Sunday, March 23, 2008

U-Rating Hearing Cross Examination by Principal

PRINCIPAL: Ms Moriah, when I entered your room on Nov. 14, what was your statement?

MORIAH: I was in the middle of a lesson in which 8 lab groups were finding the density of two bars of soap and there was a lot of equipment, and I could not find the lesson plan I had it and I asked you if I could give it to you after wards, because I was very busy with the lab groups.

PRINCIPAL: In the meeting of Nov. 14 in presence of your UfT representative, what was your response when I asked you why you did not have a lesson plan?

MORIAH: That during a lab it is very disruptive to stop and have to look for a lesson plan. I am always glad to see the principal come into the room, but to please wait to ask for the lesson plan after the lesson.

PRINCIPAL: At that meeting, did you not tell me that you did not need a lesson plan and that the lesson plan is in your head?

MORIAH: There is a big difference between not having a lesson plan and not having a lesson plan on the desk during a lab.

PRINCIPAL: Tell me what the difference is.

MORIAH: The difference in not having a lesson plan would have meant that
I did not know that I had to bring 8 triple beam balances. I did not know that I had to bring 8 graduated cylinders, two bars of soap. In other words, I would not have known what to do that day. But the lab was very very carefully planned. All materials were present. I knew the exact procedure. All the children knew the exact procedure. There was 100% success rate in finding the density of both bars of soap. Children were able to write up a lab, an example of which I gave you and which I have here. So it would be impossible to do all that without writing up a lesson plan, but my emphasis was on having the equipment rather than having a piece of paper that I have memorized. You are always welcome to ask for it. I usually have a written lesson plan, but there are times when perhaps I might get caught without the piece of paper, but the lesson is not only planned, I have it memorized in my head.

PRINCIPAL: But as per Chancellor’s memo 666 and the faculty handbook that you received at the beginning of the year, you must have a written plan and you must have the lesson plan available when it is requested. You said just now that you “usually” have a written lesson plan. All teachers must have a planned lesson. A written lesson plan. Please explain to me why you did not follow the faculty handbook, the Chancellor’s Regulations and the Principal’s Memos. You must have a written lesson plan ALL the time.

MORIAH: I am fallible human being. I am very sorry that in addition to all of the equipment I was not able to put my hands on the lesson plan. I had already collected 160 lab reports. It got mixed up with those. I was a traveling teacher. It is my fault that I couldn’t put my hands on the lesson plan. But I don’t understand why you didn’t make any remarks on the extremely successful lesson that was given and all of your emphasis was on one thing.

PRINCIPAL: Your are saying that you did not follow Chancellor’s regulations, and you did not have a lesson plan.

MORIAH: I already said that I am a fallible human being and that I made a mistake.

PRINCIAL: On March 23 2007 you did not have a lesson plan when Assistant Principals X and Y entered the classroom, you did not have a lesson plan. I ask you why in this instance you did not have a lesson plan.

MORIAH:Could you wait just a minute please? What date was that again?

ON march 23, 2007 I was a traveling teacher and I had a small cart with 13 science project boards from 7F the lowest class that I had.

The science projects were:

How does color affect the melting rate of ice?
How does a change in air pressure affect an egg?
How does temperature affect an electromagnet?
How can we use cabbage juice as a pH indicator?
Which substance filters water the best?
What is the effect of soda on the fizz of a soda?
Will seeds grow better in a covered jar or an uncovered jar?
How do we find if a food has starch?
How much bounce will a handball lose if it is dropped from different heights?
Have you ever wondered how clouds form?
How will different amounts of baking soda and vinegar affect how high a film canister will pop?
How does density of a liquid affect how ice floats.
How can we test different liquids for pH?

At that time I was overwhelmed by the number of boards on the cart. We were going to have a science project fair for 7F. Ms X came in and asked for the lesson plan and when she couldn’t find it she turned around and left without looking at the science projects of 7F. Without giving the children the approval that this low level class needed.

PRINCIPAL: Let me repeat my question. Why did you not have a lesson plan?

MORIAH: It was buried under 13 science boards.
PRINCIPAL: How were you going to address all of those topics without a written lesson plan?

