Sunday, August 11, 2019

Another Principal Gets Gonged

    OK, some of you younger dudes and dudettes might not get the reference to the title. The Gong Show was an acquired taste during my younger years. There were many amateur comedians, musicians and those with quirky skill sets that would go on and allowed to ‘entertain’ for at least 20 seconds. If they failed, the ‘entertainer’ would get gonged and a large Bo-Peep like staff would hook and drag the wanna be celebrity off the stage. The vast majority of acts were abysmal (and I’m being kind). I never thought of the show until I became an ATR. All through my 5 1/2 years of being an ATR, I thought of the Gong Show at least once a week. It was always on a  Monday afternoon.

   Monday afternoons are the worst day of the week for teachers and ATRs. We had to stay late and in many schools it was 4 PM (and some even went to 4:30 against the union contract).  It wasn’t only the staying late that was so bad, it was having to listen to the presenters or the principal, of whatever hellhole I was in for that particular warehouse stint. Rarely did I ever partake in or witness a meaningful staff development in which anyone learned anything. I sat through meetings where principals denigrated the staff on every possible facet of their teaching skills and even their personal appearance and backgrounds. I’ve heard principals publicly denigrate the Uft, Republicans, Democrats, the wealthy, those who live in the suburbs, White folks, ‘Spanish’ folks, poor Black folks and teachers in general. I used to have a friend who became a superintendent and he said when he was a teacher he hated the principal, the administration and the kids. When he became an AP, he hated the kids, the teachers and the principal. Then, when he became a principal he hated the kids, the teachers and the APs. Then, when he became a superintendent, he hated everyone and he said it made his life much easier. I honestly believe it’s the same for most administrators on their way up the ladder. Listening to the APs, principals and visiting sadists, I would picture the Gong Show in my mind. Oh, how I wished for a gong! I remember doodling GONG on a piece of paper during one of the torture sessions and the teacher next to me shook his head disgustedly and said, “I’m hitting mine the second I get in the door.” In his delirium he must have seen the word ‘BONG’. I honestly felt the need for something stronger, and looking at the dazed faces in the crowd, I realized half of them didn't wait to get home. Well, today I read the staff of one such school actually ‘Gonged’ out their sadist in charge. How did they do it?!

   Well they took a vote. A vote of no confidence, added with complaints to everyone. It worked and it appears it’s not a unique aberration. The DOE’s hook is dragging the tyrants off stage. Bravo to the staffs.  I would think the UFT would be touting these actions, advertising them and encouraging all schools in need of a Gong to do the same. It isn’t and hasn’t played an integral part in these actions. (They’ll claim otherwise, of course- they need to get someone to believe they actually do something.) I believe the UFT has a deal with the CSA, and even though Mulgrew could make a wonderful Chuck Barris, he prefers to stay in the background  - checking for electronic bugs and playing it safe, while every teacher I know is being harassed, terminated, quitting, retiring, being discontinued, ATRed or having an on going mental health crisis.

   When that first Monday rears its ugly head, (and I’m sorry to say it’ll be here soon), remember the Gong Show and ‘Gong’ that ‘entertainer’ out of your life.

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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.