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Archive for October, 2009

Michael Mulgrew on NY1’s “Road to City Hall”

On Oct. 1, UFT President Michael Mulgrew was interviewed on NY1’s “Road to City Hall.”

Part 1

Part 2 after the jump. More »

“We’re Going to Make It”

[Editor’s note: Little Miss Sunshine is the pseudonym of a second-year teacher at an elementary school in Queens.]

Finger PaintThe first few weeks of the school year is the most stressful time of year for most teachers.  Before the beginning of the school year I tried to prepare myself as much as I possibly could, spending most of the last few weeks of summer on inconceivably long lines — lines that rival that of a 75% off sale at Coach on Black Friday — just to get every crisp new poster laminated at the teacher supply store. When the doors opened on the first day of school, and I saw the first child clinging to her mom’s legs screaming, “Please don’t leave me!” the only thought that ran through my head was: I know the feeling kid. I wanted nothing more than to be with my mommy too!

As the first week of school ended, I looked back and remembered the things that had gone wrong, the students who couldn’t seem to learn the rules, and the nagging thoughts that things would never get better. As I entered week two, and I realized my students still hadn’t learned even the most basic rules, I began to ask myself several questions: What’s wrong with them? Why can’t they learn? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I teach them? Why can’t they be more like my wonderful kids from last year?  Why did I put down kindergarten on my preference sheet?  Why did I go into teaching in the first place? More »

New York Teacher

New York Teacher, Oct. 1, 2009Highlights from the Oct. 1 issue of New York Teacher:

The UFT filed grievances on Sept. 24 involving 6,749 classes citywide that exceeded the contractual limits on class size.

The UFT joined education, labor, parent and community groups at a Sept. 23 rally on the City Hall steps to try to head off midyear cuts to schools.

Key UFT-endorsed candidates came out on top in this year’s Democratic Party Primary election, and it was UFT members who made the difference.

Educators and parents worked too hard to improve the new school governance law to now see it delayed or not properly implemented, the UFT testified at a City Council Education Committee hearing.

Teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve pool attended job fairs across the city in September in hopes of filling one of the 1,100 vacancies still open as the school year moves into its second month.

The first Delegate Assembly of the new term was the biggest in years, with hundreds of new chapter leaders and delegates attending and the overflow crowd watching the proceedings from closed-circuit monitors outside the union hall.

Work spearheaded by the UFT two years ago culminated with the creation of four new “demonstration site” schools that aim to model innovative practices in career and technical education.

UFT’s Dial-A-Teacher program has helped kids and parents get help with homework for nearly three decades.

Can it be that the time has come for the voice of the classroom teacher to be heard in the land?

Year Three: Reality Sets In

[Teacher Man is the pseudonym of a third-year teacher at an intermediate school in Brooklyn.]

I have just begun my third year of teaching here in New York City, and from a pedagogical standpoint, things are going well. After two years that were more of a learning experience for me than they probably were for my students, I feel like I’m finally coming into my own as an educator. Tasks that once seemed gargantuan, such as creating a behavior management plan and mapping out an entire unit, now seem second nature. Classroom management is, dare I say, well under control.

My third year is also unique because I began my teaching career through the New York City Teaching Fellows alternative certification program. For the last two years, in addition to teaching full time I was also going to Hunter College at night to earn my Master’s degree. While I learned a great deal those first two years, I often felt like I was barely keeping my head above water. The demands and deadlines of a graduate degree program combined with the stresses of being a new teacher were overwhelming, to say the least. Looking back now, I wonder how I made it. More »