Saturday, October 14, 2006


The following quoted directly from our UFT blog:

"After my first year at the QHST, I considered the idea of taking a sabbatical. I had hoped to study the educational system in Germany and perhaps incorporate their best teaching practices into my pedagogy. When I brought this plan to the administration, I was asked to reconsider this idea because any kind of leave essentially ignored one of the primary foundations of the QHST: building community between the teachers and the students. It was a convincing argument, and so I deferred my foreign studies.

In this week’s Principal Information Sheet, Mr. Pugh states that we agree on many points, and indeed I do agree that building community is vital to our students’ success. It is for this reason that I categorically disagree with the idea that “attrition is a good thing.” When we lose talented staff members, it is the students who lose. In addition, stating that attrition is desirable allows us to circumvent the reasons that teachers may be dissatisfied and occludes ways to search for solutions that could make the QHST a better place to work.

We did, however, agree that when teachers work, they should get paid. When I was informed that teachers were being encouraged to design PD workshops for November 2, I asked Mr. Pugh if the teachers would be compensated for preparing workshops. I know that in the past, compensation for these kinds of workshops has been rather inconsistent. He agreed that they should get paid for their time. If you have a workshop that you would like to present, see Mr. Pugh so that he can approve your idea before you spend time developing the idea.

In addition, the comment in the PIS regarding paraprofessionals and their feelings of exclusion shows that the UFT and the administration can work together to create a dialogue that will address the staff’s concerns. I also wanted to remind the paraprofessionals that Kathleen Grantz represents the paraprofessionals and will bring your concerns to the consultative meetings with Mr. Pugh. Also be advised that paraprofessionals are not mandated to attend the 40-minute meetings which are traditionally scheduled for two Mondays per month. They may attend, but it would be strictly voluntary.

And lastly, a bit of levity. It was stated in the PIS that I will be running a PTA meeting sometime in November. When I read that I thought that adding that demand to my considerable workload would surely cause me to look for a teaching position elsewhere, thereby adding to the attrition rate for 2008. But Mr. Pugh reassured me that it was an error; I have scheduled a UFT meeting on November 2, at the end of the day.




W Brown said...

When a hand is healthy and gets a splinter, the healthy hand pushes even the deepest splinter out. To allow the splinter to remain, and let it fester only infects the rest of the hand and eventually the rest of the body.

Teachers leaving can improve the school (and can prevent infection)

Ms. Mayo said...

All attrition is not equal. I think that attrition has gotten a bad rap because of all of the articles about new teachers leaving the profession due to a lack of support, working conditions, etc. Leaving because you can earn more money and work closer to home (see Galeno's post below under the survey results), to pursue a leadership position (start your own small school, become an AP, etc.)or because you feel you'd be happier in a school with more traditional teaching, is not a bad thing. I have always been encouraged to move on ( that I think about that...)and I believe that if there is no attrition we become the 30 year veterans using the same rexographed (am I dating myself here?)worksheets that we used in year one.

When I was debating about whether to stay in the classroom or go back to PD, Nigel (and I think we can stop using the word "administration" to refer to one person, although it is a good rhetorical strategy to impersonalize the situation)said he'd write my recommendation. I don't think that's a bad thing. I think it was a bad thing when I wanted to leave my first high school teaching position to do PD, and my AP didn't want to release me. Isn't this whole profession about growth?

Did we ever establish what people are unhappy about? And who the unhappy people are?

Remember when we interviewed for these positions? We all talked about the importance of professional development, and agreed that ongoing and embedded PD, delievered by teachers rather than by some outside agency, was most effective. Then we voted out CFGs, and now we're complaining about being asked to do workshops on election day? Who isn't backing up words with actions-- us or "the administration"?


W Brown said...

Well said! You are my hero!

Anonymous said...

I use the term administration because there are times that I do discuss an issue with Richard Z. or Nigel. It is not a rhetorical strategy, though I could see where one might think so. I will probably continue to use the term.