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Reaching Fellows

June 27, 2008 pm30 4:31 pm

Given that the Fellows, as a group, are indifferent or even hostile to the union, how could we possibly talk to them? Organize them?

Before the union meets the Fellows, they have already been carefully inoculated against us. That first summer is key.

And what happens in the first summer? They get bossed around by the Fellows and the DoE and their university. They face arbitrary decisions, rules that don’t make sense. They get assignments they don’t want. They work/study brutally long hours, with massive amounts of homework.

And they do it together, in groups of 25 or so.

Wouldn’t it be nice for us (current teachers and our union) to find ways to reach these small groups of fellows? to have conversations? to clear up misconceptions before they occur?

They are being badly treated. This is the moment when they may be first open to hearing from the union. This is the moment when the Do Not Apply list, if it existed, would be most useful.

And they are sitting together in groups. Can’t be that hard to find them, right?

Reaching fellows with a pro-union message, giving them advice, survival skills, saving them from signing up at career-ending schools, this can and should be done.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. avoicein permalink
    June 28, 2008 am30 7:44 am 7:44 am

    My co author is a fellow. She talked about some of the indoctrination that the fellows go through. She describes a large meeting in which they were given pep talks about how they were the hope of the system
    and how veteran teachers won’t like you because you’re fresh and full of ideas, blah, blah, blah.
    What I find most interesting is that Randi Weingarten was sitting right there while the speaker spouted this-and she let it all happen.

  2. June 29, 2008 am30 12:06 am 12:06 am

    Randi was certainly glad to be there, to get the chance to speak to Fellows (would it have been better if we didn’t have that chance?)

    But as I have been putting it forth, the big meeting doesn’t really matter. It’s the personal contact, the small groups, the answering questions, the dispelling myths.

    By the way, did I read that your co-author was quitting?

  3. avoicein permalink
    June 29, 2008 pm30 4:24 pm 4:24 pm

    Randi didn’t speak to the fellows, I believe, which was my concern. She just kind of stood there, and in my opinion, through silence, supported the rhetoric.
    My co-author is taking a leave starting in September.

  4. June 29, 2008 pm30 5:48 pm 5:48 pm

    Got it. In past years she gave a little speech.

    In the end, what happens at induction day or whatever they call it doesn’t matter nearly as much as what happens the first day of school.

  5. learnersinherit permalink
    June 29, 2008 pm30 10:52 pm 10:52 pm

    Hi- this is the co-author. My major concern about the Fellows is that we are given this weird view of ourselves and then once the school year starts, we have to struggle with reality. The union should be a part of the Fellows indoctrination as much as possible because when the fit hits the shan it is the union we turn to NOT the Fellows program. Those who run the Fellows Program are ill equipped to handle anything- and it makes sense because they are run by the very system that has failed the students.

    Randi did just stand there during the speech. She spoke later on but her sentiments echoed that of previous speakers. She did not talk about unity. She spoke about change- the Fellows were the change our students deserve. She is a Republican in Democratic clothing.

    I am taking a leave not because I want to run away from teaching but because financially it is best for my family.

  6. June 30, 2008 am30 8:43 am 8:43 am

    I think the UFT needs to reach the fellows independently of the NYCTF office. Survival skills, what to expect, protect yourself, things to extend your career… We have a lot to say, but we have not been saying it.

    The Fellows office is poorly run, and we should not associate ourselves with their poor treatment of the fellows, nor with their “marginal competence.”

    It’s not that hard to reach fellows during the pre-service summer – they are all grouped up and tend to socialize in clumps, too. They desperately want good information about the system they are getting into, and can sense that they aren’t getting it from the NYCTF.

    I read about your decision. Best of luck.


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