Sunday, November 13, 2016

Advice for Herding Cats and ATRs

Please don't compare me to an ATR.
     I'm happy to hear that MORE/ICE are having a meeting with ATRs. Many of us are very frustrated and in different places emotionally, pragmatically and in a variety of surreal ways. Some of us are social workers, guidance counselors, school psychologists and teachers. Some of us just became ATRs, while other have started their second decade in the pool. Some have been targeted. Some are are angry, while others are complacent. Some want to be permanently placed, while others prefer to rotate. Some of us became ATRs via 3020a hearings, while most became ATRs via school closings. I remember a quote from Norm likening organizing ATRs to herding cats. Well, we are all very different, but have some important similarities - just like cats.
   The vast majority of us are seasoned professionals, middle aged and have never been rated negatively. We have not been adequately represented by the UFT in an open and transparent manner. We have never been asked for input into negotiations that may have a major affect on our working conditions. Indeed, we aren't even notified of negotiations and only hear it second or third hand. We are an after thought. We are ignored - or when pressed, lied to and openly discriminated against. There has been a highly effective marketing campaign that branded us as sub-par teachers. The demographics that would prove the veracity of that branding has not been released, even after a suit by the NY Post. An easy fix for Mulgrew- release the info from the UFT. Instead he put provisions into the 2014 contract that made it much easier to terminate ATRs. When commenting he said these provisions would make it easier for those who shouldn't be teaching to find a different career. When ATRs attempted to start a chapter we were refused, the UFT saying that this would solidify a temporary group. A group that is over a decade old, with no end in sight. These are the items we have in common. The most egregious items however have not been listed. Rotating from school to school (we haven't  been told how long this year), subbing in classes out of our license area and sometimes out of our grade level. We are treated like defacto homeless babysitters. Often no place to put our belongings, no restroom key, no rights to school parking and often we are treated with an undisguised level of distain by everyone.
   My advice when herding cats or ATRs is to find common ground and get consensus from that starting point. Thank you MORE/ICE for taking this iniative.

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