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Lost Spring Break – Here’s What Might Have Happened

April 2, 2020 pm30 10:36 pm

We’ve lost Spring Break. Schools in NYC will be open remotely for the week of April 12 – 18 (April 9 and 10 we are “closed” for religious observance.) I’m not happy, but that fight, if there was a fight, is done.

Those of you at a loss, who needed time to catch up, to breathe, to reflect on what’s happened, to make adjustments:  We have been, collectively, trying to do too much. Online teaching has a completely different time-profile from classroom teaching. Ask yourself this:  How many evenings, considering our first 9 days, have you been exhausted?  How hard is your planning? How far have you fallen behind?  Use those questions, perhaps this weekend, to estimate how much you need to reduce your current work. The actual planning can come a little later, but at least set a goal.  Mine?  I need to reduce 30-50%. I’m not lazy. I can’t believe I’m writing that. But I did. It would have been better if I could have reset my classes over break, but that’s not going to happen.

My last thoughts are to piece together what happened.

Friday Cuomo announces that schools across the state will be closed through April 15, but ““must continue to provide remote instruction for students, meals for students, and child care for essential workers every weekday between April 1, 2020 and April 14, 2020, even if the district is scheduled to be on spring break during that time,”

By Monday it is clear that he is requiring “remote learning” to continue straight through break.

Monday UFT leadership fumes, is ready to fight

Tuesday UFT leadership decides only possible fight is to sue Cuomo

Tuesday UFT leadership decides the optics of suing Cuomo now would suck

Tuesday UFT leadership decides to cooperate

Tuesday evening UFT leadership proclaims that the UFT is doing a Great Thing and supports Cuomo. Well, I exaggerate. But not by much:

we are supporting the Governor’s decision to continuing teaching during the Spring Break as the right decision for this moment in our history. We are just doing what we always do. Being on the side of unity, compassion and solidarity.

Tuesday UFT leadership gets a shit storm of member complaints

Tuesday UFT/Unity leadership puts out a call to their faithful to trash anyone who is objecting on social media

Wednesday UFT leadership shifts the messaging (executive order, we had no choice, we know you really needed the break, but what could we do)

I’m not sure when the UFT leadership tried to talk to Cuomo, but it was seemingly rebuffed. It is disingenuous (and lawyerly) to loudly proclaim that there were no negotiations, when there was at least an attempt at a conversation.

The right message: “we needed this break, all of us, badly. Cuomo’s executive order blind-sided us. We wanted to fight it, but suing the governor right now would have made teachers look like assholes. So we have to suck this up, and we will try to negotiate compensation.”

– the right message would have saved a lot of people a lot of angst. It would have saved the leadership the embarrassment of shifting their messaging. It would have saved me from getting called names for expressing the frustrations that many teachers felt. The truth is easier. But the truth would have included admitting that the leadership couldn’t get what the members wanted this time. I guess that’s too hard.



8 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    April 3, 2020 am30 12:00 am 12:00 am


  2. Anonymous permalink
    April 3, 2020 am30 1:25 am 1:25 am

    Dear UFT,
    I know you said you are negotiating compensation for losing Spring Break. I though you might like some ideas. Here is what Home Depot is doing for their workers who are just working as before, not during previously contracted vacation time. (I know, I know, the Governor)Really sound like they care about their workers. I could be wrong but read on.

    Home Depot is doing this.
    Supporting Our AssociatesOur associates are important to your shopping experience. We have implemented the following actions to support them during this crisis:
    •Added 80 hours of paid time off for all full-time hourly associates and 40 hours of paid time off for part-time hourly associates to be used at their discretion at any time in 2020 and paid out at year-end if not used
    •For associates who are 65 years of age or older, or determined to be at higher risk by the CDC, added 160 hours of paid time off for full-time hourly associates and 80 hours of paid time off for part-time hourly associates to be used at their discretion at any time in 2020 and paid out at year-end if not used
    •Providing paid time off for any associate who has contracted COVID-19 until released by a doctor •Providing up to 14 days paid time off for any associate required to be quarantined by a public health authority or the CDC
    •Providing additional bonuses to hourly associates in stores and distribution centers — $100 per week for full-time hourly associates and $50 per week for part-time hourly associates
    •Providing double pay for overtime hours worked by hourly associates
    •Extended dependent care benefits and waived co-pays

  3. Mike permalink
    April 3, 2020 am30 6:22 am 6:22 am

    Why are teachers killing themselves with online learning?

    I’m not. I put up a lesson. Whoever does it. Great. Whoever doesn’t do it which is most. That’s great too.

    At the end of the day, they will all pass.

    Pay me. I don’t care.

    • April 3, 2020 am30 10:30 am 10:30 am

      Most of us take our responsibilities seriously. In a system with 70,000 teachers, there’s got to be a few like you. I hope very few.

      • Mike permalink
        April 3, 2020 am30 10:54 am 10:54 am

        I take responsibilities seriously, too.

        But I work smart and not hard.

        It’s not my job to reach out to families or beg kids to do work.

        It is my job to try my best and not fight battles I cannot win.

        As long as I try my best with whatever situation I am in, I feel I have done my job.

        In these times, families have bigger things to worry about than our lessons.

      • Mike permalink
        April 3, 2020 am30 11:11 am 11:11 am

        Our responsibilities are first and foremost to keep ourselves healthy and sane, then to our families and then to our students. I care about the students and want them to do well, but I will not put myself in positions to be vulnerable to administrative attacks by kids who don’t like me. Trust me, this happens.

        You play the hand you are dealt and do your best. I do not need to lose a job bc I tried relentlessly to get a student to open up a book.

        75 percent of the kids will do what you ask. The bottom 1/4 of them is a crapshoot. Just the way it is. I go after battles I can win.

        Take your liberal pie in the sky philosophy elsewhere.

        Stay safe!

        • April 3, 2020 am30 11:50 am 11:50 am

          I write lessons. I plan content. I plan (painfully slowly) the technology. I give assignments. I grade. I give feedback.

          It turns out the online version is much more time-consuming than the in-person version. And exhausting.

          So I am scaling back, and encouraging others to do so. It was also part of Mulgrew’s message in the town hall.

          I am protecting myself and my health, and encouraging others to do so.

          I would never, though, begin by seeing how little I could get away with. I don’t know many teachers who would.

          Nothing liberal about liking our jobs, and wanting to do them well.

          Finally, remember who’s website you are on. You are welcome to come here and write. But if anyone goes away, that wouldn’t be me.

          Stay safe

        • Mike permalink
          April 3, 2020 pm30 2:01 pm 2:01 pm

          Thanks, bro! God bless.

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