Tuesday, September 2, 2008


...I toast all NYC teachers as they meet their kids for the first time.

Today used to be the first official day teachers reported and for most of my career we had 4 days to get ready for the Monday following Labor Day when the kids reported. I never minded those 4 days - except for the stupid 2 hour faculty conference which was repeated word for word every year. Hey, there are 2 new teachers that have to hear about the school philosophy - which is to get high scores - do what you have to - so make 40 other people sit through it again - and again - and again. But most people hadn't seen each other for 2 months and we had long lunches and chats and bitching galore. But you know what? I was ready to go back by then. The main bitch for me was the loss of free time to think about doing all the things I didn't get to do - and never would.

The night before the kids showed was always the finals of the US Open and I would watch while finishing up whatever, nervous as all hell - no matter how long you teach, the night before is spent trying to contain those flying insects floating around your gut.

I'm talking about the years when I had my own classes - roughly from 1969-1985. After that I was a cluster which was one tenth the work, so I don't look at those years the same way.

Now we are in a different landscape. Today - the day after Labor Day - is THE DAY for teachers and children. Klein is racing around to all the boroughs - if I showed up at Tweed at 7 AM I might have even gotten on the press bus - but no thanks. And Randi Weingarten and City Council head Christine Quinn have their own schools to visit together, it seems. I wonder what new UFT Chief Operating Officer Mike Mulgrew will be doing today? As long as you see Randi's face on the TV screens, she is running things. I still think she digs the nitty gritty UFT stuff more than the AFT statesperson role. But who else was there to take on that role.

Well, here's to all the NYC teachers - wishing you the best year possible - and hoping this year many of you see there is a need for some level of activism on your parts to take back this union, which is the first step in attacking the true problems facing education today.


  1. Thanks for the good wishes Norm. As usual, we need all the help we can get.

    Oddly--you don't seem to have been banned on DoE computers. Perhaps they think you're just an old softie.

  2. Thats' because Tweed chief press officer David Cantor really writes most of ed notes behind the scenes.

    Unity used to claim that Bloomberg was funding Ed Notes. Maybe it was true but the submarine must have missed me at the rendevous point.

    More oddly, before Ed Notes totally turned against Unity and Randi around 2001, New Action claimed Unity was funding me. And it turn out to be the other way around. Har, har, har.

  3. Thanks Norm- those of us in the trenches need all the good wishes we can get.

    Sadly, I don't feel I accomplish more with the kids now that they come back so early. And I agree with you- after Labor Day, I was ready to go back. Now I just feel angry and resentful at what we lost.


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