Wednesday, August 15, 2012

If They Hadn't Sent Me To The Rubber Room...

...I wouldn't feel this poem the way I do.

Rhinocerous Woman by Assata Shakur
Rhinocerous woman
who nobody wants
and everybody used.
They say you’re crazy
cause you not crazy enough
to kneel when told to kneel.

Hey, big woman -
with scars on the head
and scars on the heart
that never seem to heal -
I saw your light
and it was shining.

You gave them love.
They gave you shit.
You gave them you.
they gave you hollywood.
They purr at you
cause you know how to roar
and back it up with realness.

Rhinocerous woman,
big momma in a little world.
You closed your eyes
and neon spun inside your head
cause it was dark outside.

You read your bible
but god never came.
Your daddy woulda loved you
but what would the neighbors say.

They hate you momma
cause you expose their madness.
And their cruelty.

They can see in your eyes
a thousand nightmares
that they have made come true.

Black woman. Baad woman.
Wear your bigness on your chest like a badge
cause you done earned it.

Strong woman. Amazon.
Wear your scars like jewelry
cause they were bought with blood.

They call you mad.
And almost had you
believing that shit.

They called you ugly.
And you hid yourself
behind yourself
and wallowed in their shame.

Rhinocerous woman -
this world is blind
and slight of mind
and cannot see
how beautiful you are.

I saw your light.
And it was shining

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


 I live in the same neighborhood as the school where I was mobbed by students, administrators, teachers, and parents.  It is inevitable for me to cross paths with them.  I imagine that it must be something like living in Salem after being accused of being a witch.

When I see one of the people who colluded with Liar Principal Sh----T----y., I deal with it by ignoring them.  I walk right past as if they didn't exist.

I have already admitted to hating them.  I have tried not to fuel it by refusing to acknowledge their existence.  I have maintained rigid mind control, and have excised all thoughts about them.  That means that I have had to avoid the topic of education altogether.  I have also avoided this blog.  I haven't returned calls or emails from people I knew in the Rubber Room--the only colleagues that ever call me.  It was necessary because of the intense feelings of hatred and anger I felt every time I thought about what had been done to me.  I had suffered since the early 2000's when Principal Sh----T----y took over.   During that time, my feelings were totally shut down.  I actually marveled at how calmly I took it all. Then all of a sudden, about a year ago, I was flooded with intense anger.  I didn't welcome it, but it was there anyway.

Then, not long ago, I crossed paths with one of the Slave Brains that helped Principal Sh----T---y. and as usual I turned my head the other way and walked right on past.  But this time was different.  I didn't feel anger.  I didn't feel hatred.  It was a great relief for me.  Those are burdensome feelings, and it takes a great deal of effort to suppress and/or sublimate them.

I hesitated to hope that I was over it all.  Had I just shut down again?  But no.  Somehow, I am no longer attached to that part of my life.  I tried to find an image that would illustrate what had happened to me by Googling the word "Unattached" and I found this picture of a sculpture of a huge screw and wing nut.  It was perfect.  It took years to screw me and years to unscrew me.  

People are still back there screwing each other, but this wing nut is free to fly and will stay that way.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Training in Compassion

Compassion is different from pity.

"Compassion is a far greater and nobler thing than pity. Pity has its roots in fear, and a sense of arrogance and condescension, sometimes even a smug feeling of "I'm glad it's not me."  As Steven Levine says:  'When your fear touches someone's pain it becomes pity.  When your love touches someone's pain, it becomes compassion.'  To train in compassion, then, is to know all beings are the same and suffer in similar ways, to honor those who suffer, and to know you are neither separate from nor superior to anyone."  Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

Training in compassion: You don't want to start with something you can't handle. 

It is as impossible for me to feel compassion for Principal S. T. as it is for me to lift this barbell.

In the last five years I have felt compassion for holocaust victims, lynching victims, witch trial victims.  I could reach out over a great distance in time and space and say to them, "My situation is no where near as grave as yours was, but I have new insight into what you must have gone through. I'm sorry for your pain." 

It was more difficult to feel compassion for the people in the Rubber Room.  We were not separated by time and space.  We were too near to each other.  Our fear, anger, and pain literally resonated off the walls.  I am sure that someday they will invent a means to see the energy of suffering the way we can see X-rays today.

There was no way to idealize these all too human individuals.  We annoyed each other endlessly.  Some enjoyed pushing others over the edge and then testified about their "unprofessional behavior" at their 3020a hearing.   Others loved to go around bad mouthing teachers and pronouncing the judgement, "And that's why he's here".  Did people act this way to each other in the Nazi concentration camps?  I think that they must have.

It is very difficult to feel compassion for other people who are in the same bad place that you are.  You would think it would be easy, but it's not.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Hatred is a poison and it's antidote is compassion, according to the Buddha.   I was raised a Christian, and that is basically what Jesus said too, in different words, but Christianity didn't help me deal with the Bloomborg like Buddhism did.  Meditation, focusing on the breath, living in the moment.  That's what helped and continues to help--but compassion for them?  Not feeling it.  Can't even imagine feeling it.  The best I can do is live in the moment where Principal S.T. and the rest of the Bloomborg do not exist.  They are not here.  I don't have to think about them.

