only care about themselves, there is no true leadership or a belief in doing what is right when it comes to discipline. The #1 priority is the allusion of them running a successful school, nothing else matters, not your family, not your respect, and certainly not the students. Because all this system is doing is giving each student a feeling of entitlement that they will take with, setting up the proverbial slap in the face. Of course in NYC the laws and entitlements will allow them to continue to say FU to any type of responsibility or authority leaving us all right where we are now.

Anonymous said...

I don't care anymore. Let them all go crazy, no one gives a shit. The second I can retire, I'm out. Observations for anyone under these conditions is harassment. Just don't have a heart attack or beat up one of the thugs - that's my mantra.

Anonymous said...

Don't care either. Stopped caring a few weeks after I became an atr. Best thing I ever did. Let them use phones, walk the halls ,come to class late and refuse to even look at the assignment I attempt to hand them as a gloried sub. Like I said in the first comment post our fellow uft teachers should be ashamed of themselves. They don't even help opening a classroom door. F all of them. 24yr old tier 6 tools

Anonymous said...

Very accurate account of daily ATR experiences - the assassins should go to hell

Anonymous said...

I don't give two shits working in the BX as an ATR. Not transforming into superman in a rigged fraudulent NYCDOE. No reason to try to become a magician. Yes the disrespect is awful that we endure...but you must be mentally strong .

Anonymous said...

I can understand all the hostility and despair in these comments.

But the real problem is the UFT--which helped create the ATR mess and then washed its hands of the entire thing. Resident teachers, who see a round-robin of ATRs streaming in and out of their schools, don't have any incentive to get to know, much less support, a rotating ATR. Kids have been abusing substitute teachers since the days of Socrates--and the union allows ATRs to walk around with "Kick Me" signs on their backs.

Shame on the UFT. The UFT won't even let James Eterno and Co. establish an ATR chapter to represent the special needs and interests of rotating ATRs.

Anonymous said...

Being an ATR IS awful!

Anonymous said...

What people are really talking about here is suffering. Unnecessary punishment for experienced educators who could be teaching. Instead clueless desperate new teachers are put in front of students, that learn little or nothing.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that one day a law suit will be filed class action because this is the most blatant display of discrimination I have ever seen in my years. As they say you cannot make up this atr shit

Anonymous said...

A couple of things I learned: 1) The people you work with are not your friends, dont even think about it. 2. Watch your health like a hawk- we still have the best health package-use it, and take days off when needed, you cant spend the left over CAR days if you're prematurely dead 3) The people from the school you were excessed from dont GAS about you, no matter how hard you worked,how much you went the extra mile, what you did for the kids-nothing! Forget them and concentrate on finishing strong.
Sending older, white teachers into one hell hole segregated school one after the other after the other, every 4 weeks, one rotation after the other, what does anyone think the logical result is going to be? Does anyone but me see the shootings/stabbings almost daily around schools? There were at least 2 last week, by Barton and Lincoln/Dewey area. How long before the inevitable happens? Im not wishing it, by any means, but Poly Anna doesnt even describe it if you think we are somehow safe.

Anonymous said...

WHAT A JOKE!!!!
Gimmie a break with the ATR shit. # freakin ATR's at my school laughing it up. We teach 5 periods of 30+ while these (teachers) hang out making 100K+ doing nothing with no responsibility. Yes I'm aware that when a school closes, it's pretty much a done deal that a senior teacher will get hired without a huge connection. I understand and realize it's terrible and I don't agree at all. But believe me, every ATR I encounter says the sam thing which is "The day I get placed back into a classroom is the day I retire". Even more pathetic are the administrative ATR's making 125K or 160K (principal ATR). No responsibility at all gliding through the hallways laughing and saying hey, I'm making 160K with no responsibility and when I was a principal of a school, I was making the same thing pulling my hair out of my head. What a great country! Can you imagine getting a check every other week for doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING? This is insanity!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:58pm: I do not know what you're talking about. ATRs in the Bronx work very hard and are greatly mistreated and disrespected.

Anonymous said...

5:58,
If that was true the city would force place us all, immediately. It isn't. You miss a huge point- many of us didn't go into teaching for money - now its the only thing left to us. Constant disrespect and chaos has an eroding effect on ones health and happiness - unfortunately many of us cannot retire. Be careful what you wish for.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where Justin Starke was an administrator? what department?

Anonymous said...

Far Rock

Anonymous said...

Justin Stark has a place reserved in hell so does Diane L.

Anonymous said...

they shouldnt be in charge of cockroaches let alone people

Anonymous said...

I'd like to respond to all that I was regarded as a great teacher the years I taught from 1997-2012- I had worked for the DOE as an intervention specialist in drug prevention for at-risk students. Prior to these positions I also was a family assistant within the community I lived in in the South Bronx. After all these years and experience I was placed as an ATR in several places because one of my last assignments I was working at the school was phased out to make room for a charter school. My tenure as an ATR was not always negative but the attitude of some of my colleagues toward ATRS was very unfriendly and sometimes hostile. I was fortunate to have been assigned as a regular appointed teacher in a closing high school my last year teaching. My ATR experience was shot-lived and I was able to complete my career in a positive note. All my previous experiences and years In different titles for the DOE helped me to combine those years (27and a half years total) and retire after the 2014 contract was ratified. I had decided to retire the following August 2014. I know I made the right decision. It is not easy for many ATRS to leave just yet for various reasons so I encourage you to stay strong, don't give up, stay positive, all things work together for good. Most of all be mindful that as long as you do the right thing and not respond negatively your right intentions will speak volumes against those that try to do the opposite. Believe me people will notice. Retired SS Bilingual Teacher

Anonymous said...

5:58: You seem like you are jealous of ATRs. You know you can give up your appointed position to become one. I think you have to have a certain number of years to do so. If you think being an ATR is so cushy, intend of being jealous, join us.

Zajacland said...

The posts to this blog demonstrate that Bloomberg was successful in his ploys to chip away at teacher solidarity. That we see each other as "others" points to his success. All, ATRs and the Appointed Ones, have to cope with the conditions of that letter to the supervisor on a daily basis. ATRs are particularly challenged because they don't have the time to establish come kind of compromising relationship with the students that would allow educational processes to proceed albeit not at the pace, depth, or breadth they would achieve if education reform hadn't occurred. I recognize some of the voices here and have appreciated their skill and determination. I have recognized the same qualities in teachers of all levels, even Tier 6 newbies. Currently, I am provisionally placed for this school year. I don't know of any cases where an ATR offered a provisional placement has turned it down. I fully expect that I will be released after this semester and will return to the Queens ATR pool that I have been a part of since 2008. I don't expect that we will all clasp hands around the campfire, but I hope that all could appreciate that we're all biting from that same sandwich served up by education reform, Tweed Hall, and our complicit UFT leadership.

Francesco Portelos said...

Although I encounter this type of potential atmosphere, this is how I combat it:

I wear a shirt and tie, if not full suit. It makes a differencedifference.

I hook up my own laptop to the projector smart board and do my own engaging lesson. "Intro to engineering." Students look up and see a video game controller and sneakers. These were engineered.

Use the www.atralliance.org to get on school's Wi-Fi. Engage them with highly visual slides.

Put a pen on your ear. Adds to three professionalism.

Lastly, vote UFT Solidarity so we can make real change in the system.

Anonymous said...

To 5:58
Hah! DOE give high salary folks a real assignment? Not on your life. Do you actually read this blog. Fair school funding means DOE prefers to hire novices than veterans. Flies in the face of all common sense. But it's true.
So spare me the bull about we're privileged and the DOE treat us like a easy street class of teachers.