Friday, August 15, 2008

a work in progress

I was going through the materials I collected and saved from all the years I was a teacher. I found some "letters for the file" that were written to a teacher by a principal in one of the schools in which I taught. I was the UFT chapter chairperson and in many cases these are letters that went to "grievance." All quotes are lifted from the letters verbatim. Not one word has been changed. I have only omitted the teacher to whom the letters were addressed and the principal's name who wrote the letters.

Dear Ms. ---
"While you were teaching, I observed that you were teaching with 2 handbags on your arm. You have already been directed to place your handbags away when you are teaching. You are not prepared when you are doing this."

Dear Ms. ---
When I gave you this assignment I told you I did not want to see children running around the room and that I wanted structured lessons and an orderly atmosphere. You replied, "I'll try." I again reiterated my instructions relative to the handling of this class. You again replied, "I'll try." I informed you then and am informing you now that this is not enough... "I'll try" does not meet the standard of accountability for a New York City public scool (sic) teacher."

Dear Ms. ---
You were assigned as a teaching period a lunchtime covetrage on a daily bases (sic). This is not a lunch duty as you are supposed to be effectively supervising and teaching children. While you were waiting to take your group for an instructional period you were observed drinking milk... This constitutes conduct unbecoming a professional teacher, and must be stopped."

I found a copy of a letter I sent to the UFT District Representative to report what a principal told me in a conference: "If I go down, I will not go down alone." She also stated her intention after the holidays to "write three letters a night for the teachers' files."

And this was a kind head's up written in a note to a teacher and signed by 3 students: "the (principal) is trying to fire you"

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