MORIAH: There is a difference between not having a plan on a piece of paper and not knowing what to do. The science project fair was very simple. They were going to go around and critique each others science projects. We had gone over this before. It was a matter of setting up the 13 boards and giving the students a chance to see each other’s work in a matter of 45 minutes. Because I was a traveling teacher, I had to set them up fast, and I’m sure that if Ms. X had stayed around to see the projects, she would have seen my plans as well because my plans were at the bottom of the projects.

PRINCIPAL: Please explain why you didn’t have a lesson plan. You are supposed to be able to produce a lesson plan at the time it is requested. Are you saying that you did not have one?

MORIAH: I am saying that I had one. They were at the bottom of 13 science boards. We set up the science boards. The lesson plan was there. As soon as the lesson was over I went directly to Ms. X’s office and gave it to her.

PRINCIPAL: Did you not say to Ms. X that your lesson was in the lab. You stated that your lesson plan was in the lab.

MORIAH: I had a plan in the lab, and I had a plan on the cart because I knew that I have to have a plan.

PRINCIPAL: So you are saying that you did not have a lesson plan.

NOTE FROM MORIAH: I DID have lesson plans for the lessons that were mentioned, I just couldn't produce them ON DEMAND during the time I was teaching my students: Here are they are.



OBJECTIVE: Students will be able to compare and contrast the densities of two bars of soap and predict whether or not each one will float.

1 large transparent jar of water—for teacher’s use

8 set-ups:
Ivory Soap
Jergens Soap
Triple Beam Balance
Metric Ruler

Note: This lesson does not have a teacher-prepared worksheet. Students are being trained to write their own procedures and to organize their data themselves.

OPENING: (Whole Class) (5 to 10 minutes)


1. Dictate the Problem: Which soap has a greater density? Ivory or Jergens?
2. Assign Jobs according to instruments used
a. Find the volume of the bar of Ivory: Ruler
b. Find the volume of the bar of Jergens: Ruler
c. Find the mass of the bar of Ivory and the bar of Jergens: Triple Beam Balance.
d. Find the density of the bar of Ivory and the bar of Jergens: Calculator
3. Monitors help hand out equipment

GROUP WORK (30 minutes)
1. Students find the density of the two bars of soap and write their data in their journals in the following table:




2. Monitors help retrieve equipment

ASSESSMENT (10 minutes)

Use the Data to set up a problem and a hypothesis

Problem: Can Soap Float
1. Teacher explains the rule for density.

0.9 g/cm3 < 1.0 g/cm3 < 1.1 g/cm3
float float sink

2. Groups share their data and predict whether or not one or both of the soaps will float based on their measurements.
3. Students write their hypotheses in their journals
4. A monitor places each soap in water to test its density.
5. Students write down whether their hypothesis was confirmed by their observations.



OBJECTIVE: SWBAT Evaluate other students' science projects.

OPENING: Explain to the students that today we will be holding a class science fair. They will be walking around the classroom observing the work of other groups. Because there would be only two or three minutes to visit each project, students should focus on the problem and the conclusion: What was the question, and what was the answer. They should also notice the hypothesis, data, visual presentation, and art work. Remind students that next Monday, they will begin the group presentations. This will give students a chance to preview the science boards up close before the group presentations.

Have students move the desks to the sides of the room and place the project boards around the room.


Students view the work of all groups and answer the following questions:

1. What was the question? (Problem)
2. What was the answer? (Conclusion)
3. Did the data support the Answer?
4. Does the visual presentation help you understand the project at a glance? Does it "sell" the project?


Place the project boards on the cart. Replace the desk in rows. Vote for your Four Favorite Projects.


Ask three questions that you can answer after viewing the projects of other students
Ask three questions that you cannot answer, but would like to know the answers to.


JUSTICE not "just us" said...

Look it is obvious that "they" want to get you. Just write the dam thing down--even if it is on toilet paper. Always give them what they want and let them nit pick at other things.

"They" can get us on anything they want at anytime. They are not there to help us help the children they are there to pretend they are helping you and the children. Always write something before you start the day!

Even if you had given the jerk the lesson plan they still would have U rated your lesson just on other grounds. I KNOW OF WHAT I SPEAK OF!

Chaz said...

Justice is correct. Just write a lesson plan! It certainly looks like they are setting you up for an annual "U" rating. Hopefully this is not consecutive "U"'s. If that is the case, they will send you to the "rubber room" and you won't have to worry about lesson plans, abusive administrators, and nasty students. However, you will be subject to 3020-a charges.

