Thursday, December 28, 2017

Fight Injustice

Sorry gramps. Drive a school bus or something.

          I didn't leave the house today. I was freezing my keister off in Poughkeepsie and reading about one of my ex-students who has become a minor celebrity in Europe. Then I started thinking about all my other students, many who have become very successful. Some of them I still stay in contact with. It's a wonderful feeling to be thanked and recognized for a former student's success. When I was in most of my former schools, where I was permanently appointed, I was treated with respect. I throughly enjoyed teaching. This is very different than the reality I currently find myself. Twenty four year old teachers are snapping orders at me, (they are happy there's at least one person lower on the totem pole than themselves). I have to explain in a around about way that I have been teaching longer than they have been alive. I don't say it like that, but thankfully I look a little younger than I am and usually become friendly with these teachers. I do everything I can to help them. Its still a humiliating circumstance to find oneself in during the waning years of one's career. The kids constantly tell me 'to shut the fuck up or suck their dick' because I’m not a real teacher. The union rep is often friendly, but of little to no help. They often don't know the rules and could potentially create more problems than solve them.

      It's in this context I also read with interest that there may be a class action suit, if there is enough interest from ATR’s concerning age discrimination. ATR‘s are overwhelmingly over 50 years old, are at the higher echelons of the pay scale and are the most experienced teachers (20 plus years) in the system. We have come mostly from closing schools and are branded as subpar humanoids. We have been shuffled from school to school for random amounts of time to sub. Being a substitute teacher is not something I want to do. I have two Masters degrees and whenever I was offered coverages as a teacher I turned them down. I turned them down because kids always regarded these classes as playtime and were apt to act the fool even if they knew the teacher. Imagine how it is when they don't know you and assume you are a sub, there for the day. We are frequently denied access to restrooms, staff lounges, and basic human courtesies - including many that most teachers take for granted. If we complain to the UFT we are told we are lucky to have a job. Many of us are treated with undisguised distain. Many of us teach about fighting injustices in the world, but if we allow injustices to be thrown on our own shoulders without doing anything to fight it, we deserve what we get. Does this suit have any merit? When ATRs were offered a buyout last June, one of the requirements was to sign a waiver not to sue. That in and of itself should give you an adequate answer. Our union had filed such a suit on our behalf  and dropped it. I have never heard a satisfactory explanation as to why. If you are an ATR you have a obligation to yourself. By that I mean, you as an individual have rights and should not be treated in such an obviously humiliating, illegal and disgraceful manner simply because of your age, pay scale and experience. 

     Here's the link

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Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.