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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mendel mollifies; ATRs react

A teacher (?) in perm
An ATR teacher who goes by the name "ATR in Perm" forwarded to us a letter that UFT Secretary Michael Mendel sent to ATR teachers in Brooklyn Districts 13-23, 32, and 73 (the Brooklyn high school superintendency). 

Below is Mendel's letter (with a few key points highlighted by NYCATR). Following the letter is ATR in Perm's response; he who forwards the message gets first dibs at trashing it. 
Dear colleague,
The UFT has been informed that the DOE will implement a new supervisory system for ATRs in Brooklyn community school districts (Districts 13-23 and 32) and Brooklyn high school superintendency (District 73). They have labeled it a pilot, though they did not indicate how or when the pilot would be evaluated; nor have they indicated if or when they would extend this system to other ATRs. We were informed about this plan, but had no input into it. I am writing to assure you that the union will continue to make sure that your rights as a UFT member are not violated and your professionalism as a teacher is respected
The DOE has created a new position, that of field supervisor, with the intent that field supervisors will provide some measure of evaluative continuity to the members whom they observe and to whom they provide professional feedback. They have done this because state law requires that all teachers must be evaluated and rated. 
As always, the UFT will monitor the implementation of this new system carefully to make sure that it is implemented appropriately (e.g., that members are observed on things like classroom management, and not on things like content when they are teaching out of license — in other words, things that make sense). We will address concerns that come up with the DOE immediately. Above all, we will continue to hold the DOE’s feet to the fire on the main tenet of the June ATR agreement, which is to fill all long-term absences and leaves with ATRS and to help members in the Absent Teacher Reserve find permanent positions. 
We know that you play a valuable role in virtually every city school, under often challenging circumstances, and that your contributions are often unrecognized. We are committed to ensuring that ATRs are treated like professionals and are working to make sure this new supervisory system does that. 
If you have questions or concerns, please contact your district representative or Amy Arundell at

ATR in Perm: The UFT's Michael Mendell issued a letter on the UFT's position on the ATR teacher evaluations. Shockingly, the area that visiting teachers routinely have the most trouble with, classroom management, is an area that Mendell thinks is fair game for evaluating teachers.

"We are committed to ensuring that ATRs are treated like professionals . . ." Yeah? Well, why are you letting us get evaluated on handling kids who we've just met minutes ago? School tone, set by administration, as to whether they discipline students in a timely fashion or whether they coddle them, is the greatest factor (aside from home upbringing) in how kids will react to even the sternest and most confident Classroom-Management-minded teacher.


  1. What a joke! This is a sham. How can we be evaluated on classroom management when we don't even know the classroom procedures or the KIDS???

  2. "They have done this because state law requires that all teachers must be evaluated and rated." State law requires a lot of stuff that isn't being done in the schools. Why not go after over-sized classrooms, one teacher in inclusion classes, teaching out of certification, no PE, and on and on. The DOE really wants us to leave...that's why....the UFT gets slapped down again.

  3. the doe atr supervisor can watch me pick my freaking nose for 6 hours and 50 minutes a day - and then I will play a good game of hide and seek with him because no one knows who or where I am at these schools on my free periods - then I will refuse her a bathroom key and tell her to teach kids out of her license and without sub plans - i can hardly wait - going to make her day just like the DOE has made mine

  4. by the way if we are are "observed" doesn't that REQUIRE a pre-observation to inform us as to what we will be observed about - in other words no freaking surprises!?

  5. can't wait till the DOE supervisor gets cursed out and called a sub!!!

  6. so teachers will be observed with kids who don't know them and who they do't know - with no lesson plans - no sub plans - not in the correct subject with no pre-observation and no support from the school administration -
    am I getting this right - what planet are they on?

  7. State law? hahahahahahaahhahahahahhahahahah.

    I can think of how these schools violate state law on an minute by minute basis:
    1). More than one AP per 500 students.
    2). Not telling ATRs about medical issues students have.
    3). Telling us to not let kids use the bathroom.
    4). Not removing disruptive students
    5). Giving principals bonuses for harassment of teachers.

    I'd write 500000 more, but i'm tired

  8. Remember one thing, you cannot get brought up on charges for bad classroom management. Even if one of these moron field supervisors says your management sucks, they have to train you etc etc

  9. Their job is to get you off payroll. Either thru a U rating for those who have previous U ratings, or thru a 3020A diciplinary hearing based on behavior that the field supervisors report. make no mistake, they are headhunters. Be polite, follow the rules, and demand that all procedures be followed. No random AP from out of your building can observe your lesson without the principal, Pre and post observational conferences are manditory, insist on it, politely.

  10. I would also add one more thing. Mention in a firm way that you are filing legal action against the city

  11. Are these long term ATRs or week to week ATRs that will be observed. If it's the latter how the *z*#xo!!! are we supposed to identify the students. You must call a student by name to be successful in Classroom Management(CM).