Chaz said...

Justice is correct. Just write a lesson plan! It certainly looks like they are setting you up for an annual "U" rating. Hopefully this is not consecutive "U"'s. If that is the case, they will send you to the "rubber room" and you won't have to worry about lesson plans, abusive administrators, and nasty students. However, you will be subject to 3020-a charges.

Ms. Longhorn said...

Holy crap.. that is ridiculous!

17 (really 15) more years said...

Moriah- having been victim of a lunatic principal (before he was forced to retire), I have learned one thing. Give them what they want. Contractually, you have to have lesson plans. If you're at risk of getting a U, they can even dictate the format. I understand totally how you don't need one (serious, if I say density =mass/volume one more time, I will puke), and I can do the soap lab in my sleep- but I write the damn lesson plans because if they decide to do a plan book sweep, I'm going to be ready for them. And watch out for that staff handbook crap too- in my school, they love to write letters for violating that crap.

Moriah Untamed said...

I just included at the end of this post the two lesson plans that I was accused of not having. I know that this is a lot of text to wade through, but I would like to emphasize that I DO plan extensively before each lesson. All my plans ARE written and saved on my computer. Sometimes I just can't put my hands on them while I am teaching.

I am very concerned that you feisty New York teachers seem to have come to accept the fact that an administrator can walk into your classroom at any time and demand your paperwork.

Professionals are not treated like this. Privates are treated like this by seargents. Assemblyline workers are treated like this by their supervisors.

I can understand my principal for acting this way. She has very little, if any, classrrom experience as a teacher. She comes from the Fashion Industry via "the Leadership Academy". The lesson plans that she demands are for her use, because she can't understand what is going on in the classroom without it.

It is not Ok to just write a plan on a piece of toilet paper in order "to give them what they want", and shame on us, the Union, for allowing it to come to this.

Planning is necessary, and writing our plans down can help us improve our plans from year to year. But no administrator should be allowed to interrupt classroom instruction to demand lesson plans. Planning goes on outside the classroom. Supervision of planning should also go on outside the classroom.

JUSTICE not "just us" said...

Moriah I admire you high ideals but this is the gutter. I too would like to be treated like a professional but sadly I am not and I have many colleagues that are treated worse. Survival in the New York City Public Schools means that you either have a tough and thick hide or you simply leave.

The choice is yours.

17 (really 15) more years said...

Moriah- please don't misunderstand me. I am more than certain that you know exactly what you are doing in the classroom. But the sad reality is, they can ask for lesson plans, they can come in whenever they want and demand them. That's one battle I won't wage with them, because it's a no-win situation. Am I conceding defeat? Perhaps, but I have a lot of years left in this system, and I plan on surviving.

Moriah Untamed said...

Ok. I hear you--or read you. Everyone has a right to survive the best they can. Anyway it isn't really about lesson plans. Before Bloomberg, I had never witnessed a principal frame a teacher for something he/she didn't do. I'm sure it happened before, but not to me or to anyone I knew. This principal is a malicious liar. If she weren't, I might dislike her, but I would probably fall in line just to keep my job. But I can't stand the lies or the liar. I have no respect for her and I can't hide it. I have nowhere else to go because they have done away with seniority transfers, and I make too much money. Besides, there are a lot of other principals willing to frame teachers also--just look at the rubber room numbers. The principals with morals and ethics are being eliminated.

ed notes online said...

Brilliant stuff Moriah. I put some of it up on the ednotes blog. I can't wait for the day you allow us to go public with the principal's name so that when someone Googles the name they can read this stuff. If they send you to the rubber room, that may be the reward.

I am probably out of touch but has the contract provision on the format of lesson plans been modified? and on having to show it on the spot? Give them the plan but maybe see about grieving the way they are going about getting them - in a disruptive manner for the children. You are correct to point out they can just as well collect them without disturbance.

Standing up to them makes them crazy and any teacher that does a target. Some people just can't live with themselves and if they go down they do it fighting. I still think if you're going down, identifying them publicly gives you a slim but fighting chance.

17 (really 15) more years said...

