Saturday, April 4, 2009
I read a lot of blogs by people who have been targeted by their principals and APs, and believe me, I drip with sympathy. When I write about people with targets on their backs, I know whereof I speak; I was one of the dead teachers walking. My admins did a number on me and several others in my old school on a monumental scale. That was when my eyes were opened about the UFT, because they utterly failed to protect me or anyone else at that school. They kept telling us that we had to band together and fight back. The truth was that those being targeted were fighting a more powerful foe as best we could, while those who felt safe had no desire to step into the fray. I made the near fatal mistake of believing that the union would be our big older brother and vanquish the bully. In effect, they did nothing. Less than nothing, really, because by stepping back they made the hatchet job being done on us that much easier. A number of people I worked with had their careers destroyed. I was one of the lucky ones who managed to escape.
The irony is that now I am in a school where I am actually respected as a professional and my experience is (gasp!) seen as a plus. Yes, Virginia, such a school does exist. However, now that I have gilt edges I've noticed that some teachers at my school are not so lucky. So, how to respond? I'm in a truly strange place. I am happy where I am and grateful for the treatment I get, and yet I know others at the same school aren't as lucky. A part of me wants to speak up, but a greater part of me wants to get my years in and retire in peace.
If I had a union behind me--a REAL union--one that I knew would stand up when I did, I would be the first one on my feet. But knowing what I know about our useless union, I'm sitting out for now. I truly envy Pissed Off Teacher, who has 30 years in and can say what's on her mind. When I am closer to retirement I'll follow in her footsteps.