Saturday, October 22, 2011

Do You Know Know Your Rights As An ATR?

There seems to be some confusion on what the rights of the ATRs are. Most schools appear to be using the ATRs appropriately as teachers in a classroom or doing circular six duties that other teachers do. However, some schools are making ATRs do the work of school aides or doing clerical work which violates the teacher contract. A few schools are requiring the ATRs to do all day hall duty or Cafeteria duty which would also appear to violate the contract. Most Chapter Leader (CL) have failed to meet with the ATRs despite union assurances that the CLs were told to greet the ATR (In my first three schools I met only one, my first school) and despite union assurances, having CLs represent the weekly ATR does not appear to be working. My District Representative (DR) always seems to be on the run and it is difficult to contact him on a timely basis. That brings up the question what are the ATR's rights when showing up to a school for a weekly assignment? This post is an attempt to answer those questions.

First and foremost, ATRs are teachers and can only do duties assigned to teachers! They should not be doing the job of school aides or clerical work unless the school's appointed teachers are doing such duties, subject to the School Based Option (SBO). That is why the ATR must make immediate contact with the CL to ensure that the Administration does not abuse the ATR.

Second, the ATRs must be given a lunch and a prep period and, if possible, be given a bathroom key.

Third, the school the ATR is assigned to cannot loan the ATR out to other schools without written authorization from Central to the ATR.

Fourth, In mufti-session schools the ATR must be assigned to one session only!

Fifth, an ATR can refuse a "mandated interview" outside their district by simply emailing the reply to the person who sent the email or the Principal of the school. Do not let the words "mandated interview" or "as an ATR you must attend". These are just scare tactics and if it is outside the District you have the right to refuse to go. However, if it is in your District you are required to attend.

Sixth, if a Principal offers you a long-term or vacant position and you do not believe it is a "good fit" for whatever reason, you have the right to refuse the offer and proceed to the next weekly assignment. Remember, you are not required to accept a long term or vacant position in a school that you are uncomfortable in, just say no thank you.

Seventh, if you are asked to cover an additional class, you should make sure that the school pays you for the coverage. Do not let them claim that you are required to give them a "free coverage". Inform the school that you already did a "free coverage" at a previous school and you would only be too happy to cover an additional class as a paid coverage and "get it in writing"!

Eighth, yes, in theory you can be observed for classroom management issues even if you are not teaching in your subject area. However, it is highly unlikely that an Administrator will bother to observe you if you are there only a week. It would be too much trouble to observe the ATR, write up an observation, and meet with the ATR. Certainly the observation will not be a formal one where a pre-conference meeting is required. Furthermore, your file is probably in the last school you had an appointed position in so what does the Administrator do with the observation?

Ninth, you can go back to the school you were excessed from for a weekly assignment. Furthermore, due to DOE incompetence, even teachers who were charged and removed from schools can end up back in those schools for a weekly assignment.

Finally, the school must give the ATR a list of the school rules that students must abide by, be it a dress code, use of cellphones, or discipline codes. Lack of knowledge about school rules can put an ATR in a position that could lead to disciplinary action. Take it upon yourself to contact the CL about the school rules.

Remember ATRs are teachers and can only preform duties that are assigned to the appointed teachers in the school that the ATR is assigned to. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the school's administrators to provide meaningful lessons to the ATRs to give to the students. It is not the responsibility of the weekly ATRs to develop lessons for the class!

More information about the rights of the ATR can be found in the "ATR Agreement". By the way if I have missed any ATR rights please feel free to let me know in the comment section of this post. Knowledge is power and the more we know the more powerful we become.


Anonymous said...

Thank you,

I think this list is useful.

Note that the UFT has added an ATR item to the Chapter Leader "to do" list in the weekly update. Hopefully when an ATR finds the CL with a question, it's at the same time as the CL is finding the ATR to welcome them to the school.


Anonymous said...

I have been in 3 different schools so far and I have never been welcomed or sought out by the Chapter Leader. I spent all last week stuck in a detention room with unruly students in a school where I found there was no discipline! Send them down to the detention room to fool around...yeah that's punishment! Anyway, I think that it is a dean's duty in most schools. I have also been asked to file, answer phones and have not covered a class in weeks??? WTF is this crap??

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:17

Since teachers do a Dean's job, and work in a discipline room it is an appropriate use. However, filing is clerical and not appropriate. Answering phones would also appear not to be an appropriate use for an ATR.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, if a school is a hell hole, I would welcome filing and answering phones (just saying).d

But I was told by an ATR that they were NOT allowed to go to the school they were excessed from.

And this person attended an ATR/UFT meeting.

There seems to be a lot of misinformation around, and yes I do think all chapter leaders at every school should make sure the ATR's are supported and at schools where ATRs are not even interviewed for short-term positions, grievances should be filed immediately.

