Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The "Bad Teacher"

The education deformers always point to "bad teachers" as the reason to eliminate tenure, seniority, and layoffs. Of course most educators realize that the education deformers (Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor, Klein, Secretary of Education Duncan, and President Obama) idea of a "bad teacher" usually has nothing to do with their teaching skills but age, salary, and Principal dislike are the main reasons why teachers are labeled "bad". Yes, I am sure some "bad teachers" are reassigned for cause, maybe 10%? However, the really "bad teachers" that fall under the radar inhabit the New York City schools but because the administrators fail or refuse to target these teachers for one reason or another. Everybody who has been in their school for at least five years know who these "bad teachers" are. Parents, students, and staff talk about them all the time. This post is about one such "bad teacher" that has caused massive student failure at his school and the Administration does nothing about it.

This "bad teacher", I will call him Damion, works at a school with a troubled history and with very needy students who look for support from the school's staff for their academic, and social problems. The staff, for the most part, help the students when they can. However, Damion is not one of those caring or nurturing teachers who will reach out to help students in trouble. In fact, his attitude is just the opposite, he gets paid to teach and nothing else. He shows up barely on time (in some cases he misses his first period class) and is out the door as soon as he can. His teaching style makes it difficult for students to understand the subject and he does not care how many of his students struggle. Therefore, many of his students are lost and try to leave his class before it is too late but can't due to the ban on "teacher shopping" at the school, This ban was put into effect primarily due to the many students who wanted out of his class. Damion was known to have failed so many students that the school had, at the last minute, was forced to run a summer school program for the subject because of his many student failures. Damion does not care for the students or the school. Time and again he has tried to move to a different school with a a better student body only to have the principals of these schools realize that his bad attitude toward the students and his poor academic results is not for their schools. Damion has also been known to violate union rules and cooperate with investigative agencies against his teaching colleagues. Yes, it is called snitching. How disgusting!

You might ask. "How can the school's administration allow this uncaring, and uncooperative teacher who does not work well with his colleagues to stay in his job?" Easy, he works for a soft-hearted Assistant Principal who never has given a "U" rating. Therefore, the AP complains about Damion's teaching skills and attitude all the time but still gives him an "satisfactory rating" year after year. Damion is the first one to complain about our union but fails to vote or join with his fellow teachers in organizing action to help the school or the students. No wonder he falls below the Principal's radar. He never participates in any school activities or events. "Out of sight, out of mind". It is "bad teachers" like Damion that should be terminated but he never will be. For the students sake I hope that the AP and Principal wake up and jettison this "bad teacher" but I highly doubt it.


NYC Educator said...

I'm very careful writing about "bad teachers" nowadays. I wrote one column about them, and it was pounced upon by pro-charter and extreme right anti-union sites. It was true, but didn't support their conclusions, which were basically that all of us should pay for the sins of very few.

Anonymous said...

I want a job in that school. What, he isn't being hunted by the administration. That school sounds like the last school worth working for in NYC.

Angry Nog

p.s. Is Damion paid to care and stay late dealing with problems that are beyond his pay grade?

Sounds like Damion is just doing his job. Why fault him for surviving. What about an A.P. that has never issued a U. Sounds like maybe he is sane and also not a sadist.

Anonymous said...

Teachers and aspiring teachers might help each other by educating and supporting each other.

My sympathies, empathy, and strength and belief go out to all the teachers and other educators who are looking at hot summer days enduring the DoE kangeroo court. Each and every one of us has earned honor, and not this.

So, let us be good to one another. We are facing a chaotic and punishing 2010-2011 school year.


Chaz said...

Angry Nog:

This teacher is really the pits. He can't teach, he is a snitch, and you cannot depend on him for anything. As for the AP? You are right, he really is the problem by not "U" rating him.

Moriah Untamed said...

You have already heard my opinion on this, but I repeat: You are complaining about a man who cannot give you a U-rating, cannot terminate you, cannot destroy tenure, cannot harass teachers, cannot destroy public education.

You are a veteran, tenured teacher. You may very well receive your first unsatisfactory rating this coming school year. Damion won't be the one to give it to you.

Many teachers will be forced out of teaching next year, and not by Damion.

Don't waste your time worrying about fleas when you're being attacked by a pack of pit bulls.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Moriah.

Chaz said...


Of course you are right. I was just bringing up the injustice of the system and it is not what is best for the student.

Anonymous said...

What about "the bad principal?"

We all have a list of bad principals who are really milking the system.

How can we devise a system where we can post REAL names and REAL times when these people leave the building and screw their boyfriends for hours or make baby runs to the New Jersey suburbs during school hours? Are their time cards accessible?

Or how about all of those dirty, "bad" principals who are under investigation now?

No accountability? People, we have to get creative . . .

proofoflife said...

Sadly, I work in a school where there are several bad teachers. I mean exactly like Damion and worse. One teacher leaves the school building whenever she has the urge and has been spotted putting her very small special education class in her car! The list goes on and on. Angry Nog, I hope I never adopt your sentiment. Lazy, ass kissing , 'connected' teachers give all the hard working suckers a bad name. I personally confronted one of my AP's and asked her why she allowed this incompetence to continue. Her response was "there is nothing I can do about it". I reminded her that she could document. To which she responded "if I document one , I have to document all". I must really work in a school full of Damions if that's the case. Problem is there are too many incompetent administrators who look the other way for the Damions of the staff while the drones (like me) kill themselves and make the administration look good via our broken backs, no preps, no lunches or time to breath. My school did participate in the school wide bonus program and I was voted to sit on the compensation committee, Although the staff had agreed the money would be divided equally , I could see all the "get over" teachers that really didn't deserve a dime. Talk about resentments!

