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Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Invisible ATR

Here is the latest in the on-going tale of one of our most popular contributors, Dumped ATR. 

Here it is again. I should call myself "Formerly Dumped, now Invisible ATR."

When I was about seven, one of my favorite songs was the goofy, "Monster Mash." Between that song and daily doses of "The Count" on Sesame Street, I perfected a cheesy Dracula voice that I used at birthday parties and recess. Who knew that some fifty years later, I'd become a true denizen of the after-life--a veritable ghost.

At the school to which I have been assigned, there was a vacancy in my very own subject area. There are two of us ATR's at the school, in fact, who are in this license. The schedule which the "Vacancy" would fill included a very raucous last period class. Since visitations by different persons each day would have opened the doors for these students to be difficult for a whole new unsuspecting person each day, my supervisor decided that one person should cover that class consistently until a teacher was hired. This was said to me--or perhaps across me--as I find it hard to imagine that a person was really looking at me and discussing a job I was qualified for and was soon going to cover, without offering me, at least, a courtesy interview. Since I am a ghost with a license who tends to take visible form as directed, the class was summarily printed on my schedule. 

Actually, they are a bright bunch of kids. Upon advice from a colleague, I decided to take the class as if it were mine. I put the kids in assigned seats, taught my lessons, assigned homework and handed back graded classwork. By day three, we were in a kind of rhythm. I told the supervisor on the second day that I enjoyed the class and explained what my holiday assignment would be. I also mentioned that I would grade it and hoped it would be taken into account in their final grade. At that point, I was informed that a candidate had been selected. When we returned from the four day holiday, a brand new teacher had, in fact, been hired. 

The students in the class are not happy. They don't understand why I'm not their teacher. The new teacher can't handle them. (They are very bright and they can challenge your every move. You just need to be very structured.) Some of them gave their assignment to the new teacher and some to me. I'm trying to find the teacher so we can talk about if it will be considered for their first cycle grades. 

At no point did my supervisors come see me teach. It would have been an easy way to see if I could handle the job--especially as I had to create my own structure. I wouldn't have the benefit of teaching a "demo lesson" in which students might be more courteous because they had been asked to be good hosts to the visiting teacher.

Claude Raines in a scene from a 1933 movie
adaptation of H.G. Wells's novel, The Invisible
It's one thing to say that we are using "fair market" tactics to select teachers, but when you practically treat a person as invisible, there is nothing equitable going on. In the end, the consistency that was necessary until a teacher was hired was abandoned once they brought the new person in--a few days were more important than the semester. The students' interests were as invisible, I think, as I was.

1 comment:

  1. I just read your post and wanted to share an ATR story. My school just had 2 ATR's with the same license. Both were wonderful and each taught classes; one was in a school vacancy position, the other for an injured teacher. One teacher had 6 years in, the other 11. The school repeatedly asked the 6 year teacher to accept the vacancy. She declined due to the commute. The 11 year teacher was never offered the job at all. She was also invisible.