Thursday, August 2, 2007
Do you hear snoring?
Guest Column by Woodlass
You've heard about scripted lesson plans for the classroom? Wait until you see what the DOE has scripted for us now.
They've just sent excessed educators a hefty "Placement Guide," which is a manual on how to let the Open Market System process you. Once again our employer has confused us with our students, and once again a very sleepy union is taking it on the chin. They, too, want to keep us barefoot and pregnant: to stay with the kids, do what we're told, and keep our mouths shut.
The new guide starts with this pandering come-on: "We hope this guide will give you an understanding of how the job search process works." If you really want to know how the Open Market works, just read the recent blogs. It "works" to further destabilize the system and hurt the educators in schools that are being closed or restructured, particularly those who teach the minor subjects and exercise their political voice.
There are some questionable sentences in the opening pages about hiring practices being changed in the teacher contract in 2006. I looked at the 2003-7 contract posted on the UFT website and I actually don't see anything in there about the Open Market system, particularly where it would hurt us most, in the article on excessing (17.B). Which contract are they referring to, the next one? I didn't know contracts prepared for a future date apply to the current moment. Correct me if I'm missing something here.
Then follows a deprecating little section in this guide of "tips" for conducting a successful job search, six DOs and DON'Ts that are basic for anyone looking for a job, much less educators who might have actually taught the subject themselves. After some "Job Search Strategies" on pages 7-8, you'd have to see the remaining pages to believe the content of this enormous script. There are 11 pages of how-to instructions: how to research schools, update your resume (sample provided), write a cover letter ("a basic three-paragraph" one no less), communicate with principals (two more pages of DOs and DON'Ts), prepare and take an interview (I guess they think all of us are getting them: Double Not), and much about a demonstration lesson. The last pages are filled with administrative info on certification, office hours, and the like, and finally my favorite -- an Appendix consisting of a long list of "Action Verbs."
I have said it many times before. The people who are running the DOE despise teachers. They see us as minions, not as educators, and having no regard for our degrees or our experience, they send us scripts so we can fit better into their plans. These are of course driven by corporate values and do not serve the public. They have degraded a school system many of us would have been happy to put our own kids in, even if we didn't have to.
Do you hear snoring? It's the union.