Thursday, November 20, 2014
The Field Supervisor From Hell.
This is a true story that has happened this school year. I have kept the names of the teacher and field supervisor out of this post to protect the ATR from retaliation.
The story starts innocently enough. The field supervisor, a retired middle school principal from the Bronx, formally observed the teacher in her contact area (Biology) and gave her a "satisfactory rating". End of story? Not quite.
A month later the field supervisor showed up for an informal observation while the teacher was assigned to cover a foreign language class. The ATR was given work by the absent teacher to hand out to the class. She handed out the work and walked around the room to make sure the students were on task. While she is not a foreign language teacher she did offer assistance to students who seemed to be struggling with the assignment. The ATR took attendance and because some students arrived quite late to class, the ATR took the time to take attendance again to ensure accuracy.
At the end of the class the field supervisor told the ATR that her classroom pedagogy was "unsatifactory". Why you ask? Here's why according to the field supervisor.
First, he wanted the teacher to expand the teacher directed assignment beyond the material given to the students to complete, despite the ATR having no real knowledge of the subject.
Second, the field supervisor complained that some of the students were not on task and were talking. Really? How unrealistic is it for an ATR who has never seen these students before, expect them to exibit perfect behavior.
Third, The field supervisor claimed the lesson was disjointed. However, the lesson came from the absent teacher and not the ATR. How can he blame the ATR for somebody else's lesson?
Fourth, taking attendance twice was a waste of time.
Finally, the field supervisor saw no common core or rigor in the lesson. Really? Didn't the lesson come from the absent teacher? What was the ATR to do, ignore the lesson and risk being insubordinate or follow the school's direction and hand out the absent teacher's assignment? Moreover, the ATR is a Science teacher and how can she add common core based rigor in a subject she has little knowledge of?
This abuse of the observation process by the field supervisors must stop and the ATRs should only be observed in their content specialty. Being observed in a subject that the ATR is unfamiliar with is wrong and harmful which must be stopped by the union.
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ATRs should not be observed at all! How can anyone teach a class of students they don't know? We should be rated by each school we visit.
How the hell can the union stand by and allow this harassment to continue?????????
I can't believe how absurd that story is. I'm very sad to believe it anyway.
sounds like something pathetic Stark would do too - I got observed on Cafeteria duty!! I also got observed out of license giving out the real teacher's work. He should be fired not me!
I'd like to clarify the nature of the problem with this field supervisor. He sees a formal observation, wherein the ATR has advance notice that they will be observed actually teaching a lesson--that they wrote--to a class in their license area, while the regular teacher looks on from the back of the room, as the same thing as a COVERAGE which was never intended to be a LESSON.
He fully expects ATRs to TEACH the coverage material with which they have been provided by the class's regular but absent teacher. Even if it's completely out of their license area, even if they had no idea of what subject class(es) they would be covering until they walked into the school that morning, even if they never met those students before in their life. He expects ATRs to carry "generic lessons in all subject areas" which they are to TEACH the class. Never mind that the regular class teacher left material that they want to be given out to the students and collected.
As I'm sure many of you do, if the absent teacher did not leave any coverage material, you approach the departmental AP for such material. If the AP is not available, colleagues of the absent teacher will usually eagerly provide you with appropriate coverage material. If, in the extremely rare case that none of the above has happened, you can find a textbook or review book yourself and copy something suitable. In the almost-never-happens situation, wherein you can't get anything by the methods previously described here, I guess you'd utilize one of the generic lessons you keep on your person when reporting to a school, the ones you're "supposed" to have.
Now for a reality check. From my experience, an ATR is doing well indeed if they can get the students to complete the work left by their absent teacher. That they don't litter the floor with the sheets or use them as paper wads.
Ever try to teach kids you don't know some material which might be in the subject of that class, but is not about the exact thing they're currently studying? "We aren't learning this now, so we don't have to listen!" is the usual refrain heard. They're currently studying the Emancipation Proclamation, so they stopper their ears at your attempts to talk to them about the Industrial Revolution. They're learning about cells now, so they are totally NOT going to take any notes, or even listen to a lesson about ecology. Yet THIS field supervisor absolutely expects his ATRs to do precisely this.
He might as well ask his ATRs to walk up the side of a building, just start walking vertically without any equipment, as demand that they TEACH the classes they are assigned to cover, regardless of the subject and even within the license area of the teacher, if the lesson is out of sync.
true - atrs should not be observed - unless all field supervisors do a demo lesson first
The DOE is using an intimidation tactic to get people to quit. The union knows full well what's going on . I believe this is what was meant when Mulgrew said ," We'll help those who don't belong in the profession -out". All the union has to do is file a grievance - an ATR should only be judged on time and attendance. We have no school and no class and are usually out of license area. This is the second year I have been an ATR and have never had a class in my field. Many schools I go to I basically babysit - try to keep them from throwing paper balls, textbooks, and anything else at each other or out the window. I usually end up by the door to try to keep them in the room and keep the cutters (from other classes) out who figure the teacher is absent. Often a 45 minute period will feel like 2 weeks. Usually if I call a dean I'm threatened for being a "snitch" and hear "suck my d--k". Of course the student is returned to class, warning me I better watch my back. If I get a scumbag like that ATR supervisor, I'm going to completely ignore him. I'm also pulling out my phone to record him. They have no real authority, it's just a tactic that means absolutely nothing. The union needs to put a stop to it. Instead of worrying and addressing social issues in Missouri and Mexico they should be doing something for the people who pay their salaries. Portelos wants to march on the DOE, but I think we should do so against the UFT. I'm much more upset that the union is not stopping something that could be shut down over a period of a few days.
I thought the AP, Mr. Woodman would have retired by now.
I asked the field supervisor, once I recovered from the initial shock of his ridiculous-ness, to please MODEL for me what he wants to see during a coverage. He immediately replied that he "had no time to do that". Hmmm.
This field supervisor has told me that he intends to visit me AGAIN Thanksgiving Week. He'll get the same result. Or maybe not, since I've been assigned to sit in the teachers lounge every day and haven't been assigned to cover any classes.
We started exposing these field supervisors in a more organized way on ATRAlliance.org. We received emails that some superintendents are helping remove ridiculous observations like this from the teacher's file. Lean on the district rep and superintendent and share the names of the supervisors on the site.
I cannot understand the sick and warped mentality of some individuals who are in positions of authority. Do they get some twisted thrill from making people's lives a living hell? How do people like that sleep at night, knowing that they have the power to destroy a person's career and livelihood? Have a mortgage? Your kid is in the middle of getting his braces done? School payments? Car breaks down? Obviously, these POS don't give a s#$!t.
I was given an S observation by my supervisor. I was told by the AP that I would doing a leave replacement and that I would be given the materials the following week. I believed her and left my materials at home (which I hadn't used once in that school in six weeks). I was assigned to art class with no lesson plans left, no art materials, no portfolios to work on, etc. I have a lesson and my supervisor who had dropped in have me a U because she said I had no lesson plans - the AP lied and said she never said she said I would be doing a leave replacement. Once again, dealing with the lowest of the low.
We updated the link to document and expose. Please share Field Supervisor http://ow.ly/3uWEVP
This supervisor just struck again today on the same ATR. Richard Marino brought with him Kathy Marra
The most outrageous part of being observed by a Field Supervisor is that they were managers of failed schools. If they could not orchestrate their own team and get results, why would anyone want them to manage atrs? it's a set up! Thanks Randi!
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