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How the hell did Fellows get commitments for positions that had not been posted?

May 9, 2009 am31 4:49 am

You don’t need to read this blog long to know that the two groups of teachers I am most concerned about, the two groups that face the worst abuse, are senior teachers, especially when they’ve ended up not in a position, and beginning teachers (and Fellows).

I am worried about how easily Bloomberg’s Chancellor, his stooges, and the MSM play our two most vulnerable groups against each other. We need to stick together to protect everyone’s rights.

That being said, definite priority on hiring is to get positions for senior teachers without positions, first, then do everything possible to help and train and protect new teachers.

The 2005 Contract established “open market transfers.” Big mistake. But at least there is some contractual language, and some side agreement… Unfortunately, it seems that we cannot even rely on that.

I already noted that positions were being advertised outside the system, and before the transfer system opened. I note, on Gotham Schools, there is discussion of Fellows or TfAers or similar new teachers who already have commitment letters from principals. And a Fellow told me recently that she was already going on interviews…

Every position must be posted (Article 18). I believe that the postings must be open for at least two weeks. But when did the open market actually open? Two weeks aren’t up. So how are commitment letters to anyone (let alone pre-service teachers) already written? The positions I caught being advertised on the web? Never made it to the open market. And the fellow who mentioned interviews? One, at a school near me, has no vacancies posted in the open market system.

So how are we going to stop this? Teachers get left with no position, because their school closed, and then they get ignored as vacancies get pitched to people who have not yet taught. The current freeze helps – but it just reflects a DoE spending priority, not a fix. What are we going to do?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. thirdgenteacher permalink
    May 9, 2009 am31 5:20 am 5:20 am

    I admit it’s not right that jobs are being offered to Fellows that aren’t being posted on the Open Market, because that’s what’s stipulated in the contract. But speaking for Fellows, we didn’t know!

    We were told by the NYCTF to “be proactive about the job search.” When this was clarified, we were bluntly encouraged by staff to send cover letter/emails and resumes to any school that interested us. We were told we had to work harder at connecting with principals because we (rightly) would not have access to the Open Market. So, we furiously wrote letters, called schools, got email addresses and clicked “send.”

    Furthermore, some of us (me included) were called by schools – ones to whom we had not sent our resumes (yet). I can only assume that the NYCTF placement office set that in motion.

    The whole thing makes me quite ill to think about. I joined NYCTF because I believed their spiel about there being a teacher shortage, about the inequities produced for children when there aren’t enough teachers to teach at certain schools. They said that they wanted to “train highly qualified teachers.” Okay, that last part, I was smart enough to realize, did not include people like me, with only some mentoring, tutoring and volunteer experiences with children. But I know that I want to be a teacher, and this seemed like a great opportunity to address a specific need where it existed.

    I am not trying to complain. Really. I just feel, as I’m sure you and others do, that the matter is not being handled with fairness and, frankly, without honesty. I just happen to be a Fellow who believes this and not a current teacher.

  2. May 9, 2009 am31 5:25 am 5:25 am

    You are absolutely correct.

    The NYCTF and the DoE routinely lie to new teachers.

    The DoE routinely lies in its dealings with current teachers. It routinely makes and breaks agreements with the union.

    By standing together now, and I know it is hard when the pressure is on like this, but by standing together now we can do our best to protect the rights of our senior teachers, and in turn protect, train, nurture, etc, etc our next generation of teachers.

  3. May 9, 2009 am31 5:26 am 5:26 am

    (and, right, nobody should blame a new teacher for wanting a job, for applying, etc, etc. There is a villain here, it is the DoE and Bloomberg’s Chancellor who intentionally mismanages it)

  4. thirdgenteacher permalink
    May 9, 2009 am31 5:40 am 5:40 am

    Amen to that! (The standing together part.)

  5. May 9, 2009 am31 5:43 am 5:43 am

    Nice catch.

  6. Eric permalink
    May 9, 2009 pm31 2:55 pm 2:55 pm

    I know of a TFA-er who got a commitment letter from my school. The word-of-mouth explanation was that nobody else applied.

