Sunday, June 23, 2019

Second Graders Victims of Musical Chairs at PS 333

I've been hearing from multiple parents from PS 333, which has a zany madcap principal who has priorities that elude everyone but the superintendent. Reasons for said support elude me utterly. The staff overwhelmingly voted no confidence in this principal.

Here's a comment that showed up just this morning:

One day, in 2016, I was sub teaching at this school. I did not even know WHO this principal was. The jr high (8th gr) classroom I was assigned to, was so out-of-control I tried turning the lights off (a trick to get the students' attention when all else fails). The principal walked in and talked to me loudly in a most degrading tone . . . like I was nothing but a worthless person saying, "We do NOT turn lights OFF!!! Turn them on!!" Her angry and disrespectful tone was shocking and the kids loved it. Once she walked out, the classroom got even MORE out-of-control than before. They now knew FOR SURE that I, as a sub, could be treated in the most demeaning way.

This shows a real lack of curiosity on the part of this principal. If I walked by a room with lights off, I'd be very curious as to why.  I would probably ask the teacher the next time I saw her. This principal just assumed the teacher turned the lights off for fun, or no reason whatsoever. Regardless, the results of upbraiding a working teacher in front of a class are entirely predictable. The principal was either unaware of that, which shows wild ignorance, or indifferent to it, which shows amazing recklessness for a school leader.

This week a parent told me that her child had four teachers in second grade. She said the first teacher they had was a young man of color, much loved by both students and parents. She was very happy with this teacher, as were other parents of her acquaintance. Evidently he had some sort of certification issue, and was therefore working as a per-diem sub. You probably know that per-diem subs get no health benefits.

The parent with whom told me they would have done anything they could to keep this teacher.. They would have crowd-sourced a collection to pay for his health benefits, if necessary. After a few months, though, the young teacher was gone, and in his place was a revolving door. The young man quickly found work elsewhere, with benefits, and this mom is not happy about it at all.

One of the teachers her son got was the school reading specialist, who hadn't been a classroom teacher in almost 20 years. Mom spoke well of her too, but said it was problematic for the kids. Evidently the reading specialist was a little strict, while the young man who started them out was kind of freewheeling. This was an unfair burden for the new teacher, not to mention the kids.

The first year I taught, I took over for a teacher who'd just walked out. The classes were a disaster and I had no experience whatsoever. It's much harder to take over a class midyear. Imagine taking over a class that had lost teacher after teacher. That's a tall order. And the kids? Seven years old and watching teachers, the ones with whom they spend all day, every day, come and go like that? Unconscionable.

As if that's not enough, this left the school without a reading specialist. If there's anything more fundamental than reading, I'd like to know what it is. This is the tip of the iceberg over there. You will be hearing a lot more. This is the sort of administrator with which the New York City Department of Education is perfectly comfortable.

There needs to be a tsunami of movement in administrators. If Carranza wants to do something great for the children of New York City, he'll dump absolutely every administrator who took the job because he or she is too lazy to do classroom work. If I were him, I'd start with the ones who regularly exercise ineptitude and cruelty.
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