Thursday, February 26, 2015
Why Are Teachers Taking More Days Off? Its The Increased Stress And Lower Morale Stupid!
The New York Post published an article that showed an astonishing 16% of the teachers took eleven or more days off during the 2013-14 school year. The DOE and the union couldn't explain the 10% increase in teachers taking more than the contractual ten sick days off. Of course the clueless Eric Nadelstern had his own idea and blamed in on retiring teachers who decided to take the extra days off. However, the truth is that the increasing stress of teaching in the classroom and the demonetization of teachers by the media and our Governor has added to that stress. The result is morale for New York City teachers is probably at an all time low and that's why teachers are taking more sick days than they are allowed in any one school year.
When Bill de Blasio became Mayor and appointed Carmen Farina as Chancellor, UFT President Michael Mulgrew proclaimed that there was a different tone out of Tweed. However, its still the "gotcha mentality" when it comes to the classroom. Administrators are still dumping outrageous amount of paperwork on teachers, questioning their scholarship when teachers don't pass enough of their students, and failing to change much of the Bloomberg/Klein inspired policies that make teaching in the classroom a hostile environment.
School after school I travel to, the teachers tell me the same thing. "I can't wait to get enough years in the system so I can retire". While all the teachers I encounter (there are a few exceptions) really care about the students, they just can't take the abuse anymore as the mind numbing mandates that emanate out of the DOE and implemented by the school administration makes going to work a chore. Moreover, its no fun for the classroom teacher who must spend their own money on supplies and even copying paper not to mention the totally ridiculous professional development that wastes our time for 90 minutes every Monday and 60 minutes every Tuesday. Finally, having the largest class sizes in the State only adds to the already stressful classroom environment as Governor Cuomo has shorted the City $2.5 billion dollars that was to reduce class sizes.
If the City and Union wants to reduce the amount of "sick time" teachers take, then make the classroom a less stressful and hostile place by providing the necessary resources, reduce class size, and most importantly, let teachers teach that best help their students rather than being yanked around by the DOE mandates that are passed down to the schools that simply add unnecessary paperwork and added stress to the job.