Friday, June 18, 2010

Sin Sitty

When is it a sin to sit? When you're a NYC public school teacher.

I recently heard of a teacher who was reamed out by the principal for having the audacity to sit at her desk for five minutes. Five minutes. It didn't matter that this is a good teacher, or that all of her children were working, or that standing on your feet all day in June is not part of our contract.

More disturbing than the reaming out itself may be the fact that the principal of a school took the time to stand outside a teacher's classroom, apparently with a stopwatch in hand, and timed all this. My first thought when I heard this story was why did the principal have enough time on her hands to do this? Did the principal notice all the work going on in the classroom or only the sitting teacher? Aren't there more important principal-type things to get done in June? Or is harassing teachers always first on the priority list?

I could even understand this being an issue if something bad were happening in the class and the teacher just sat back, drinking it all in. But that wasn't the case.

No letter went in the teacher's file, most likely because it's an absurd thing to attack a teacher for in the first place. I don't know a single teacher who doesn't sit for a few minutes during the day. I do it. I bet you do, too.

If I were a principal, I'd go out of my way to hire teachers who could sit down for extended periods of time and still keep their classes working and under control. It's not an easy skill to master. Keeping your students in their seats is a far more important thing than staying out of yours.

I'd suggest that the UFT organize a huge sit-in, 60's style, but the UFT seems more determined to send us back to the 1860's than the 1960's.


NYC Educator said...

I'm thinking Gram Parsons right now.

I sit when I give a test, and sometimes with kids when I'm checking their writing. Otherwise there are simply too many kids to scream at for me to sit down.

However, I've had a lot of good teachers who did wonders without rising very often. I've also had teachers who stood and had no notion whether or not we were sleeping.

veteranteacher said...

Our AP reams any teacher who sits at all. We are told that we are not allowed to sit b/c we "should be circulating around the room at all times." So we stand (and try to half sit on a desk in a corner out of view of the room door window). People don't believe me when I tell them but it's true NO SITTING AT ALL.