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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Request for Information

A teacher who would like to be known as 3rd Year Teacher sent us this email.  Readers are invited to answer 3YT's questions.

I'd like to thank you for writing NYC ATR. Now that I am an ATR I realize that there is little information about us out there, and reading your blog has been informative about many real concerns that educators have. 

Can you help me with my concerns right now? I think I have been assigned to an awful principal tomorrow. Now, it's true that I don't know yet if this guy is awful or not, but I am coming from a horrible school. 

*Does the principal have the right to keep me there all year? I think I'd much rather be a rotating ATR, if that's the case (do tell me if that's a stupid thing to wish for). 

*Do you know if the principal has the right to make me take a regular teaching job outside of my subject area? 

*Do you know if I can request a new school placement?

I'm sure I sound like a pampered teacher who hasn't had to deal  with much. It's not true, but I am very ignorant of what it's like to be an ATR.


  1. Dear 3YT,
    Do not abandon hope. Some of us have been ATR teachers for several years, and we have survived. As they say in Latin: Non illegitimi carborundum; that means, Don't let the bastards grind you down.
    The answers to some of your questions can be found on this blog, at:

    and at:

    If the principal does not like your work (or the shape of your nose) it is not likely that he or she will hold onto you for a whole year. You will probably be sent back into the pool of weekly-rotating teachers.

    Can the principal place you in a position outside of your subject area? On a temporary basis, the answer is definitely yes. I think it's safe to say that almost ATR teachers have had to teach, at times, outside of their license areas. On a long-term basis, I'm not sure what the rule is; I do know that some ATR teachers have been given long-term assignments outside of their license area. I suggest that you speak to a UFT rep. Try your chapter leader or borough leader; if that doesn't help, call up the central UFT office in Manhattan and request to speak to a Special Representative.

    You can certainly request a new school placement, but your request is likely to fall on deaf ears.

  2. Hey 3YT,

    Definitely contact the Manhattan UFT office, your chapter leader or the DOE ATR placement line at 718-935-4000 extension 2. All ATRs are going to be placed again after October 7th unless you find a placement in your license area. If I were you, i would try to become an ATR who is rotated regularly and does day to day coverages.

    You are at a dis-advantage with tenure and this I know personally b/c the same happened to me. After my 2nd year, I was excessed, placed as an ATR for my 3rd year and was given an extra year of probation b/c I did not do 3 years of teaching in my license area. I got lucky b/c there was a licensing conflict with someone year four and I was able to do a program in my license that year, but that was 3 years ago and I have been an ATR ever since.

    My advice is to make clear to your direct supervisor that you are not in your license area just so he or she knows and do not be afraid to tell the principal, AP or whomever that you are basically a sub and as ATRs, we get no keys, supplies, books, access to closets in classroom etc. Also make clear that the principal is more than within his rights to send you elsewhere if they want to give you a hard time.

    The bad thing about being an ATR this year is the constant movement, but you can also float under the radar.

  3. Thanks so much for the advice and kind words. I'll take this information with me tomorrow when I have to interview with the school for a vacancy that is actually in my subject area. I'm not sure I want the position, but who knows if they even want me! I will keep you posted...

    Thanks again for responding. When it's so hard to find answers, it's especially encouraging to come across individuals who are ready to share what they know.

  4. 3rd year teacher,
    Best of luck. GEM is forming an ATR support group that if it grows can become a pressure point on the UFT. Send an email to if you want to be added to the listserve.