  7. May 9, 2009 pm31 5:11 pm 5:11 pm

    “more highly qualified” in the dialect of the powers
    literally *means* “easier to push around”.
    so they’re not even lying (by their lights).
    logocide at work. when you control the vocabulary
    you control the discussion. words in politics
    tend pretty reliably to mean their own opposites.

    also you can count on the machine to try to spin
    whistleblowing on their sorry schemes as attacks
    on teachers… so it’s good to hear from thirdgen
    (i’m second gen myself now that you mention it)
    explicitly *not* taking it personal.

    the powers will try to blur the distinction
    as if “their program” was “the people in it”.
    it’s the old “support the troops” dodge where
    if one were against wars of imperial agression
    one would be accused of having spit on soldiers
    and their grieving families.

    thanks for the clarity, everybody.

  8. thirdgenteacher permalink
    May 9, 2009 pm31 10:48 pm 10:48 pm

    “when you control the vocabulary
    you control the discussion”

    This is awesome. I am always talking about this when I try to teach grammar and sentence structure – persuasive essay. Vlorbik, thanks!

  9. bronxteach permalink
    May 9, 2009 pm31 10:29 pm 10:29 pm

    another way, jd, is that the fellows maintain a message board that is only open to other fellows. we are actively encouraged to post any possible job openings at our school on the website to recruit other fellows to our fellow-friendly school.

    this is seen as networking, not insider information. i admit to being a beneficiary of this system: when i got excessed from my horrific school, i hopped onto the fellow forum, saw a position advertised, and happily packed my bag for this “fellow-friendly” school, where 4 out of the 6 math teachers are fellows. is it right that i had access to this info when others might not have? at the time, i thought yes, thinking of it as an amazing networking – i had already asked every one i knew, and here was this handy dandy website – but if it’s against the contract then i guess it’s a no…but i am still thrilled that i was able to get this (much better) job!

  10. May 9, 2009 pm31 10:42 pm 10:42 pm

    Nothing wrong with what you describe. But not allowing current teachers to apply, that would be a problem.

    The positions must be posted, and time must be allowed for teachers to apply to transfer. In fact, you transferred. Your position was posted on the open market as well, and either no one else applied, or the principal chose you.

    What we see here is something different. Teachers are not being given an opportunity to transfer. Hiring is being done completely out of sight. The ad I found, not only was it early, when current teachers would not have known to look, it was targeted to brand new teachers. The guy on Gotham Schools, it looks like he’d been offered a position that had never been posted.

    My own example. My school currently has two vacancies for September. We knew about them mid-year. We quietly put the word out, and solicited resumes and informal visits from possible applicants. I think, for one of the positions, we have someone the principal wants. All fine and good. The Open Market started a week and change ago; he posted the positions. He will call in for interviews several candidates. For the one position, I think we’ll end up with the applicant he’s already met and likes, but… Process is fair. Process is open. Everyone has a chance to apply. He told the applicant up front, he did not promise prematurely. Completely honest. The school has the opportunity to review all applicants, in case someone better comes through the door. The school can only benefit.

    Playing by the rules just makes sense. (and I’m assuming your story actually comes far closer to ours than to the ones I am concerned about)


  11. May 9, 2009 pm31 11:03 pm 11:03 pm

    Do you guys use the board the NYCTF set up for you, or do you set up your own? (back in the day, fellows set up their own boards, but I haven’t heard about those in a few years)

  12. ItsNotRightatall permalink
    May 10, 2009 am31 11:39 am 11:39 am

    I knew that something like this was going to happen this year with the Open Market System. Experienced teachers will not be hired because it is cheaper to higher a new one. My friends and I have experience and desparately want to transfer out of our schools; it is coming to the point where “either I transfer or resign, cause I ain’t comin back here next year” type of feeling amongst us!
    We have and are using the open market system; my friend applied for 100 spots, no one has called her for an interview. I have two friends in this predicament. Not fair. Not right. But it will happen because we have a big union that is extremely passive, and just talk a lot of “hot air” and do not believe in having a “hands on approach!”

  13. thirdgenteacher permalink
    May 12, 2009 pm31 8:29 pm 8:29 pm

    Jonathan, there is the FellowForum, which was set up by NYCTF (and they have admin who maintain it). There is also a livejournal page that was started by a fellow but remains independent of NYCTF – so far I have not seen any jobs advertised on here. It’s just a bulletin board for individuals’ feelings, thoughts and experiences.

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