The Days of Discontent

It's that time of year when reorganization sheets are circulating NYC schools. With many principals playing politics and patronage with classroom assignments it's always bound to get ugly. With budgets getting slashed all over the place things were bound to get even uglier. Having heard my position was eliminated last Monday, I actually felt like I was lucky. No surprises for me. My colleagues on the other hand...not so much. Few silences have ever been as uncomfortable as the silence in our auditorium as people absorbed the information on the dreaded reorganization sheet.

As I said, I was free from this gut-wrenching experience today, and for that I'm thankful. Still, I was reminded of what a bizarre system I'm working within. There is a book full of rules and regulations that DOE staff must follow in all situations, including the reorganization of classes. Yet, each year in countless schools around the city, teachers are left stunned when they see that they're moving from 4th grade to Kindergarten or some other such shock.

What's most insane about this process is that with all the avenues of recourse teachers have via the Union, the only real recourse is none. Teachers are allowed to file grievances for numerous reasons related to class assignments. However, with principals looking to slash costs, who among the staff (especially amongst the newbies) is going to stick their neck out? In reality, there only two possible outcomes. File a grievance, get a placement that follows protocol and have your principal despise you for the malcontent you are. Or, suck it up and hope for the best. Isn't it great NYC teachers have one of the biggest, strongest unions watching our back?

Once again, I can't say how lucky I feel to be free from this experience this year. Last year I was placed in a kindergarten class for which I was not licensed to nor interested in teaching. The last two weeks of school felt like the wind had gotten knocked out of me. In a way it had, because I had big plans for my next year. Luckily, I chose option two, and things worked out when a teacher left and I ended up back teaching 4th grade. But, relying on luck is never really a good option.

Comments

You will find something at a much better school. Open market is full of vacancies right now. I've been dabbling with it myself.

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