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Teaching Fellows – October notes

October 14, 2008 am31 6:30 am

A few small items, followed by brief comments.

1. The DoE over-engaged Teaching Fellows this summer, leaving a significant number without placement in September.

2. In addition, at least one was recently added to the corps of ATRs – Absence Teacher Reserves – essentially subs. Here’s the message that was posted on the Fellows’ message board:

I am a Cohort 16 Fellow and due to the budget cuts, my school was forced to eliminate 4-6 teachers. As a recent hire, I am one of those teachers. I was only told about this yesterday (Friday) and my last day will be sometime this upcoming week (probably Monday). By the time the principal told me, the Fellow’s office was closed so I have to wait until Monday to contact them.

Is anyone else in this situation? I’ve moved my whole life here to New York City. I’ve made a commitment to my students, my masters, my apartment lease… This is emotional, surprising and defeating I’ve worked so hard, getting very little sleep, thinking about my students 24/7, preparing to be an after school tutor, planning my entire life around my classroom…

God, is anyone else in this situation? What happens now?! Will I be placed in Teacher’s Reserve? Am I guaranteed a salary until December as promised to us? I’m trying to be strong and positive, but I feel like I’ve gotten the worst, most surprising blow to my heart.

3. Fellows hiring for January (Cohort 17) has been canceled.

Comments:

The DoE attempts to use Fellows against senior teachers. We instead should emphasize the unity of all teachers against the aggressive DoE.

No new teachers should have been hired while there remained ATRs needing placement. We (the United Federation of Teachers) passed a resolution to that effect last year (introduced by New Action). But it is not enough. The DoE has actively discouraged principals from hiring ATRs (through grotesque accounting which punishes schools for having experienced teachers) and our response must strike at this injustice directly.

No new teachers should be hired while there remain any ATRs needing placement. This includes all ATRs, including both experienced and new, both Fellows and non-Fellows. We need to stand together. We need to clearly tell one another that we will stand together.

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