If I do think about them, I hate them.  I thought with time and distance the hatred would lessen, but it has actually grown.  It has grown to encompass everything related to education. 

I have to stop here to say that I have no plans to do damage to persons or property as a result of my anger and hatred.  Those people aren't worth the effort to do the crime,  much less the pain of doing the time.  I deserve to suffer less, not more.  Therefore, whatever suffering they might find in life, and I hope it's a lot, won't be because of me.  I can't speak for others, but the fact that not one New York City teacher has gone postal after everything they have put us through,  shows that I am not the only one who has been able to deal with negative emotions without resorting to violence.

So let's see, how much do I hate thee?  Let me count the ways.

I hate the word "differentiation".   You never heard that word before the Bloomborg invaded (except in Earth Science class) .  Now people are slipping it into their discourse with smug self-satisfaction as though mouthing the word somehow proves what a good teacher they are.  Slave brains.

I hate everything written about testing and teacher ratings as if it's all about improving the educational system for the dear little children.  That's a big fat lie.  It's about privatizing public education for profit--not for children, but for money.  Emphasize it.  Repeat it.  Money, Greed, Profit. Hedge-funders.  The 1%. 

I hate it when people begin a sentence with, "Of course, we all know teachers who should not be teaching, but....."  Come on, stop it already.  It's been a decade since Bloomberg began to cleanse the profession of "the few" bad teachers.     I don't have access to the data (does anyone?) but I'm willing to bet that they've gotten rid of half the teachers who were teaching when Bloomberg first came into office.  But it's not enough.  The bad teachers are still there--just look at the teacher ratings.  Face it.  If you have tenure, you're a bad teacher and your days are numbered.

I hate the way the UFT treats, as an isolated case,  each teacher up for termination and each school slated for closure.  Once the Bloomborg locks onto its target, the result is inevitable.    Wake up, people, it's death by a thousand cuts.  Stop allowing teachers and schools to disappear without a fight--a unified, citywide fight.

 I hate most of what is written about education and the people who write it.

I hate it when people say they don't hate the person, they hate what the person did.  What does that mean?

I hate what you people did to me, and I hate you for doing it.

Five Year Anniversary

Well, as it turns out, I would have had to resort to something much stronger than aspirin to keep writing about test scores, and it wasn't worth it.  I think I made my point in two or three posts, anyway. 

Why do I keep writing here?  Old time's sake?  No.  I stated the purpose very clearly in my first post.
That was on March 21, 2007, and I just realized that it's been almost exactly five years to the day.

"...I am going to make this a very public shaming, shunning, or what-ever-you-want-to-call-it. This isn't going to happen in some little dark corner of Bloomberg-land. So, if you want to see the step by step destruction of a very long, and, I think, very proud teaching career, then come for a visit.

Why have I chosen to display what could be a very painful process? Well, as a science teacher I have noticed that germs don't grow as well in the light as in the dark. Lies are germs. And truth is light.

This blog is my truth."

 I don't know what my expectations were.  I actually don't remember, so I'll just have to take my own words for it.

 " I am going to make this a very public shaming...." 

It didn't turn out that way.  Not many teachers found their way to my blog.  A few people read what I wrote--I'm sure Principal S.T. did--but despite the fact that Bloomberg stepped up his assault on teachers exponentially with each year that passed,  not many people searched the internet for answers to what was happening to them, their friends, or their loved ones.

They would have found me if they had--and if they hadn't found me, they would have found Education Notes, Chaz's School DazePissed Off Teacher, and many more.  There should have been thousands of hits on these blogs every day, and I know for a fact that there weren't.  Teachers were suffering in silence, and alone, and they were not using Google to search for answers. 

"This blog is my truth."

"Nobody cares", was the reaction I got from P.B., my chapter leader when I told him about the blog (which is how I know that Principal S.T. also knew about the blog).  He was right, of course.  But I am very glad that I wrote as much as I did.  I wish I had written more.  The reaction that my mind has had to all those years of suffering has been to blur it over.  I really don't want to think about it.  The book I threatened to write has not been written.  I've had over a year, and I should have gone through the mountains of paper they used to bury my career, but I can't bring myself to touch them.  All I  have is what I wrote in this blog and my responses to the disciplinary letters they wrote.

So I was thinking of closing this blog down.  I've moved on.  I'm Occupying.  :)

However,  the story's not over.  I'm different because of what I went through.  There's a lot of my so-called "truth" that I wish were not true, but it is.  The rage, the hurt, the anger... the hatred.  I wish I could say that I have moved on and don't care, but that is not "my truth".

