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


WE ARE ALL ATRs

WE ARE ALL ATRs

Friday, January 17, 2014

What Is an ATR?

Here is a gem by Marc Epstein from our predecessor, NYCATR. It was first published on July 2, 2012 simultaneously at that blog and at Diane Ravitch's blog.

Dear Diane,
I am a 21 year veteran ATR teacher. I truly appreciate your blogging. I have been subjected to the most ridiculous and hostile work environment this past year, As it stands, any teacher can become an ATR at anytime. The troubling thing is that my “colleagues” shun us as though we are lepers. I guess its just not cricket to be seen talking to us. The prevailing meme is that we must be “bad” teachers.
The administration treats us like subs and even calls me a sub to my face. Imagine being informed in your email each week where you will be working the following week. At each school there is a different schedule, so forget dealing with your own children, holding a second job, going to school or even per session. The algorithm that the NYCDOE claims to use in the placement of the ATR underclass, includes distance from home as a major factor.
For thirty of the thirty four schools I was sent to, the travel time each way was two hours minimum. As an ATR I have no democratic rights. We have no chapter. The only proper description of the treatment we have received at the hands of the DOE and its HR enforcement arm, the UFT has been constructive discharge.
Every day is the first day of school. Both staff and students don’t consider me to be a “real teacher”.
It becomes a major battle to obtain a bathroom key. It is like being a migrant farmworker. Travelling from farm to farm. Each farm has its own idiosyncratic culture and rules.
This is the reward for twenty one years of service.
The younger teachers display incredible hubris. They think that they know how to teach despite having very little experience in the profession. When I was a beginning teacher I would see the older teachers as sources of advice. This is not the case anymore. Armed with the latest crackpot theories and jargon, the newer set think that they are better than us old dinosaurs who have become irrelevant.
Given the catastrophes that the business world has imposed on the global economy, I find it insane that the business model has been superimposed on education. Much like the economic downturn that resulted from business, this has happened in the last bastion of democracy, public education. In an ever growing fascist regime, education has been made part of the encroaching fascist takeover of this society.
Much like the 1917 October surprise and the Nazi Regime in Germany and the Chinese revolution of 1949, teachers have been persecuted.
These are savage and dark days.

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