There is some confusion on what the ATR rights and responsibilities are when doing their weekly assignments at a school. Too many times I am hearing that ATRs are being used in duties that no teacher in the school are doing. Why the union has not printed an easy to read "ATR Bill of Rights" is troubling. It's as if the union rather not let ATRs know what they are required to do and what are not appropriate duties. While, for the present, I am in a Provisional position in an excellent school for the school year and don't have to travel to schools weekly, I do understand the frustration of not knowing what an ATR responsibility is.and hope to clarify this somewhat in this post.
ATRs are teachers: That means that you have the rights of the teachers in your school. You have a lunch, preparation, and professional period just like all other teachers. If the other teachers meet ot tutor during the professional period so should you if asked.
ATRs should be paid for six periods: Many schools try to give ATRs six periods and unless the school is willing to pay a coverage/per session for the sixth period the ATR should seek out the Chapter Leader to file a grievance if the school refuses to take away the sixth period. An exception is when the classroom teacher has a 4-6 schedule where one day the teacher has four periods and another day six periods. Since the teacher does not get a sixth period pay boost, the ATR does not either.
ATRs should not be doing cafeteria duty: Almost all schools are pushing cafeteria duty on the ATRs and that is a shame. In some cases the ATRs are doing five classes and cafeteria duty! Unless cafeteria duty is a circular six assignment for all teachers, the ATR should see the Chapter Leader about having the cafeteria duty removed from his or her schedule. In no case should the ATR do more than one circular six assignment and that includes cafeteria duty or. hall patrol. Clerical work is usually not a teacher duty and you can refuse to do it but most ATRs don't seem to mind and if you do, tell the Chapter Leader to eliminate that assignment..
ATRs should have a bathroom key: Many ATRs complain that the school claims they do not have extra bathroom keys and the ATR is at the mercy of other teachers to use the teacher's bathroom. The Chapter Leader should be making sure that each ATR has a bathroom key during their wweekly assignments.
ATRs should have one time schedule in mufti-session schools: Some high schools require ATRs to call in for their schedule, early or late. The ATR must remind the school that they are on one schedule only and should call up on Friday and let the payroll Secretary or APO know that.
Meet the Chapter Leader: One of the first things an ATR should do is contact the Chapter Leader and make sure their rights are being met. While it is true that some Chapter Leaders are "in bed with the Administration" most are not and are advocates for the staff, including the ATRs. The Chapter Leader is the first line of defense against school Admiinistration abuses and the union does encourage the Chapter Leaders to make the ATRs feel welcome and represented during their weekly stay.
Leave a good impression: It is no secret that ATRs have a bad reputation and principals will find any excuse not to hire an ATR based upon this false belief started by former Chancellor Joel Klein letter to the principals back in 2006 and enhanced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. However, if you are reliable, dependable, available, and a team player sometimes the Principal will remember you and give you a chance to show your classroom ability for a long term assignment. That is how I obtained my provisional assignment at the school I am in now.
The "mandated Interview": An ATR does not need to go to a job interview except if it is within their own District. However, as a curtsey, you should respond to the interview by politely refusing to meet with the Principal, unless you really want to go to the school.
As An ATR You Do Not Need To Accept An offer to fill a vacancy or long-term leave replacement. The ATR Agreement plainly states that both sides must think it is a good fit to fill a vacancy. Therefore, as an ATR you can refuse the school's offer to fill the position, if the school is not appropriate for you. However, it is best if you simply tell the Principal you don't want the position and usually the Principal will release you rather than waiting for the union to get you out of the school.
Philip Nobile in the NYCATR blog made some of these points previously as I did as well but this post was to try to put everything together as an outline that all ATRs and Chapter Leaders can follow and I hope this helps and pushes the union to make an offical document that can be given to all ATRs, Chapter Leaders, and principals on how ATRs can be used in their schools.
The union really needs to publish an "ATR Bill of Rights" that tells the ATR what they can or cannot do in their weekly assignments.