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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gypsy Teacher plays bathroom monitor

The report below was submitted to NYCATR by our popular contributor, Gypsy Teacher, on December 17. We apologize to Gypsy, and her numerous fans, for the delay in posting her words of wisdom. 

I spent my week at McCown H.S., which shares the same building as the school I was assigned to last night. Night and day experiences. 

Toilet paper distribution in a  restroom 
 at Coney Island (see the article in
the New York Post
I was used, as all the other ATRs assigned here, as the bathroom monitor. I had to sit in the hall all day (at least I had the bathroom key!).  It was an extremely easy, yet humiliating job. 

The school was filled, again, with young teachers. Maybe one or two were over the age of 30. One of the teachers was a former student of mine. He just told me today that his girlfriend who has never taught a day in her life just landed a job at Port Richmond High School as a Special Ed/English teacher. How is that? I thought there was a hiring freeze???? 

Anyway, back to my misadventures. I made the mistake of spending time in the teachers’ lounge on Monday.  I thought I had walked into the students’ cafeteria.  All I can remember is the sound of their shrill voices. Almost every teacher had a loud shrill voice. I don’t know why. That mistake was never repeated. I spent my free periods in my car charging my phone and reading. (Oh yes, as bathroom monitor I also got quite a lot of reading and writing done.)

This was the only school where I was required to attend the professional development/staff meeting. I nearly split my sides laughing when the entire group of teachers began the meeting in the hall with something called, I believe, Circle Up! They all stood in a circle (I don’t know if they were holding hands because I didn’t take part in the Circle Up!) and began the session with “sharing time.” I kid you not. I thought I was in a kindergarten class with tall students! Then after “sharing” time they had Shout Outs! praising one another. Laughing, yet? Or perhaps, vomiting? They even had snacks. Not sure if it was cookies and milk because I made by escape as soon as I could! 

I basically was paid my 17 year salary to do an aide’s job. At my old school we had someone we called Bathroom Bob; I was Bathroom Susan! What I don’t understand: the school used day-to- day subs to cover classes but every ATR is the bathroom monitor. Truthfully, when I saw how some of the classes behaved with the subs, I was happy to be the bathroom monitor! 

My stint sitting in the hall allowed me to observe the school and its dynamics. The students weren’t as well behaved as at CSI but they weren’t “gangsta” either. One of the aides told me that the school was basically filled with students who should have been in special ed but their parents didn’t want to sign the papers so they looked for a small school environment thinking it would help. 

I met the Chapter Leader who seemed like a decent man. I also met the principal who for the first couple of days I was there walked the halls with an Ipad going in and out of classrooms. 

Basically, it was an easy stint but I felt demeaned and degraded being used to sign kids in and out of a bathroom. Glad the week is over! Oh, and why are we assigned to our next school for 2 weeks? Party time at HR Connect next week??

Picture credit:


  1. We are sent to these schools for 2 weeks b/c the HR is afraid of us running out of schools to go to this year and also like you said, probably no one is at the office this week to click the ATR button that assigns us to each school.

    Also, why would you have bothered to attend PD at this school? Do you think they would notice if you were not there.

    The HS I was sent to last week and that I will be at next week had no idea I was there. it was a brand new school and I wait for about a half hour in the office each morning before telling the parent coordinator I'll be in the teacher's cafeteria if they need me(they never do).

    I've decided that I will not go out of my way anymore for these schools. If they want to treat me like pon scum, then I will do what pon scum people do which is read all day. No skin off my back

  2. I NEVER stay for PD but this school was too small to duck out lol. Really the administration made sure the ATRs stayed there for the full how many hours we are used (abused). Isn't it a damn shame that instead of utilizing us where we are needed we are left to flounder all day...

  3. Hiring Freeze?
    1. New teachers get hired to schools no one wants
    2. In July-August they get choice of schools and rob ATRs of good positions left vacant by retiring teachers.
    3. It's Goonbergs game plan to fill up good available positions with kiddy teachers.

  4. My school had a reduction of register and as low girl on the totem pole, I wound up as an ATR. Second school I was sent to, the principal and his AP walked in to my 11th period to observe. They asked me to go to the office before I clocked out. They offered me the position, and here I am!

    To all my colleagues. Being an ATR is not a death sentence. Show up. Teach. You will be rewarded.

    Show up and be hostile or snide, then you just perpetuate the whole idea of ATR equals rubber room.

    Gypsy- got a job yet???

  5. Cookie,
    I am guessing as low man on the totem pole you are a relatively new teacher (under ten years experience.)

    That makes you less expensive than a lot of us.

    I teach every class, in and out of license. I carry an army size backpack full of class sets of reserve lessons. I colect work, comment on it, write notes to the teachers and touch base with them if I can when they return. I#be trained teachers - I spent my first month training a brand new teacher in my license area. I still correspond with the young lady. I'be called parents,monitored the hallway during passing on my free periods, stayed late with miss and gone to almost every PD and participated. I am at top salary and I am over 40. Principals have expressed incredible gratitude to me, but no one hires me. One school keeps me on their email list because they want my input. I have sent lessons to teachers I worked with long after I have left. As they say in French,"Gornich helfen.". At one school, the kids have not had a teacher in my subject area for two years. The principal refuses to hire anyone so the kids are wild. When I was there, a former colleague of mine and I teamed up- team taught whenever we could and had the room we mostly taufht in cleaned up for the first time in months. We shelved all the books so kids would stop throwing them. By the end of the week, we were beginning to get some level of function. When the next ATR came in, the kids ripped the books from the shelves. I know because she in other words, Cookie, some of us are baked apples. We work our souls through, but we are just too expensive.

  6. Gee, Cookie's suddenly not jumping in the milk. Don't crumble: just realize a lot of us are working hard without even expecting to be hired anymore. I make a lot of typos bc I am anguished. I stay with kids and worry and devote myself as best I can. The system isnt fair. On interviews, I worry because I corrected a student' without using a post-it, that I will be disqualified. That's not what teaching is. Let me tell you a.story: in my first year of teaching, there was.a.student who came toRCT prep who had never passed in 4 tries. I told her I.believed she could. It took her hours to finish when she practiced and I many of my colleagues. She made it. That event set the precedent i have worked by. But, principals look at me like one large paycheck. I have less identity tha that kid had when she transferred into the program I worked in that year. I am not a number, but a red line. what's worse is, when I was young, I was smug like you. Karma bites