Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Roadmap to a Sixth Teaching Period

Goshdarn it, why oh why are we being so negative? Did Martha Stewart stop baking cookies just because they sent her to the stoney lonesome for a few months? When GW failed to find any WMDs, did he suffer any consequences? When Rod Paige got caught faking the “Texas Miracle,” did he go to jail? Of course not! Ol’ Rod just paid journalists to push his programs, called the NEA a “terrorist organization, ” and rode quietly off into the sunset.

So let's just stop being such a "Gloomy Gus," and look at the bright side of the new UFT contract, shall we? With the innovative language of this unprecedented document, the “Roadmap to a Sixth Teaching Period,” you’ll be a better teacher, a better human being, and surely edge closer to that spiritual fulfillment that's been eluding you all these years.

Aren’t you sick to death of getting raises just to have more money? Wouldn’t you rather increase your workload while essentially getting paid the same or less? Wouldn’t everyone? Well, here’s your chance.

First of all, rather than planning lessons or helping kids, you’ll have the opportunity to experience firsthand the sublime satisfaction of refereeing food fights. Or perhaps you’ll spend that period in one of Chancellor Klein’s luxuriously appointed student bathrooms, checking hall passes and lecturing kids you’ve never seen before on the perils of wearing hats. Maybe you'll even get to assist a secretary or a paraprofessional in filling out forms! Some teachers haven’t done these things before, but if you haven’t, believe me, there’s nothing quite like that first time.

Not only that, but after a full day’s work, you’ll spend 37.5 minutes on “small group instruction” since your classes, under this stellar contract, will still be the largest in the state. Think of all the new and exciting people you'll get to see and experience on the parkway after school. And don’t forget the inevitable extra ten minutes coming in the next contract, which will give you six full periods of teaching the largest classes in the state. What's that you say? "Oh boy!" "I can't wait!" But that's not all!

Instead of that wasteful Labor Day trip, you'll save big on gas by spending two perfect summer days being indoctrinated in the mysterious and arcane plans of Chancellor Klein. Get ready to sit in a hot auditorium and listen to his overpaid sycophantic flunkies tell you what a great job he's doing, and how and why you should stop screwing it up. And you'll yet enjoy another vacation day (for your students) hearing even more about much-neglected topics such as "The Art of Reading Aloud to 34 Seventeen Year Old Kids Who Don't Understand the Language You're Speaking."

Best of all, even with all these extras, you can rest secure in the knowledge you’re still the lowest paid teachers in the area. The fact is, while UFT pay edges up, our suburban colleagues get raises too, larger than ours, and without optional extras like those mentioned above. The UFT, in a particularly canny negotiating tactic, regularly underestimates the difference in pay between us. If you don’t believe me, visit a Nassau library and ask to see their teacher pay schedules, which are annually published in booklets by NYSUT.

Frankly, I can't wait till the next contract, when they give us that sixth full class we’ve all been hankering for. Like many of you, I’m bone weary of having such an effortless, cushy job, and if the UFT hadn’t proposed this contract, I was personally gonna circulate a petition demanding more work and less pay. So let’s all put our heads together and figure out what else we can sell them come October 2007.

Hmm…Tenure? Health insurance? Your firstborn?
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