Anonymous said...

Proof Of Life,

Maybe after you get brought up on fabricated charges and then punished for no apparent reason you will see the light.

For one thing, after reading your blog it is fairly easy to predict that the powers that be, will come for you.

After having all your accomplishments nullified and being the target of those that are in charge, you might begin to understand that all of your ideology is for nought.

When you suss out that your standard of living and security will be stolen from you on the basis of lies, you might reflect on the fact that the reason you go to work is to earn a living.

Teaching is a job and also a calling. It doesn't matter to the suits how many people you have helped.

What matters to your overpaid and incompetent bosses is your salary and your age.

As soon as the expiration date is passed you will become the target of the edu-nazis.

You will have the same attitude as me, just give it time.


Angry Nog

Moriah Untamed said...

Proof of Life, Maybe you'll take Aesop's word for it. He was a GOOD teacher.

A father whose sons constantly quarrelled, asked them to bring him a bundle of sticks and then challenged each in turn to break the bundle over their knees, which they found impossible. He then split the bundle and showed how each individual stick could easily be broken. "United you are strong; quarrelling and separatedyou are weak," he said.

Moriah Untamed said...

Or maybe Will Dugan's word for it. I don't know who he is, but he makes a good point by rewriting the fable "Two Fellows and a Bear"


Anonymous said...

How is this issue resolved? There are many bad teachers out there that are being left alone and allowed to teacher, while the administration is going after a teacher they have targeted as a "bad teacher".

How do you identify a true bad teacher vs a "bad teacher" that has been targeted by administration? How does a school remove a true bad teacher if they have tenure without wasting a lot of time and money?

How do you hold administration responsible for the performance of teachers and the school?

If feel very bad for you. You are truly a very angry person and you must live a very sad life. Teachers should be teaching because they enjoy helping children. Of course, you have to make a living from it but helping children should be the larger reason.

If you have stopped loving the profession of teaching and loving to help children, please quit/retire.

proofoflife said...

For the record, I HAVE BEEN THERE, I HAVE DONE THAT! Last year I had one foot in the RR and my principal asked security ( my friends) if she could have me arrested as an EDP! I had to endure lies from Damions who said I pushed them down the stairs. I watched an ambulance pick up Damion because I gave her a "panic attack" by my very being. I had to come to a school where people stood in the halls talking shit (lies) about me on a daily basis. Damions husband was allowed in the building to follow me around. The list of what I had to endure is to vast to write on Chaz's blog. Bottom line was, not only was the principal orchastrating the entire charade but MY UNION WAS IN ON IT TOO!!!! They knew damn well what was going on and they did nada! They only stepped in when I wrote Randi a letter and begged, yes, begged for help! I agree with all those in the trenches that think our union may have sold us out , but Randi saved my life, and for that I will be grateful. Things have turned around I have a feeling the OSI warned my principal to back off. Some times things turn out for the better.

proofoflife said...

P.S. The most important moral of this fable is THAT I NEVER TOOK IT OUT ON THE CHILDREN! I would turn the other cheek and for that reason and that reason alone I was able to put one foot in front of the other and go to hell every day.

Moriah Untamed said...

Don't take it out on the children.
Don't take it out on the parents.
Don't take it out on the teachers.

They have no power and are only being used by corrupt administrators trained by Bloomberg and Klein.

The only way that children, parents, and teachers can gain power is to unite, and realistically, I don't see that happening.

I think Bloomberg has already won.

Chaz said...

Anon 8:42

I have no answers, except that you need to document as much as you can and embarrass the Administration when they go after you. Otherwise, there is nothing to do.


I agree with you about evil and vindictive principals. However, i don't believe OSI told your Principal to "back off". My guess is she so embellished the incident that OSI saw through the accusation and did not substantiate it.

Anonymous said...

Proof of Life and Chaz,

Just because I have been through the fire and am pragmatic does not make me a bad teacher. In fact, there is no suggestion that I am a bad teacher, except what you stated after reading my position.

Could it not be that my expertise in the field is good? Why does an opposing point of view that is a little more cutting, be an unsatisfactory rating in my vocation?

I speak from experience. As Aristotle said,
" Ask the man that has trodden the path before."

It is rather poor cricket to place ad hominem attacks on a person expressing a viewpoint.

But then, this is your blog old chap, so I don't expect to read this comment.

Play nice boys and girls.


Angry Nog

Chaz said...

ngry Nog:

I did not insult you or call you a bad teacher. I do understand the frustration you and many others, including myself, have in the classroom where teachers are not given the respect they deserve.

I can tell you that POL feels the same way and we would never attack you even if we may approach things differently.

Unknown said...

If my memory serves my right, the buck stops at the top! If the top folks are mucking it up big time, they should face consequences. They plenty of apologists and surrogates in the media and high places to give them that teflon glow, that arrogance!

What are the requisites for being a school district chancellor or CEO of a big city? What is needed to even submit a resume? No one asks if the person running the show is plain and simple incompetent for the job. I mean that with all seriousness.

In Chicago, it seems the schools of education are silent regarding the job done by our CEO Huberman. Why the silence? In Chicago, the U of Chicago, gets big bucks in a no bid contract to analyze and study the effectiveness of the Chicago Public Schools. Do they challenge the CEO on his record of incompetency? They know it is dysfunctional but are quiet. Poverty Pimps! I can say that schools of education who are preparing their pre-service teachers for the slaughter, would have some cojones to speak out!

There are benchmarks to measure the way a school district supports and builds professionalism and leadership capacity in their schools. I think we should start using them to judge our CEO's and Chancellors!