Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Light at the End of the Tunnel, pt. 2

     I finally made my way through that dark tunnel and am on the other side. My other retired teacher buddies tell me 'you won't even miss it and you won't care anymore'. I don't miss being a babysitting ATR, not even one iota. I honestly can't say one good thing about it. The teachers stuck in the ATR pool are living lives of quiet desperation. That's not to say I haven't seen many appointed teachers living with the same internal and seemingly eternal scream. Many ATRs and teachers discuss their careers like convicts in a hellish jail. "How much time you have in?", "When you getting out?", "Keep your head down - don't let them notice you!" "Don't complain about anything, especially if you're in the right." "Don't trust anyone - especially the union!" "You need a good lawyer at the ready at all times!" Even with all that nonsense I do miss real teaching at a real school. Teaching is supposed to be a fulfilling career, not something that makes you want to jump out the window or start experimenting with hard drugs. Remembering that is important - getting to the point where you can walk is now all important - it's the only thing left to the ATR that he or she can control. Leaving the ATR forever is a joyous thing. Some told me I was lucky. It wasn't luck, I earned my retirement. Some tell me I wouldn't  have my retirement without the union, but there would be no union without us and our decades of dues. Both my parents were/are staunch union supporters and Democrats. I'm still both but I am disenchanted. I think it's extremely important to have a union, but if the union continues to alienate and discriminate among its minority rank and file members like ATRs, what good is it? If everyone at 'our' union takes a loyality oath and votes in unison, what good is that? If every UFT president is a pick from the former president, (regardless of experience, credentials or affinity to the position), what good is that? Even after saying that I will continue to pay dues and vote for those that I preceive as willing to try to change the UFT. The caucus stuff is ridiculous - look at the individual and vote for the best person. The fighting between these anti-Unity groups only insures that Unity and its deeply un-democratic stranglehold of power will continue. The time to do something is now, otherwise, for you and your fellow educators, that light at the end of the tunnel may be an oncoming train. Cheers, Happy Hanukkah and a very Merry Christmas.


  1. I had mixed feelings when I retired but I know now it is the best thing for me. I love my free time, lingering over coffee in the morning, doing anything I like all day and traveling. You earned retired now go enjoy it. Let me know if I can help in anyway.


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