Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Tale Of Two Teachers - Which One Would You Want For Your Child?

This is a true story. The names of the teachers, the principal, and the school have been changed to protect the reputation of the individuals involved.

There are two teachers, lets call them Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones both teaching at Dominica High School. Mr. Smith is a very popular teacher whose classes are always full and students are always trying to get into his class. Mr. Jones, on the other hand, has an half-empty classroom and students are always trying to transfer out. In fact it was because of Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones that the Principal of Dominica high school was forced to stop the teacher shopping by refusing all student requests for schedule changes.

What made Mr. Smith popular? Simple, he taught at the level of his students. Lessons were simple and explained. Demonstrations were applied to real world situations, and his lessons included applications with other subjects. Everybody who knows Mr. Smith knew that he really cared about his students. Mr. Jones, on the other hand, simply taught the subject and abbreviated many terms which were over the heads of his students. Mr. Jones only cared about his paycheck. The result was that Mr. Smith had twice the Regents passing percentage than Mr. Jones.

You would think that the Principal, Snidley Whiplash, would appreciate a teacher like Mr. Smith. Wrong! The Principal was a very insecure person and felt threatened by Mr. Smith and his questioning nature to some of he Principal's decisions that were not in the best interest of the school. Further, the Principal didn't care to get to know the students in the school and ignored many of the students' issues. The Principal targeted Mr. Smith time and again for "desperate treatment" compared to other teachers. Finally, the Principal was able to have Mr. Smith removed to the "rubber room" on frivolous charges resulting in the school's Regents passing grades to plummet by 50% in the next two years. Did the Principal care about the collateral damage he did to the students? Not one bit. As far as he was concerned, it was more important to remove an effective teacher on "trumped up charges" then what was good for the students. In time the Principal was removed from the school for "just cause" and forced to retire.

What happened to Mr. Jones? You guessed it, he continues to teach and fail the vast majority of his students who he despises and receive a minimal "S' observation from the AP while Mr. Smith the quality teacher every student wants, sits in the "rubber room" for years waiting for his 3020-a hearing to finish and be sent to another school as an ATR....and the DOE's "children last program" continues.


JUSTICE not "just us" said...

I put the blame on squarely on Klein and of course by extension on Bloomberg. He gave these bastard principals the power to remove good teachers from the class room. There is no oversight and certainly no accountability in the decisions made by these "psycho principals".

This story is repeated again and again in school after school. I know it happened to me and I am not saying I am a great teacher but I am satisfactory--never late , rarely absent, I know my content area and I have 20 years experience in dealing with difficult children. My former principal who was fired simply did not like me(for exercising my consitutional right of free speech) and bannished me to the rubber room.

We need for every teacher in the rubber room in similiar circumstances to speak out and tell the world what is happening!

Chaz said...


Your suggestion would only work if the union backed them. Presently, the union does not. Time and again I have heard high union officials say that the teachers would not be in the "rubber room" if they didn't do something wrong. With that thinking, nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

To have Klein as Chancellor who has been trained as a lawyer, he pushes to the very border of illegality in how to handle teachers. Under the current circumstances and UFT's silence, it will not be easy to organize effective litigation against DoE and Klein.

Pissedoffteacher said...

There is nothing to say to this. Unfortunately it happens every day. They would rather have a teacher that obeys than one that can teach.

Anonymous said...

I hear Klein is being considered for Secretary of Education.

Anonymous said...

How sad it is see Klein to head the dept of education, more rubber rooms, more atrs, more abuse of teachers.