Moriah- The first six years of my teaching career, I was subjected to pure torture by my lunatic principal. He attempted to get rid of me by claiming I was racist. It didn't stick, because I had the UFT delegate represent me at the meeting, rather than the CL he was sleeping with (literally). He attempted to not appoint me (we had a DR who detested him, and had the district superintendent at the time appoint me). He extended my probation for a year for no reason (I always received "S" ratings). The difference between myself and the new teachers he was used to was that a) I had a father, and didn't need him to act like one (as so many of my colleagues did), and b) I was a change of career person, so I was not 22, and not afraid- maybe I should have been.

Having said that, and as nuts as he was, the current climate is worse. My philosophy now is to fly under the radar as much as possible.

I wish you all the best, because without even knowing you, I know you absolutely do not deserve the treatment you are receiving.

Anonymous said...

You know what Moriah? Do what you gotta. Someone's gotta stand up.

Moriah Untamed said...

Thanks everybody for taking the time to read this stuff and post your comments--all of which are really helpful.

Anonymous said...

Moriah -

You are an extraordinary human being.

You are courageous, intelligent, tenacious, possessed of conscience and uncommon decency.

Moriah - I wish I knew where to begin.

You are a member of a profession that was once honorable, even venerable. My mother was so very proud of me when I became a public school teacher at a considerably older age. I was awed and proud myself.

But . . . I began in 2000 and was in and out until the year 2002, after bloomberg had found his stride, bush had succeeded in dismantling public education, and the end of all honor and true education was at hand.

I was told to "go home and cry" after my first post-observation conference with my principal. A year later, my new principal greeted the staff at the first day of school by telling us that we were finished, would be dead by reason of "reorganization" (read torment and destruction of adults and children") within 4 years as new, putative small schools infiltrated the building.

Excessing from there 2-1/2 years later, after dreadful grieving as my school died and staff left, put me into a hellhole with a particularly disturbed, stupid, vicious and ugly so-called principal who did her best to physically and mentally destroy me.

"Voluntary" and forced leaves of absence followed, culminating in salary/step/pension losses that will hurt me until I die.

I did a stint in one of their hellacious rubber rooms, went up against our so-called union, made lots of friends of defrocked teachers in the rubber room, and was educated in ways that only severely abused humans can be educated.

Humans whom I respect and admire are being hurt in ways that are nearly beyond belief - all of them veteran teachers in the united states of amerika.

I know of resignations, terminations, one formerly homeless teacher, cancer survivors, men at risk for strokes and heart attacks, New York State's child support unit threatening suspended fathers with loss of driving privilges, teaching privileges, and imprisonment.

I am still "teaching" and I watch the slow and nauseating disintegration of our citizenry's ability to read, reason, think, analyze, have patience, have compassion.

We are rotting from all ends and from the middle.

Evil and abysmal stupidity rule the day.

The government and big business interests want the public schools privatized, corporatized, nazified.

The government and big business desire that children be turned into: a) prisoners for the immensely lucrative prison system; b) soldiers for expanding imperialistic wars; and c) zombified, moronic creatures who will passively do their masters' bidding so that their masters become even more fat on material goods and money than they already are.

Moriah: your sadistic and psychopathic administrators know exactly what they're doing and are being managed and dictated to by DoE "suits" who have published handbooks on how to torment and destroy teachers.

I am sickened, saddened, disgusted and too often immobilized by what I am living through as a teacher, and as a woman who loves many experienced, dedicated teachers, Moriah.

I am even more distressed and angered that teachers cannot overcome their fears, selfishness and the concentrated conditioning that they receive in order to demand respect.

I have never really understood why ALL of us don't just shut down the schools until the horrors are finally ended.

The number of teachers who have your courage, your presence of mind, your will to fight for yourself and others is heartbreakingly rare and admirable beyond description.

My heart is with you; I understand what you are living through and I sing your praises.

You are NOT alone in either your suffering or your fight.

I applaud your courage in making public this disgusting spectacle.

You are doing more good in this world than you may ever know.

Take very, very gentle and nurturing care of you.

Moriah Untamed said...

Annon April 1,

I just found your comment--Thankyou, it touched me deeply. You have not exaggerated. I am very fearful that we are making a one-way descent into fascism. Nazi Germany did not happen in one day. It was a process, and we are reliving that process.

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Moriah Untamed said...

Thanks for the invitation. Sorry I couldn't make it.