Mayor de Blasio giveth, and Mayor de Blasio taketh away. In my school, there are a whole lot of teachers with six classes. That's because people get sick, take leaves, go on vision quests, quit, and do all sorts of things that humans do. When that happens, kids ask, "Hey, where the hell is my teacher?"
Now I can't say precisely why they ask that question. For one thing, I know an awful lot of kids with intense aversions to homework. When the gym teacher is covering your physics class, you tend to get much less of it. But they're young, and sometimes they just don't think things through. Administrators, though, take a different view. They might wonder how they get 90% of the kids to pass physics. They can scream at the gym teacher, or me, or whoever happens to be covering, but probably none of us could pass physics either.
That's when they start to look around. "Hey, Mr. Teacher, how would you like to teach a sixth class and pocket an extra 12K a year?" That usually goes over pretty well. A lot of people, in my experience, want twelve thousand dollars. Think of all the doggie biscuits you could buy for that. Or donuts. You could eat donuts every day, your doggie could eat biscuits, and the whole house could celebrate almost perpetually.
And the cool thing about it is Bill de Blasio picks up the tab! So principals haven't got a whole lot of incentive to stop giving six classes to everyone. After all, it's a win-win! The teachers get a crapload of cash and not one cent leaves the school budget. After all, with "fair student funding" it isn't like the good old days when central paid all the salaries.
But I just got a hot tip that those days are over starting next year. So if principals want to give out sixth classes, they'd best be prepared to lay out 12K per class from the school budget. If you were thinking about padding your retirement with those extra classes, better do it before June. This could be a big hit for schools that depend on this stuff.
Waving 12K in front of people can do some pretty bad stuff. Full disclosure--I've been offered an extra class for years and have declined it each and every time. My job is crazy enough already and it's all I can do to keep up. I just don't think I could handle it.
Of course, that doesn't stop everyone. Sometimes it's that people want the money, and they'll do whatever they have to. Other times it's a supervisor leaning on someone, saying we really need you to help out. But I've seen brand new teachers with six classes, and it doesn't always work out well. Teaching is a complex and always demanding job, and new teachers really need time to learn. How on earth are they going to be mentored when they've given up their woefully insufficient forty minutes of daily prep?
So there's a good-bad thing happening here. It's good that this sixth class thing will likely be discouraged. In my personal, non-chapter leader opinion, having these things out there is divisive and destructive. As a chapter leader, though, I can't much fight it because a whole lot of people really like the chance to make extra money.
The bad thing is there are a whole lot of schools that depend on this little break from the city to staff their schools and provide essential services. It's incredibly creepy that Bill and Carmen have decided to say, "Screw you, you're on your own now," to principals who've come to depend on this little perk. Make no mistake, there will be fewer teachers for kids and larger classes for all as a result of this.
Views expressed herein are solely those of the author or authors, and do not reflect views of my employers, the United Federation of Teachers, the MORE Caucus or any other union caucus.
Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.