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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Is it worse to be called a "bitch" or to be treated like one?

How often are you called a "bitch" at your job? If you're a teacher in NYC, then odds are you have enjoyed that moniker in English and/or one other language at least once in the course of your career. A much more frequent and debilitating occurrence is how often you're treated like one.

Let's start small. At my school, the principal announced that there was no money for after-school programs. Knowing this, several teachers agreed to work for free to: 1) prepare students for the specialized high school exam; 2) prep students for Regents exams; and 3) tutor low-performing students for the state exams. Meanwhile, it just came to light that she is paying herself per session for the days she deigns not to leave early. Bitch.

Let's move on to the city level. In NYC, we sometimes have a program called "Teachers Choice." I say "sometimes" because the funding comes and goes. Last year it went, this year it comes - sort of. Courtesy of the City Council, teachers will be reimbursed for the purchase of instructional supplies to the tune of $45.00. No you did not read that wrong, we will receive a whopping $45 though most of us spend hundreds of dollars each year. What other job do you know of where the employees have to purchase basic supplies and are NOT reimbursed for them? Does a fireman buy his own hose? Bitch.

Let us move up to the state level. New York state ties teacher evaluations to students' test scores but fails to fully fund schools so that there is no after-school money. Thereby putting teachers in the position of having to volunteer their time if they want any chance of pushing up student test scores and keeping their jobs. When it snows, sanitation workers get paid overtime. If a police officer stays late to complete paperwork, he is compensated. Why are teachers expected to volunteer their time? Bitch.

Let's move up one more level to the federal government which unrealistically demands through the No Child Left Behind Act that every child be proven through endless testing to be, as political scientist Charles Murray put it, "above average." This ill-conceived legislation narrowed the focus of the teaching profession from the development of the whole child to that of data reader and test preparer. And since one insanely detrimental program deserves another, the feds followed up NCLB with Race to the Top. RTTT sets school against school as they fight over pathetically small sums of money to implement policies and programs that will ultimately cost them more than they receive. And then there are the latest, much-touted, rarely tested cure-alls that we are told to implement and adhere to such as the professionally disempowering Common Core standards. Bitch.

And lest society as a whole think they are without sin, let us hold a mirror up to America's face. Hi America, here is what your stewardship of our economic and education system has wrought. In a recent Daily News article Juan Gonzalez revealed how employees at AIG enjoy many free perks.  Perks such as free Snapple, Starbucks, soda, Tylenol and Advil. The company also buys breakfast and lunch several times a week for its employees. The insurance bastards, who were saved from bankruptcy by sucking $182 billion from the public teat, have funds for this nonsense but at Intermediate School Who Gives A Fuck, teachers have to buy their own paper. What the hell, America? Get your priorities straight. Teachers who want to take their students on a trip to the theatre, ballet or Statue of Liberty must beg at the altar of Donors Choose because there is no money for such unholy "extras" but inept corporations (of which we still own 52%) get no oversight. Bitch.

Some of my friends think the most challenging part of being a teacher is dealing with the students. They're wrong. When an inarticulate and frustrated fourteen-year-old calls you a name, you can handle their momentary lapse in judgment. But when your administration at every single level, indeed your country, repeatedly and methodically treats you like a bitch, well that is a hell of a lot worse.

17 comments:

  1. Thank you. This should be given to any aspirng teacher for this is the truth.

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  2. Amen. We treat prisoners and corporate thieves better than our own children. There will never be respect for public schools as long as the politicians continue to wealthy enough to not have to use them.

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  3. Recently a life time prisoner in California was granted a sex change. This sex change of course is funded by tax payer money. The sex change was court ordered. I just wish the government had pulled the same wool as it does for our teachers. This prisoner who cost society $ 50.000 per years should be given a knife and a towel, a DVD manual of how to ...!
    The way we treat our teachers is going to be the downfall of our society.

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  4. The sad thing is that it is true. I just wanted to put my head down and cry. No one respects educators or education. And that comes from the high ups. People think just because they attended school they can teach. I tell everyone I know that is thinking about going into education, no to. Go into a career where you will be respected and get some perks. We get left over cake from a night before banquet.

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  5. The Houston Chronicle recently published the Best Places to Work special report. It is very much dominated by private enterprise and of course the energy sector. Not so much, "Oh the places you'll go!" but clearly the energy sector is doing well and the perks that the private sector is able to give its employees are phenomenal. I'll accept privatization if the benefits match.
    Click, explore and be amazed:http://www.chron.com/business/top-workplaces/article/See-if-your-company-ranked-among-the-top-4020752.php

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  6. Remarkably similar experience in Florida as each year you think, "This must be as bad as it's going to get." Then someone 'in charge' makes another stunningly bad decision regarding your career.

    Keep on writing.

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  7. Is it because the public education teaching profession is dominated (close to 80%)by women?

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    1. I had the same thought while reading this, especially when the writer used the examples of police officers and sanitation workers.

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  8. Couldn't agree more. Same old shit down in Florida! It's disgusting!

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  9. Yes, yes, and yes, to all of this. It's not the students that make me want to quit this career...

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  10. TEACHING SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  11. In my school, administration tried that "no money for persession can you work for free" nonsense. I wrote to the members and I explained the C.R. C-175 criteria and regulations. I detailed how they're in jeopardy of risking their LODI qualification if injured in an after-school activity but failed to file out the C-175, which states that the principal is paying them for an activity in the building. No member did any activities after school for "free".

    You know what stirs my freaking ire is learning that administrators get lunch for free but students who cannot pay the 50cent meal are denied lunch. I asked the cafeteria manager why would she do this to the kids and she said it's her discretion to allow the Principal and the assistant principals to eat for free. So let me see. The salary of all three administrators is approximately $364,000 and the kids average income is less than $20,000. Oh yeah, this sucks. So I plan to call LIC food services and tell them that their policy sucks for those kids in poverty. Pandering to those who can afford to pay the freaking $5 lunch is a slap in the faces of those kids whose only meal might be the school lunch.

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  12. I remember the year we gave up a step increase because the district was crying poverty. A few months later, administrators' offices got new furniture with money the district had "found". It was the last time I voted for wage concessions.

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  13. Anyone, educators or not do not deserve to be treated as such. Not unless you did something terrible i guess...

    online college degrees

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  14. Now that the corporate reformers are all on the scene this is what they hope the new paradigm of teachers will be all about. They can treat you worse than a Walmart drone and you don't even get a nifty blue smock for your troubles. Count on your one hand the number of Principals state wide who've publicly stood up to Lil Jon King and his Kimgdumb of unqualified charter school hacks who are currently running NYSED on the same path Bush had the country namely, into the fucking ditch. Here in Buffalo our Administrators are the cutest little herd of nodding baahing little bobbleheads you'd ever hope to see. They are scared shitless and not one of them has the stones to stand up for the kids let alone the teachers and take this little charter school wiz kid head on. It's truly pathetic. Nobody should EVER volunteer to work for free, it gives them the message that we're weak not that we actually care.

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  15. yeah I work in a pretty rough school and everyone acts like i'm a freaking saint for dealing with our students. actually the students are very sweet to me most of the time - they all have their moments but - as you say - they're kids and i love them. but yeah. no raises for 3 years but admin can throw a 4-hour open-bar party for themselves twice a year. taxpayer money at work. teachers aren't the only bitches - the taxpayers are getting screwed as well.

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