Monday, October 20, 2008

Should We Care About The "Teaching Fellows" ATRs?

There seems to be some disagreement within the UFT if we should fight for the "Teaching Fellows" ATRs. If the 240 "Teaching Fellows" can't find jobs they can be fired in December by the DOE. With the budget problems, look for Tweed to terminate these "Teaching Fellows".

I personally disagree with my many blogger friends and I do not believe that our union should protect these "Teaching Fellows". In my opinion the union should first make sure all ATRs are placed in the classroom before we worry about people who are only not tenured but not even fully certified as a teacher! If the Union had any "guts" they would have challenged the DOE in both the media and the court of public opinion on how the DOE is dumping inexperienced teachers into their child's class. Further, the union could show how many of the small schools have few if any experienced teachers and many of the teachers in those schools are either "Teach For America" or "Teaching Fellows".

How does a staff of inexperienced teachers work with their students? Badly, for the most part. Our union needs to retain their experienced teachers not helping the DOE to recruit uneeded newbie teachers who aren't even fully certified.


proofoflife said...

What you say may be true Chaz , and these same thoughts crossed my mind. I was in front of the last delegate ass. and more than one of the teaching fellows told me they had come from way across the country. They packed up their life to come to New York to teach , and in that sense I feel they are being shafted.

ed notes online said...

The DOE overhired and should never have started that cohort in the first place. Once they become teachers - there will always be first year inexperienced teachers - some with the proper training - if you call college courses training - and some without. No one is saying five them preference but they should be protected with other ATRs.

The story I heard today is that they will be fired and tossed from the college cohort and lose their license. At least give them a fighting chance.

In the meantime - no more TF or TFA programs till all are placed.

17 (really 15) more years said...

Chaz- on some level, I do agree with you. Having said that, the UFT has no problem taking their union dues 2 a month- and for that reason alone, they should be offered some level of protection.

I remember my early years of teaching when I wondered if I would get bumped if a more experienced teacher wanted to transfer in. We all went through it- why is this suddenly the end of the world for the TFs? The bottom line is this: we need to take care of our certified, tenured ATRs FIRST- then worry about everyone else.

NYC Educator said...

It may be easier for some of them, actually, as their salaries don't come close to those of the pariahs who've worked 20 plus years before their schools closed. I still can't believe that Ms. Weingarten, given our history with Tweed, not only failed to foresee this but worsened it by agreeing that salaries would become part of school budgets.

Under Assault said...

The DoE has done this mass hiring before, and letting people down equally hard. Remember when they took in all those foreign teachers and promised to help them get housing? I had to train some of them for a week, and they told me lots of stories about the DoE's enormous ability to sell them the Brooklyn Bridge. Some went home pretty quickly into the term, and I mean BACK home. Overseas.

It's brave of you all who have given an opinion on this issue in print. I can't bring myself to do it.

But, I have a question, if you're following the comments in this post.

At my school, principal is collapsing classes right and left, using some freed up teachers as deans, or in the halls and cafeteria, or as per diem ATR-types like myself (though they are not ATRs, being this is mid-term). Principal is doing this to save money on outside, daily subs, since not enough kids are showing up to some of the classes. They feel they can combine classes and free up the teacher.

Does anyone know the rules on this kind of thing, to use teachers in hallways and similar duties up to the full five periods? is this happening elsewhere?

Chaz said...

It appears to me that what the Principal is doing violates the contract for non-ATRs. However, this is a question for Jeff K or James E of ICE. They seem to have a better idea if the Principal is violating the contract.

avoiceinthewilderness said...

If we had an effective union, we would have no need for programs like TF and TFA. If our union advocated properly for teachers and helped to foster an environment in which teachers are attracted to and stay within the New York City schools, we would have no need for alternative programs.
Of course, this is not happening.
The TF's have discovered that the inhumanity that is the DOE and the ineffectualness that is the UFT is not just geared towards those with experience.
It's a hard lesson to learn.

Anonymous said...

My problem is that education researchers from all over can tell you that we don't have ENOUGH teachers to have smaller classes and better schools, but we have too many teachers? Most of whom it's not really their fault that they're ATRs? In my school, I know we can use a few teachers, but as the Joker from the Dark Knight would say, this is all going according to plan. As soon as Tweed gave every school a cap for their budgets, we started to notice these trends. It's all very devious and I'm sure you can follow the thought, Chaz. We're all in this together, regardless of whether we're first year or 20th year.

Chaz said...


I am aware that Tweed is playing one against the other. However, I still believe that the experienced teacher is more important in the classroom and that by protecting the alternate certification newbie teacher, we are buying into Kleinberg's program of getting rid of senior teachers by every way possible.

Anonymous said...

As other commenters here have mentioned, though, TFs were sold a false bill of goods. "There's a teacher shortage in NYC," we were told. "You're desperately needed!"

Well, three years in, I now know that that isn;t the case. But it's hard to blame TFs who would have a hard time even trying to research this issue if they felt a need to do so, since it's been so poorly covered by the media--and when it is, the implication is that the ATRs are deadbeat lousy teachers. Now, again, you and I know that isn't true, but it doesn't help the TFs make an informed decision.

So what you have are well-intentioned if inexperienced people getting a pretty serious shaft, because they have relocated and/or left another career field. The ATRs are more likely to have the advantages of a personal support system, contacts in other schools, etc. Saying that the UFT or ICE in particular is not planning to support the TFs sets up a false dichotomy, assuming that the union can help the ATRs OR the TFs but not both. I fail to see how fighting for both of these groups, who have been taken advantage of shamefully, could not or should not be a simultanteous priority.

(disclosure: I'm a TF)

Rachel Grynberg said...

Absolutely. Teaching Fellows buy into the "experienced teachers are bad teachers" philosophy for the most part. We have longstanding teachers to protect!