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On not going in

September 3, 2013 am30 11:22 am

I have officially been on sabbatical since August 1. I attended classes last Thursday. But today, my “not going in” day, today it feels official.

Best wishes to all my colleagues on their first day. It feels strange not to be joining you.

I won’t miss the year out of the classroom. I needed a break.

I am nervous for my colleagues in my school with all the chapter leader stuff that I have done for over a decade. But two UFT committee members are filling in. I briefed them (well, I think) in the Spring. They can (and will) reach me as problems arise. And they’ve already shown themselves willing to take extra steps to inform themselves. They should be fine without me.

I am nervous for my colleagues, and for everyone, with the new evaluation. I would learn more by being directly in the school. And I’m good at working things out. Problems  get dealt with in my school, often before they become a big deal. But I know the direction my MOSL committee chose, and I would have supported it. And as issues come up, they will figure them out. And I’ll hear about them. And about issues throughout the system. I’m still on the UFT Executive Board, and I assume that ramifications and consequences of this system will come up frequently. And honestly, I won’t miss being experimented on, the first year. It sounds bad, I know. I’m not okay with anyone being subjected to this system. But, yeah, there is a bit of a personal sense of relief.

(I did not plan it this way. I wanted my sabbatical last year, but they were suspended 2012-2013 as part of a DoE / UFT agreement to prevent layoffs).

I am happy for my classes. I’ll save details for later, but I ended up at Queens College, taking three graduate classes in mathematics each term. Queens College may not be Brooklyn or Lehman, but it is a leafy, peaceful campus, and the commute is reasonable. And I like my professors.

I am happy to be studying math.

What else is on the agenda?

I’ll still participate in union activities outside of my school.  As I mentioned above, I want to follow the new evaluation system closely.

I will try to visit mathematics classrooms. I have a list of about a dozen schools to start with. Not all high school. Not all NYC.

Get out of town on some of my longer weekends. And maybe a couple of bigger trips on breaks (I usually feel too stressed to take those during the year – this year should be different)

Pick a project, or two. LeafSnap is cool, and looks easy, and maybe I could cover a bunch of local blocks. (it uses facial identification software, repurposed as leaf identification software, to identify street trees.) I’ve already learned a little about trees (from the Bronx River Alliance folks – Hey Morgan! – , and from books, and from walking and looking).

Or maybe putting together a map/photo archive of the step streets in the Bronx – a project that’s been on my mind for years.

Some good habits – maybe skate, maybe swim, definitely walk more…  Read more… More movies…. Museums…  Maybe even plays.

Oh, and as of today, I’m back to blogging. Let’s see how it goes.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Zulma, retired math teacher permalink
    September 3, 2013 pm30 1:17 pm 1:17 pm

    I know how you feel, well somewhat. Today it truly feels that I am a “retired” teacher even though my retirement date was 4/24/13.

    I feel for my colleagues especially with the onset of the new “who can explain correctly” teacher evaluation. It is time that the rank-and-file question all these actions that the union decide on that tend to bring repercussion to the members instead of waiting for them to explain to the members in “hind sight”. It’s time for foresight within the union leadership and true democracy at all the DA meetings.

    I can’t tell you how hard it will be for the members this year.

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