Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The UNsatisfactory Teacher

Today, after twenty years of teaching, I have received my first unsatisfactory observation. That means that the principal came in and observed a lesson, didn't like it, and wrote a letter saying so. No big deal, right? Wrong. An unsatisfactory letter is a big deal, because it will lead to an inevitable "U" rating at the end of the year. That will lead to the end of my teaching career. I will lose my income. I will lose my health coverage. And I will lose pension benefits.

So it's a big deal for me.

So why should you care? Well maybe you shouldn't. There are people who have much bigger problems than I have. However, I am sure that I am not alone. Somewhere else in Bloomberg's New York City Department of Education there is another teacher who has received or is about to receive a negative letter and is heading for an unsatisfactory rating at the end of this year just like I am. But no one will ever hear of it, because it all takes place behind closed doors and in secrecy. As soon as a teacher gets one of these letters, she feels ashamed. She wants to hide it from everyone. She quietly endures one letter after another--until one day she just disappears. "Whatever happened to good old Mary?" People shrug their shoulders and quickly change the subject.

This won't happen to me. 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 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.

Moriah Untamed