ATRs, the unrepresented -- no elected representatives in the UFT

"The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected.
"To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another."
Thomas Paine, First Principles of Government


Hello, ATRs are suing

Sunday, December 8, 2013

“They Don’t Know You’re White” – In Which the Former ATR is Told That Being Called a “White Bitch” is NOT Racist

Life in Limbo returns as Teaching under Assault, the attacked teacher from an usafe Queens middle school provides another installment. As you'll recall, she had little support from the DOE or the UFT after injury-causing incidents.


Let’s backtrack a bit, to the day before my second trip to the ER at the hands of my middle school students.  The day was going like any other typical day here at MS Anarchy and Mayhem.  In other words, kids were coming into the classrooms at random to high-five and fist bump friends, responding with “Shut the fuck up bitch”, “It’s ‘cause I’m black, right?” or “Calm your white titties” when the fact that there was a CLASS going on was brought to their attention.  Shoes were thrown across the room. Students helped themselves to things on my desk.  Hand and body lotion was applied and perfume sprayed during the “Do Now”.  Students walked in and out of the room to see friends in the hallway, and opened the doors for intruders to enter and perform obscene dances.  Rap beats were drummed using desks and pens, while other students rapped obscene lyrics about me and about each other.  I heard the sound of tables and chairs being overturned in the classroom next door twice, along with more rapping to the beats as the teacher next door tried to get the class to quiet down.  I encountered running groups of students in the hallway as I walked to the ladies’ room.  

It was in this oasis of tranquility that I sat down to check my email on my VERY OWN classroom computer! (Pardon the capitals, but I haven’t had an actual COMPUTER in my room in SEVEN years, so I am just giddy over it. No printer, but hey, these things take time, right? And even if I had a printer, it would run out of toner by Thanksgiving anyway, but I digress). 

So there was an email summoning me to the principal’s office. Given that I had recently been reporting the violent and threatening incidents happening around me, I wrote back that I would like to have my District Rep, who had been in the building with me earlier in the day, present and could we fine a mutually convenient time. My principal responded that I must come that afternoon and that “union representation is not necessary, as we will be discussing instruction”.  Not wishing to be insubordinate, I went.  

When I went to the meeting, I was first reprimanded for not notifying my principal of the issues and asked why I did not.  I responded that everything was documented with the deans and the APs who are responsible for the classes involved.  I also said that I was surprised that none of the deans or APs, with whom I communicate with daily, saw fit to mention this situation in school safety meetings or as a matter of course. We agreed that I will include the principal in all correspondence of this nature from now on.

Then the conversation turned to "instruction" - sort of.  The principal said that she had to wonder how students "have the TIME to even get into this kind of trouble. There must me some kind of issue with your planning because the students seem to have a LOT of time on their hands and that must be what is causing the problems.”  I responded that there is ALWAYS work ready for them to do and that I plan for a full period of instruction, however, when the students enter the room, overturning chairs, fighting, and screaming, and then refuse to leave the room, line up outside, and enter properly, well, it's hard to get things going.  She responded, "Maybe you have WORK, but is it ENGAGING? Are you differentiating? Do they LIKE the work you give them?  It sounds like they just don't like the work you are providing and are acting out because of that. I think we need to work on your ability to engage students and on your classroom management.  It sounds like you have problems establishing routines and norms in your classroom.”

On the issues of the bias incidents that I was subjected to, she said, '”You know, I have to say that I don't think our students are astute enough to pick up on that issue. I doubt they even know you are white.  I think they just see that calling you 'white bitch' or 'white this-and-that' upsets you, and THAT's why they say it, not because they understand what it means.”  She said that "If they see that it doesn't bother you when they call you these names, then it would have stopped, but the fact that it bothers you and gets you upset and running to the deans and THAT's why they keep saying it. It all comes down to engagement and RELATING to the young people, and this seems to be what is causing your problems."

So, now this is all MY FAULT?  I brought this on myself because I am not "ENGAGING"???? REALLY???  And the kids can call me "white bitch" and tell me to "move my white ass" or that I "smell white", but they don't know I'm white and don't mean anything by it? REALLY????  I maintain that if the racial makeup was reversed, she wouldn't DARE say these things, nor belittle them to this extent. I feel as if I have been violated again - a classic "blame the victim" argument that is completely FALSE.  I am the VICTIM here --the VICTIM of bias crimes and ASSAULTS and I get told about MANAGEMENT?

The meeting ended with a promise to come into my classes the next day and discuss “appropriate behavior with the young people”.  She showed up once, for the ONE Honors class I teach which gives NO trouble at all, and prattled on about how she has “high expectations for everyone and that no one should allow themselves to be distracted by the behavior of others”.  Later that day, I left in an ambulance.

Hey, thanks for the help.

3 comments:

  1. You should scream discrimination. You can't make this crap up.

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  2. That principal should eat roaches for dinner, This is a piece of sh** and I only hope that this principal is sent to the hospital in an ambulance maybe then the principal person would "understand". Bastard.

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  3. In other cities in this state the union leaders publicly denounce the violence.
    "No one that enters that schoolhouse whether it's a student, parent, teacher, should have to fear being assaulted. And we have to do everything that we can to make sure that everybody realizes our schools are safe havens. And that means that if there are assaults, they have to be prosecuted to the fullest extent."
    Why won't our leaders speak up?
    http://www.wivb.com/news/local/teacher-goes-to-ecmc-with-head-injury
    http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121214/CITYANDREGION/121219585/1020

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