Sunday, April 25, 2010
Welcome to the Rubber Room
As far as preparedness is concerned, there are two types of people who come into the Rubber Room. The first group is composed of people like me who have been targeted over an extended period of time. They have been submitted to a lengthy period of harrassment and mobbing and pretty much saw the RR coming. The second group consists of people who were at the top of their game, without a cloud in the sky and suddenly, wham, they were accused of some form of misconduct. Either way, the first day in the Rubber Room is difficult.
At some point in Rubber Room history, the detainees decided that they needed a representative other than the official UFT rep who was hardly ever there. They decided to elect a representative who was also a detainee, and who would serve as their spokesperson to the DOE and UFT. One of the jobs of the liaison is to "welcome" new detainees. The liaison is very important because he is one of the first people one meets in the RR. He offers important information and can even help prevent a teacher from being further abused by incompetent and corrupt DOE investigators (see my blog post "Don't Talk to SCI" ). After the RR's close, I doubt that there will be a liaison for every reassigned teacher as there is now.
Those coming into the RR for the first time might be intimidated by the reputation of the place and the idea that the people in there are a bunch of abusive and/or perverted teachers. However, once a person has been there for a few days he or she discovers that most of the teachers are pretty normal. The good news is that everyone in there is pretty much in the same boat. They are all being charged with something: incompetence, physical abuse, verbal abuse, insubordination, theft, etc. If we are assigned to different sites all over NYC, a reassigned teacher might be the only one facing charges at that site. Other workers who have not been brought up on charges might be unsympathetic and even cruel-- hopefully not, but my experience over the last five or six years has not filled me with optimism about the kindness of strangers.