I have been working through it on my own, and I don't really need to write about the process in this blog.  I mean, why give S.T. the satisfaction of knowing that she still has power over me?  When you hate a person, that is what happens--you give them power over you.  I hate that I hate her, but I do.

If I don't write about it here, I won't write about it at all.  Someday I won't hate her.  No feeling will connect us, and I will be free.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Value-Added Suck-Up

I'm particularly interested in Ms. B's ratings because she let another teacher (not me) take the wrap for something she herself did.

Back in early 2006, Ms. B. was teaching a math class that took place first and second periods.  Liar Principal S.T. had instituted the rule that no student could use the bathrooms first and second period, so Ms. B. dutifully refused to allow a student to go to the bathroom.  At the end of the math class the boy ran to his third period science class taught by my colleague K.N.  This extremely obedient child asked for a pass to the bathroom, but K.N. reminded him that he had to wait 10 minutes because the bathrooms were locked during the first ten minutes of the period (another rule imposed by Liar S.T.).  The boy couldn't wait, so he ran out in search of a bathroom.  However, they were all locked.  He had an accident in his pants, his parents were called to bring him a change of clothes, and someone filed a complaint.  Ms.  B. who had had him for two periods--a total of 90 minutes-- was not charged.  Liar S.T. who ordered the bathrooms to be locked was not charged.  My colleague K.N. was brought up on charges of physical abuse.

I was the only teacher in the building who defended K.N.  

K.N. spent a year in the Rubber Room and eventually left the DOE. Ms. B. is still teaching at the school, and now we can all see her name  in the newspaper.  Despite my feelings to the contrary, I'm willing to admit that not ALL the teachers that appear in the newspapers deserve to be there,  but SOME of them, like Ms. B., deserve that and more.

Ms. B. was Liar S.T.'s best friend.  I'm sure she was useful to S.T. in mounting cases against more than one teacher, including myself.

So let's look at her ratings, shall we?

The 2007-2008 TDR tells us that Ms. B. had 6-10 yrs of teaching experience: That her multi-year score was 21, and her 2008 score was 33.  Wow!  Those scores are really low, Ms. B.  Too bad they couldn't value-add the suck-up factor--or maybe they did.  Maybe that's what value adding is all about--because nobody except the Math and ELA teachers have any idea what it means.

The 2008-2009 TDR tells us that Ms. B. had more than 3 years of teaching experience.  Her multiyear score was 17 and her 2009 score was 6.  Just in case we couldn't figure it out for ourselves, the DOE put big letters next to these numbers "BELOW AVERAGE".  

The 2009-2010 TDR shows that Ms. B. had a much better year.  She was back in double-digits with a 30 for that year.  The DOE calls this an AVERAGE RATING.  The multi-year score is also back in double digits (18), but still BELOW AVERAGE. 

So there you have it:    Other teachers were U-rated out of the school, but Ms. B. survived to teach year after year.  Now you know why.  It's thanks to value-added sucking-up, and the margin of error on that is infinite.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Occupy Teacher Ratings - Day 2

I started looking at the teacher ratings yesterday, and I had to stop because I got a headache.

It was a headache like so many others that I suffered while I was being tortured by Slave Brain Principle S.T. and the rest of the Bloomborg in my school.

The earliest ratings that are available are from 2007-2008.  I still have the year book from that year.  My memory has mercifully fogged over the names and faces of the Math and English-Language-Arts teachers, but now they are clearly smiling out from the year book.

On the published lists, teachers' names have been organized alphabetically so that you will have a hard time comparing teachers in the same school unless you have a year book or some other way of getting a list of teachers' names and the subjects they have taught. 

This is all about the individual teacher:  Not about the school or the neighborhood.  Scroll down and one by one you will find the teachers, isolated from their communities, next to the numbers that are supposed to define them.

It is also just about two subject areas--Math and English-Language-Arts.  You won't find my name, because I was a science teacher.  You won't find many other names.    Social Studies, Art, Music, Computer, ESL, Speech, Guidance, and many more are not there.

I have distanced myself from the woes of the world of NYC public education because of the anger and pain that I associate with it.  I know that by doing so, I have given Bloomberg a small victory, but sometimes a small victory for your enemy can be a large victory for yourself.

I angry at everyone associated with my suffering--including the other teachers in my school, not to mention the other teachers citywide.  My feeling about these published ratings?  It serves you right!  If you hadn't allowed Slave Brain S.T. to isolate and torture me, you wouldn't be publicly humiliated right now.  Learn your lesson.  An Injury To One Is An Injury To All.  Assholes.


This still isn't right on so many countless levels, so I will be Occupying teacher ratings for a while.  Now that they are out, and there's nothing you can do about it -- use them, flip them, make the Bloomborg sorry it ever thought about publishing them.

An Injury To One, Is An Injury to All.  Make the Creeps sorry!  Make them very sorry!

Armed and Ready!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I think that we are losing our civil and human rights, and that the internet is one of the tools that we are using to fight against those who are trying to take them away.