The CLs are the only eyes and ears at schools, and if they are NOT doing this, shame on them.

Anonymous said...

I hope I don't have to go to the school where I was excessed from! There is bad blood after I filed a grievance! And you are so right that in some schools clerical work would be preferable to abuse as a sub in a "bad" school!

chaz said...

Anon 5:08

Sorry to burst your bubble but I already know of two ATRs who have ended up in their old schools and the union told them that the DOE can do this.

By the way, I am not blaming the CLs in dealing with the ATRs. Some CLs, especially in the large schools, have enough to do without adding the ATRs to their already crowded plate. However, at this stage, the union wants the CLs to take on this responsibility and until a better system is worked out, the CL is the contact point for the ATRs.

Anonymous said...

Do you know if we will be resent to some schools or will each week be new?

Chaz said...

Anon 8:57:

It depends on what District you are in. In the smaller Districts, with limited middle schools, you can be sent to the same school again.

Anonymous said...

Chaz, y

You are not bursting my bubble, I am just telling you what one ATR told me. She also told me she has to be assigned to her license area which is reading.

I am not an ATR, but as a former CL, I feel it is the duty of the CL to make sure subs aren't hired before ATRs are interviewed because that is the agreement.

I know for a fact that a brand new sub was hired for a maternity leave position at my former school, and not one ATR was ever interviewed or considered. This is where IMO a CL is supposed to put on the breaks. And if it's too much work for a CL, then how will the union know if the agreement is being honored?

Yes, some schools are big, but a CL can make sure a standard letter is given to each ATR with their name and contact information just in case something does come up. An ATR wrote on Pissed Off's post that she is a chemistry HS teacher who was sent to an elementary school and told to cover kindergarten. I don't know if that is rampant, but it does seem pretty stupid to me because I am sure there must be plenty of elementary teachers in the ATR pool.

Honestly, for some it would be easier for ATRs to be assigned to their old school. Maybe not all. But then again, this whole ATR thing never should have been negotiated in the first place.

The CL knows damn well what positions are "hidden". They have a duty to report it to their DR. What the DR does about it is another story.

chaz said...

Anon 7:38

I do agree with you on all your points and at a minimum the CL should be contacting the DR about hidden vacancies and many are not. The real question is why haven't the union brought this violation of the ATR agreement to the press? Makes you think that something else may be going on behind the member's backs.

Anonymous said...

They want us to quit.

veteran teacher said...

the union and the city would like us to go away. there are close to 2000 of us.

i had a problem in my 1st school where an AP told me 'you don't want to be an ATR b/c as administrators, we look down on hiring ATRs' When I told him that sounded awfully discriminatory, he backed off and did not say a word for me the next few weeks.

My advice to ATRs would be to go to each school, do what they tell you and if there is a problem, tell them that you are being harassed because you are an ATR. They will back off quickly

After This Revenge! said...

You missed the ATRs C6 assignment.

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Anonymous said...

ATRs don't have much right as long as you have a billionaire in control. He can afford to pay people to see things his way even when you're right.

Anonymous said...

Who is that worrying about clerical work? Now here is what you do. Take the whole week to do the simplist think. Better yet, if it's filing make sure it's filed incorrectly. Now, don't you feel much better?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:42

Great idea since teachers can't do clerical work and you cannot be "U" rated on the job you did.

Anonymous said...

If you voted for Michael MulgrewI have no sympathy for you being an ATR. He is the one who allowed this situation to happen.

Chaz said...

I voted for James Eterno so don't blame me.

Anonymous said...

It really doesn't matter who someone voted for. It is important that our union leadership be responsive to all their members.

With regard to the ATRs the leadership is not listening and that is a shame.

Anonymous said...

Atrs have no rights.
We cannot vote. We cannot get per session. We are treated worde than subs. At least a sub gets to stay in the same school. Vacancies are being concealed in every school that I have been at. They are using subs and coverages to conceal them.
At one school they call me at six am to tell me when to be there. This is a violation of the contract. I have been assigned school aide duties in violation of the contract. When called, the uft doesnt respond. This constitutes constructive discharge and an extremely hostile work environment.

It is brutally clear that the uft is the hr enforcement arm of the doe. For this insult ,we pay the parasites at the uft through the nose.
It is time to take both parties to court.

What a terrible situation for the atr pool. Where are our union brothers and sisters. Why is the membership silent. Anyone can become an atr. If you are a veteran this will be your lot. If you stay in this horrible system this will happen to you. The silence from the members is deafening.

When it happens to you, then you will understand the degrading kafkaesque situation that has befallen you. For the silence of the rank and file, this is not a matter of if, but when. All of you will deserve it.

The uft lost its legitimacy decades ago. They talk about collaboration. So did the Vichy. Morally bankrupt, they will continue to cause us grevious harm. Occupy the uft!

Sick of being hurt.