Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Day in the Life of a ... Mar. 20, 2007

This will be my last post of the winter. Almost time to hit the backyard and start rubbing fingers through the soil.

Got home last night after a night at Tweed watching Klein squirm after parents broke into the meeting and disrupted it. He tried to keep the meeting going and reversed himself about 12 times throughout the night. Boy, I can just imagine what kind of teacher this guy was when he taught for 6 months in the late 60's (something you never hear him talk about, for good reason I suspect) before high tailing it back to law school. I took some video and will post it on you tube when I edit it. The guys doing the movie on the rubber room were there and tried to get Klein to talk but he told them to see his press office. They should have just asked a question and get his response on tape but the minute they said they were doing a documentary, he shut up.

Some of the parents made strong statements and you can read more at the NYC Parent blog.

Today I hit elementary schools in my old district with the ICE election leaflet. It was like old home week as I met people I knew in every school. What a difference putting leaflet in boxes while chatting with old friends - teachers, paras, secretaries, even principals and asst. princ's who I've known for years. Everybody agrees -- BloomKlein suck! Plus a number of "the UFT is useless."

I started at my old school - lots of "I voted for ICE" comments. My old buddy the cook offered me a nice bowl of homemade chicken soup. One of the nice things about the school was how when we partied, there was little distinction between teacher, para, secretary, kitchen worker or custodian. Well, that's over under the new regime. Many teachers have left and all say how much happier they are in their new schools. The leftover masses huddle together, still in shock over the arrest of their colleague (who was my neighbor across the hall for 10 years) orchestrated by the principal a few weeks ago. (I spoke about the incident at the PEP last night, pointing out to Klein that these are the people he wants to give unfettered power to. Of course he does! Fear and loathing is how he wants schools to be run.)

I probably shouldn't talk about the rest of my day where people are actually relatively happy (or relieved they are not ruled by a Leadership Academy clone.) BloomKlein might hear of it and try to turn these schools into factories.

The highlight was a visit to a school where 2 of the people I worked with in my last years in the system are teaching. They love their principal to death, one of the old gang from the district office. It was a wonderful reunion and as it was Open School Day, they asked me to join them for a parent luncheon. I had other places to go but hung out with them on the line for food. A woman standing behind us turned to one of them and asked who I was. They told her and she said, "Oh my God! It's my 6th grade teacher." Turned out I was also her sister's 6th grade teacher and my wife and I had gone to her sister's wedding (one of 3 weddings from kids in that 1975 class I eventually attended.) She has been teaching for 17 years. (Oy vey! Am I old.) She is the 2nd former student I have connected up with in the last few months. (See the post on the play No Child where one of my students and her 18-year old daughter attended with us.) She will put me in touch with her sister and I hope to see her. It was sad to hear their mom, who I was very fond of despite the fact we couldn't communicate because she spoke only Spanish, had passed away.

Then it was off to some other schools, running into the former PTA president of my school who is an aide and had good stories to tell about her 4 children and all her grandchildren. Then on to the first school I taught at for 3 years, finding myself stuffing the same mail boxes that I stood before on my first day on the job almost 40 years ago. Phew! There was just a little lump in my throat as I worked. That was the scene of the 2 strikes in '67 and '68 and also the birth of my activism. But that's a story for another day. I called the CL from the office as a courtesy to let her know what I was doing and she said I should come up. She is a new CL and battling the principal in a fierce struggle. She doesn't want to be the one to put the ICE leaflets in the boxes. She has decent reasons. We went out with some of the gang after the last DA and had a lot of fun. I hope she'll join us again next week.

I was off to 2 small schools where I got to see some of the old computer teachers I used to hang with and we talked about how the multimedia center where I worked provided so much support to schools. Of course, it was killed after BloomKlein and now tech support is a sometime thing.

I ended up at a small school where 2 of my favorite people have become the principal and AP, who was the computer teacher at one time. On my last day of work before I retired almost 5 years ago, we had to wait around until 6pm for some delivery people to come to bring computers from my office to her school. I reminded her that she still owes me a night of drinking to celebrate the retirement binge I missed out on. I forgave her because I had to come in to work the last 2 days of June to help with the computer transfer and the per session I earned was added to my final salary.

Both gals spent most of their careers teaching at the school and it is very surprising they are now running it, as the corporate mentality of BloomKlein discourages this kind of fraternization. Every teacher I met there seems happy and relieved to be working for them -- actually, knowing these gals, they work for the teachers, as supevisors should. If teachers could elect their supervisors, which I feel would give us the best people, these 2 would win hands down. I left happy for them and the staff, though I suspect the CL is pro-Randi and the staff will vote Unity. But happy staffs often don't see problems with the status quo. Still, I met a teacher on the way out who said she can't believe people don't see how the union sold them out. At least one vote for ICE-TJC.

Well, I had enough for the day and was off to take my 89 year old dad out to a Chinese restaurant. He was ILGWU. If only he could vote ... nah! He wouldn't vote for me anyway.

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