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

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Forced and hostile placements for ATRs are happening now

Another ATR writes on her difficult situation, working in one particularly difficult forced placement. Is this how the DOE plans to eliminate us?

I’m sharing my story because I believe decisions the union has made, without including nor notifying ATRs, will severely impact their lives going forward. This specifically relates to forced placements for ATRs, a policy the union has stated they will recommend as a “solution” to the hundreds or thousands of displaced experienced teachers (and other professionals). From the union’s perspective they are protecting the jobs of displaced teachers. However, forcing a professional into a situation they did not choose and to which they strongly object for numerous possible reasons, is only a solution that appeals to the DOE, since it will surely result in an increase of resignations and early retirements. I have read on blogs and spoken with teachers who seem in favor of being placed –ANYWHERE. More power to them, I say. Everyone is different and we all have different objectives. If I were 1 or 2 years from retirement I am sure I could put up with anything and not care if I end up with 2 years of U ratings – since I would be leaving anyhow. But I still contend it is not the way to treat professionals in one of the most difficult jobs.

So here’s what happened to me, a teacher with over 7 years experience. I arrived at one of my weekly assignments, this one a poorly rated school, after traveling over 90 minutes. I learned a teacher was out on a leave and expected back in several weeks. I was expected to deliver lessons – 2 classes were outside my license. No bathroom key, no copy machine access, bring your own paper for bulk copies. The student behavior in some grades is out of control, in other grades there’s chronic truancy and students leave the building at will during the later periods. No consequences. No one in halls.

I was suffering a level of anxiety I had never experienced in my previous schools nor during rotation. I could barely work 3 days in a row.

I thought my last day had arrived and was relieved to see the email from ATR assignments directing me to another school next week. However, that was not to be. Over a day or two I was forced back to the school. The union says they did all they could do.

I have applied for a leave but it will not be long enough. So forced placements are going on right now and this is an example. If I somehow try to manage working there I am certain I will accumulate numerous letters in file and U ratings, as it has now become a hostile work environment. Being forced to work there will ensure I never get hired in a better school. So I may as well resign and save my sanity. But I don’t deserve this.

Am I a teacher or a soldier being shipped off to whatever war the army sends me to? Why don’t they look for an ATR from a neighboring borough whose commute may be shorter than my nearly 4 hours/day? Why don’t they hire a substitute if no ATR finds it a good fit? Because no substitute would take the job, that’s why. Substitutes have a choice, something they are taking away from ATRs.

On a related note, another arrangement to seriously question is the business of provisional hires. This did not exist in the past. You went on an interview and the school had to decide whether to permanently appoint you. With the union agreeing to provisional hiring for ATRs (which was voluntary and is becoming forced) it allows principals to hire us for a short time, then toss us aside regardless of whether we did a phenomenal job. Another example of how we’re treated as dispensable pawns on a chessboard.


  1. Contact the union immediately. You shouldn't be forced into taking a position especially if it's not a good fit for you (!) or the school. This is where the union should step up and earn the dues you've paid to them.

  2. We need to restore all the give-backs and give ups that we lost or let go, in the 2005 contract and the 2007 contract, our last. In the 2005 contract we lost the seniority transfer. In 2007 the DOE instituted the "Fair Student Funding", which gave principals the incentive to hire the cheapest teacher possible. Years ago, our predecessors, sparked and led by the great Albert Shanker, fought and suffered so that improvements could be made for us, and then we went and gave them mostly all back, in order to get raises....and sold ourselves out, or those immediately before us sold us out.

  3. horrifying story thanks for sharing - I fear the same things every day and I feel extreme stress every day too . Good luck

  4. Sorry to hear your story. Last yr I was forced placed at campus magnet for 3 months. Need I say more!!!!!!